American Radio Systems has a new owner, and it's not the long-rumored Jacor. Late Friday afternoon, CBS announced that it's paying $2.6 billion for ARS. Here's how the deal will shake out in the Northeast:
Boston will be the one Northeast market where the combined CBS/ARS will have to shed stations. CBS already owns news/talk WBZ (1030), classic rock WZLX (100.7), oldies WODS (103.3), and modern rock WBCN (104.1). ARS has talker WRKO (680), sports WEEI (850), WNFT (1150, currently simulcasting WAAF), Worcester sports-talker WWTM (1440), 70s rock WEGQ (93.7 Lawrence), modern AC WBMX (98.5), and hard rock WAAF (107.3 Worcester). Both companies were already near the limit for station ownership in Boston; it will be interesting to see what gets shed. NERW suspects WNFT, WEGQ, and WAAF will be the first to get spun; likewise it's a near-certainty that CBS will hang onto clear-channel WBZ, sports-rights-heavy WEEI, and FM powerhouses WBMX, WODS, and WBCN. We'll keep you posted.
The rest of the roster: In the Portsmouth N.H. market, ARS brings standards WZNN (930 Rochester) and WMYF (1540 Exeter), modern AC WSRI (96.7 Rochester), and CHR WERZ (107.1 Exeter). In Hartford, ARS has newstalk WTIC (1080), hot AC WTIC-FM (96.5), classic rock WZMX (93.7), and AC WRCH (100.5 New Britain). In New York City, CBS has sports WFAN (660), all-news WCBS (880) and WINS (1010), modern rock WXRK (92.3), oldies WCBS-FM (101.1), and classic rock WNEW-FM (102.7). In Rochester, ARS contributes modern AC WZNE (94.1 Brighton), rock WCMF (96.5), CHR WPXY (97.9), and AC WRMM (101.3). And in Buffalo, ARS has standards WECK (1230 Cheektowaga), modern AC WLCE (92.9), urban WBLK (93.7), AC WJYE (96.1), and country WYRK (106.5).
Much more next Thursday, or sooner if news warrants.