Entercom, the 900 pound gorilla

Entercom inherited radio.com from CBS who had a streaming partnership with AOL 20 years ago.

Having integrated CBS Radio and Entercom into the radio.com apps, it is time to aim higher. Cox Radio just signed on to stream using radio.com. Since Cox just agreed to sell its TV stations, it is not risky to guess Cox could be in talks to sell its radio stations to Entercom. Cox previously gave away two AM stations in Connecticut to Sacred Heart University for a tax writeoff. They were acquired in 1989 from Buckley Broadcasting who had to divest the smallstatins in order to buy WOR-AM at a fire sale.

https://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/184291/entercom-s-radio-com-to-add-content-from-cox-bonne

The same story mentions that Bonneville is joining radio.com. Bonneville is the for-profit subsidiary of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Bonneville has already sold their stations East of the Mississippi River (All News WTOP in Washington DC being the most important). The Mormons might be getting tired of selling Donny and Marie Osmond records.

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27 Responses to Entercom, the 900 pound gorilla

  1. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    Last time I looked, all the CBS and Entercom stations streamed with Canadian http://www.streamtheworld.com

    I believe almost all of the iHeart stations stream from iHeart servers

    Tunin is the other big streaming app, and last time I looked, CBS and iHeart would not let it stream their stations. It focused on stations owned by other companies and on stations outside the USA. I believe Cumulus stations are on Tunin and also streamed mainly by http://www.streamtheworld.com.

    So we have an opportunity to consolidate the apps that the users see, and a separate opportunity to consolidate the streaming servers that the users generally do not see (Parrott is an exception.)

    What will 2019 bring?

    In terms of technology, I am seeing more stations adopt the m3u8 playlist format. iHeart uses it as do Apple streams from what I understand. What is interesting about this is that rather than a single URL for a stream, it is a dynamic list of stream segments. That means that if your stream breaks, it is no big deal because it was only for 60-90 seconds of audio. The next one 60-90 second stream will start automatically on queue- perfect for cell phones that break and reestablish mobile data and wifi connections while streaming.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      I don’t doubt that radio.com uses streamtheworld behind the scenes, but that is not apparent to the web site visitor. Entercom is pushing hard for installing their proprietary app, thinking they can herd cats. It won’t work.

      It is true for a long time that the sophisticated streamers stripe the output. A lot of the reason for that is compression. You can’t just jump in the middle of a compressed stream because you need the compression table which varies based on the content – so when you connect, the stream starts at a sync point by downloading the compression table. This becomes obvious for those who helped with stream testing. Regardless of which station you were testing, if you chose a program and ran through each station, the stream would begin at exactly the same point on each station.

      The point of the post was not about streaming, but the hint that further consolidation is likely on the way. Townsquare, Emmis, Alpha Media, Radio One, Beasley, Bonneville, Cox and others may be conceding that terrestrial radio is not going to bounce back – ever. EMF (K-Love/Air1) has few gaps left to fill and opportunities are running out.

  2. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    I concur that proprietary apps for small groups of stations will not work. If you are a Salem radio listener, perhaps an app for all Salem stations and their program schedules would be useful so that you can find one that is streaming Larry Elder when you want to hear Larry Elder…. but then why not just streaming Larry Elder on demand….. or Larry Elder podcasts? WAIT! That have introduced Larry Elder podcasts, but they are for a monthly fee. Very broken business models.

    NPR is in a similar jam – I will not listen to any NPR stream that has a pre-roll request for donations. Many have the pre-roll, and many do not. I am not a regular NPR listener but last time I looked, they were doing a better job than most with regard to listening on demand and podcasts.

    iHeart does a decent job with listening on demand, but they erroneously call them podcasts – they are not. One can not download them and one must be online at all times to listen… but at least they recognize that no one wants to search through a database of local stations to find one that is streaming a favorite talk show when listening on demand is the better answer.

  3. Parrott says:

    Thanks CC, I will try her out.

    I think Lynchburg VA, WIQO /WNMA has Clark Howard on this morning. What the crap is that? Where is Chris Plante ?

    best
    parrott

    • CC1s121LrBGT says:

      I just found this list of “Paranormal Radio” and you may enjoy some of the shows listed.

      https://paranormal.talkstreamlive.com/

    • CC1s121LrBGT says:

      Crazy. I just verified that myself the other day. I was looking for any non Cumulus station that plays Plante live. All the Cumulus stations had the “Newts Whirled” pre-roll and it was not very sophisticated – when I was driving and momentarily lost the stream, it would restart with the preroll each time – unlistenable!

      I did find WEEB in NC to be the only option… but in many ways it is worse – when they are not streaming a commercial during a break, they are streaming silence. Often I forget that the radio is on and get shocked when the programming returns. Unless I am driving, I actually prefer the preroll.

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Plante and Beck will have new competition at 11:30 AM ET for 15 minutes each day starting April 29:

        https://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/185088/bill-o-reilly-returns-to-radio-with-daily-15-minut

        • Fred Stiening says:

          Bill O’Reilly is no Paul Harvey. I was told that a lot of ABC affiliates breathed a sigh of relief when Paul Harvey died. That 15 minutes had an audience but was a scheduling nuisance and little revenue for the station. Dropping it would set off an audience firestorm. When Mike Huckabee took over, the affiliates could not drop it fast enough.

          • CC1s121LrBGT says:

            I had completely forgotten that Huckabee had taken it over. Despite the topic, Paul Harvey was a good writer and knew how to use suspense. He also knew how to use his voice to engage the listener. IMHO, Huckabee was less talented on both of those key areas.

            O’Reilly has been doing about 15 minutes each Friday on the Glenn Beck show and a similar amount each week on the Wayne Allyn Root Show. I enjoy listening and getting his perspective. He is much more political than Paul Harvey was.

  4. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    Per today’s announcement, the 900 pound gorilla will be in the room with “a long-term contract extension” on 15 Entercom talk stations across the country. (per https://radioink.com/2019/03/13/rush-limbaugh-gets-contract-extension/ )

    “The stations include WBEN-A/BUFFALO, WBT-A-F/CHARLOTTE, WSKY (97.3 THE SKY)/GAINESVILLE, FL, WYRD-F (106.3 WORD)/GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG, WTIC-A/HARTFORD, KMBZ-A (TALK 980)/KANSAS CITY, KXNT-A/LAS VEGAS, WPHT-A/PHILADELPHIA, WRVA-A/RICHMOND, KMOX-A/ST. LOUIS, KNSS-A/WICHITA, and WILK-A-F-WBZU-A-WKZN-A (WILK NEWS RADIO)/SCRANTON-WILKES-BARRE.” per https://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/184794/15-entercom-news-talk-stations-renew-deals-to-carr

    I list the n0n-cumulus stations as the Cumulus stations seem to have adopted the pre-roll on a frequent basis and the Entercom stations have not.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      A nuance to that announcement. Most of the heritage CBS AM stations do not carry Rush. When Mel Karmizen was still running Infinity Broadcasting, his stations carried Rush, which continued after the merger. Sumner Redstone, the defacto owner of CBS and Viacom is a hard core financial supporter of the Democratic Party

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Interesting. At a quick glance, KMOX and WPHT (ex-WCAU) have been OO CBS as far back as my childhood.

        WPHT is interesting as it has dropped Rush before. Many suburban stations with Rush cover Philadelphia with a listenable daytime signal. The best coverage is probably 1000 watt WILM in Wilmington just a few miles from the Philadelphia International Airport. WAEB in Allentown to the north, an affiliate in Atlantic City to the east, Harrisburg to the west and 710 WOR from the NJ salt water wetlands (with a 50 kw directional signal pointed toward Philadephia) round out the other options competing with WPHT.

    • Parrott says:

      huh, WRVA is ‘entercom’. I didn’t know that. When they played music in the 70’s and 80’s there were WRVA bumper stickers on cars all over Virginia. Now someone is printing just ‘RVA’ stickers, you see them all over Richmond and Virginia Tech.
      Yeah, I am listening to WEEB also CC.
      I don’t know what happened to WIQO, There are some weenee libs in and around Lynchburg. They protest everything, so they may have had their feelings hurt with ‘Plante’.
      They are still rolling with ‘Beck’ in Roanoke, but he is toned down these days from the peak of his popularity 10 years ago. He not controversial anymore. That giving ‘bears’ to illegal aliens hurt him bad.
      parrott

      • Fred Stiening says:

        And being #nevertrump

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Glad you mentioned WEEB, Parrott. I hadn’t listened at all for a year or so and back then they had long silent periods in their stream that were jarring when they ended.

        I checked them today and found no silent periods at all and I have now become a regular listener. Plante, Rush, Hannity, and Levin at their standard live times. Not bad and no cumulus preroll ads!

        http://www.weeb990.com/WEEB990_Programming.php

        • Parrott says:

          cool, glad you like the WEEB. They have ‘custom made commercials for local businesses. WEBY does that, and WAAM in Ann Arbor. Interesting part, last week, on WAAM, they had a commercial for a local lumber store, hardware, home goods. ‘Fingerlea Lumber’ they had a catchy jingle. They went out of business in downtown Ann Arbor after 97 years. Weird, I miss the commercial.
          I remember KKAR in Omaha, they were good, had a great lineup, gone. That little station in Gastonia was good, I cannot remember their call letters, they went sports.
          WEEb is good now so enjoy them while they are around. WMAL has straightened up a bit on their replacement ads, ” Health annoyance with Dr.Sanjay Gumptha’. over and over again.
          I havn’t had a chance to listen much
          best
          parrott

  5. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    Over the years, there has been some discussion at SRG regarding CBS running two separate all-news stations in the NYC metro area. My summary was that WINS was more “headline news” with fewer stories in higher repetition. With one owner, they also coordinated the number of minutes after each our when they did traffic, weather and sports so that people could tune into whichever station would have the update they were interested in with the least amount of waiting time.

    Here is an update on them under Entercom:

    https://radioink.com/2019/02/26/whats-going-on-at-wcbs-am-and-1010-wins/

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Was CBS radio using CBS TV News as a source for the radio news?

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Not to my knowledge. I haven’t listened to either one for more than about 15 minutes total since WINS was a Westinghouse O&O station – so it has been decades. It has been at least that long since I have watched local TV news. I used to say, “same fire, different building” because it was always about which building caught fire, who was shot and what store was robbed today – more important things to do than track that.

        I do however, remember scanning stations and hearing the audio of CBS TV’s “60 Minutes” on WCBS radio. I think that was back in the late 80s when I heard that.

  6. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    “Stigall, who hosted mornings at WPHT, confirmed his departure to the Inquirer today in an email, noting that he and the Entercom-owned station ended their relationship “on good terms.” An Entercom spokesperson did not respond to request for comment.”

    “Conservative radio personality Chris Stigall has departed from 1210 WPHT-AM after nearly a decade with the station.”

    https://www.philly.com/entertainment/chris-stigall-wpht-contract-renewal-20190306.html

    • CC1s121LrBGT says:

      Rumor has it that he is joining WMAL. Evidently, he was on the air there on a few times in the last week… may have been an audition. He tweeted 15 hours ago that he will have some exciting news to share next week about The Chris Stigall Show returning.

      I found him entertaining and informative in small doses. A bit too much nonsense for my taste (and I am a fan of Chris Plante). Check him out wherever he lands – he is a good alternative if your favorite show has a boring topic or a boring guest host, but I expect his show will not be one of your regular favorites.

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