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Cumulus Acquisition Starts With the Mundane: Email

First things first

A radio group that consists of 570 stations in 120 markets, plus a network serving 4,000 stations, would represent a big technical management challenge at any time; but creating that entity out of two separate corporate pieces is an even bigger problem.

That’s the job now for the technical team at Cumulus Media Inc. after Cumulus today completed its acquisition of Citadel Broadcasting Corp., creating what Cumulus calls “the largest pure-play radio broadcaster in the United States.”

The “creation” of the company of course is happening through combinations at every level — front offices, sales, traffic, jocks. But as usual when infrastructure is involved, engineers bear special responsibilities. The tech staffs have been preparing for this day (as much as possible, anyway, since significant legal constraints were in place limiting how much they could work together).

Outside observers will be watching to determine all sorts of questions — the impact on the company’s market value; how the business will be managed; the inevitable questions about corporate cultures, job redundancies and reactions from competitors.

But the immediate tasks for the Cumulus tech team today include things like making sure email systems and data systems are switched over, that Citadel websites have been rebranded and so forth. Cumulus engineering head Gary Kline flew last night from the Radio Show in Chicago to Citadel’s Las Vegas facility to help make sure things went smoothly in the engineering/IT transition.

Kline is now top engineering executive for the combined entity, and he’ll be working with Citadel’s top engineer Martin Stabbert on the many practical implications and questions that come with merging large broadcast operations.

”Email did begin switching this morning shortly after 9 a.m. Eastern,” Kline told RW this morning.

“We have had a very smooth and coordinated effort between the Atlanta, New York and Vegas IT teams. I can’t say enough good things about all of the team members who have been putting in overtime on this effort. Security logins, website updates and corporate directory merging were also part of the process.”

Radio World plans to continue to report on the technical processes and challenges involved in combining the companies.