SBD/August 8, 2013/Media

Cumulus Taking Over Operations For Dallas-Based KESN-AM From ESPN

ESPN yesterday announced that it is "turning over day-to-day operations" of Dallas-based KESN-AM, better known as ESPN Radio 103.3 Dallas, to Cumulus Media, owner of rival station KTCK-AM, according to Barry Horn of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. ESPN will maintain "ownership of the station." ESPN Senior VP/Production & Business Divisions Traug Keller said this was a "smart business decision." Keller said Cumulus' ownership of eight radio stations in Dallas-Ft. Worth gives it "great scale in the market." Horn: "Translation: Cumulus more economically can run the ESPN station, which obviously didn’t produce enough revenue for the liking of ESPN corporate bean counters back in Bristol." Cumulus Exec VP & co-COO John Dickey said that he "doesn’t anticipate any immediate on-air changes at ESPN-FM but 'over time there will be a more integrated experience' for listeners." Horn writes of the transaction, "Pencil in Bristol ESPN and local ESPN the losers, while Cumulus and The Ticket are the winners in the transaction" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/8). In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel cited a source as saying that KESN execs "were unaware of this merger" until Tuesday night. Both the Rangers and Mavericks call ESPN 103.3 their flagship station, and "how this acquisition affects their home on this signal is uncertain." Engel: "You can bet neither team wants their games carried on the weaker AM signal" (STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/7).
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