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Entercom Closing in on CBS Radio Merger

Offloads stations in L.A., San Diego and Pennsylvania to grease skids

Entercom can check another box. The Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based broadcaster moved closer to completing its pending merger with CBS Radio by selling off three FM radio stations, the first of the required divestitures.

Entercom this week announced a deal to sell KSWD(FM) in Los Angeles, KSOQ(FM) in San Diego and WGGI(FM) in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., to Educational Media Foundation for an undisclosed price.

Entercom still needs FCC approval of the $1.7 billion acquisition of CBS Radio. It must also clear antitrust hurdles from the U.S. Department of Justice for the merger to close. The merger with CBS Radio will give Entercom a nationwide footprint of 240 stations in 23 of the top 25 radio markets in the country.

“We have made great progress towards the completion of our merger with CBS Radio and this agreement with EMF brings us one step closer to the finish line,” said David Field, president and chief executive officer of Entercom. “We remain on track to close the CBS Radio transaction later this year and confident in the value-creating opportunities presented by this transformational combination.”

Entercom and CBS are locked into a new deadline of Jan. 31, 2018, to complete the deal under terms of an amendment filed earlier this month. The merger agreement can now be terminated by either side if not completed by that date. As part of its acquisition of CBS Radio, Entercom placed 14 FM radio stations in seven markets into a trust called TDC Communications with the intention to sell those assets. Observers expect more station sales to be announced in the fourth quarter of this year.

EMF, which is based in Rocklin, Calif., is a nonprofit organization that owns and operates 770 FM stations and translators. It is perhaps best known for its K-LOVE adult contemporary Christian format. EMF CEO Mike Novak said in a press release Tuesday: “We are particularly excited to see what God has in store for the people of Los Angeles, through our new station, positive and encouraging K-LOVE at 100.3 FM [KSWD]. The people at Entercom have been a joy making this purchase possible.”