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Westwood One Honks Goodbye to Metro

Big traffic brand is headed to Clear Channel

Metro Traffic is now part of the Clear Channel media empire.

Westwood One said it will focus on “expanding its core network radio business” and has sold its Metro division to Clear Channel Acquisition LLC. Part of the money it gets from selling Metro will help it pay down debt.

President Rod Sherwood made the announcement.

“The network radio marketplace is growing, and we are aggressively pursuing new opportunities in programming and distribution. Selling the Metro Traffic business, including Sigalert, allows us to focus on our network radio strengths,” he said in a statement.

The company noted it has launched several recent shows in keeping with this strategy, and says last year it “launched more new products than any other network radio syndicator.”

The company says the deal strengthens its balance sheet and “positions it for further organic growth and/or M&A [mergers and acquisition] activity.”

It said $104 million of the proceeds will be used to pay down certain debt, though money remains owed to the company’s controlling shareholder, Gores Radio Holdings. The total price was not announced.

The move also adds to Clear Channel’s presence in numerous sectors of the radio broadcast business beyond station ownership; among its affiliates are companies that do traffic, data, content syndication, radio trade publishing, off-air monitoring and automation manufacturing. It is active in numerous other media areas outside of radio as well including outdoor.