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Orbital Picks Up Where CCSS Left Off

Tech entrepreneur Sam Dibrell acquires the former Clear Channel Satellite Services

A new company has acquired the former Clear Channel Satellite Services and is continuing service to its clients.

We reported in November that CCSS parent iHeartMedia had announced it would stop services to non-iHeartMedia users.

Now a new company has acquired the satellite and distribution business and changed the name to Orbital Media Networks. It is headed by President Sam Dibrell Jr., a former customer.

“Orbital Media Networks Inc. will continue to operate from the Englewood, Colo., facility previously occupied by CCSS with no interruption in satellite service or customer support,” Dibrell told clients in a letter.

“The previous notification made by CCSS regarding discontinuation of satellite services is officially rescinded, and we are honoring all existing customer contracts under their original terms.”

Business observers speculated at the time that iHeartMedia preferred not to be in the business of providing backbone services to competitors of its own stations and other holdings, though at the time a spokeswoman told RW only that its move to cease programming distribution to outside clients was a strategic business decision.

Dibrell comes from the world of emergency response — he’s a former volunteer fire chief as well as an entrepreneur — and he told Radio World he expects little to any change in the company’s relationship with its clients; he said many of the earlier staff remain on board. The company provides satellite and terrestrial distribution capacity to independent affiliates, radio groups and content originators, as well as non-broadcast clients; a list of its product classes is shown above right. Meantime Orbital is in the process of completing the handoff of distribution services for assets that remain with iHeartMedia.

The acquisition was completed on Dec. 31.