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IBiquity, Citadel Media to Facilitate Digital Projects

Barter deal aims to boost HD Radio uptake

Citadel Media and iBiquity Digital Corp. have a new barter arrangement that’s aimed at helping radio owners convert to HD Radio or upgrade IBOC gear without an outlay of cash.

Citadel Media is a content distributor, with some 4,000 affiliates for content like ABC News Radio and ESPN Radio, and talent like Don Imus, Mark Levin, Michael Baisden and Rick Dees. Its parent is Citadel Broadcasting, a radio station group owner itself. The arrangement is open to all radio owners.

Under the plan, stations would provide on-air avails to Citadel Media, which in turn would pay for the user’s HD Radio licensing fees and equipment from Broadcast Electronics, Continental, Harris or Nautel.

IBiquity Director of U.S. Broadcast Sales Rick Greenhut told Radio World that deals between stations or clusters and Citadel Media can be structured in a variety of ways.

“The station doesn’t write a check,” said Greenhut. “It runs commercials. We’ve taken barter to the next step.” In some cases, a station may choose to use a finance company to pay the equipment supplier so an HD Radio transmitter can be built and shipped quickly.

As long as the ads air, Citadel will pay the equipment manufacturers and iBiquity the necessary hardware and licensing costs to convert or upgrade the stations involved, even if they’re not the stations where the ads aired.

Greenhut said some broadcasters have inquired about such a deal and that the arrangement should be a boon for any broadcast business that’s short on cash and has a lot of spot availability.

The typical one-time iBiquity licensing is now about $11,000, he said.

President John Rosso stated that the partnership makes it easier for stations to enter the digital world.

“HD Radio technology provides significant benefits that will help stations remain competitive. We’re making those benefits available with flexible options on a co-cash, barter basis” for both small and large broadcasters.

Citadel Media is owned and operated by Citadel Broadcasting, and incorporates much of what used to be the ABC Radio Networks. The parent company owns about 240 radio stations.