Radio Waves: 4/21/17

Wilde Sound

Rita Wilde has been signed up for another multi-year contract on The Sound (KSWD, 100.3 FM), which — along with the recent similar news for Joe Benson — hopefully means the station will survive the merger (see below for more on that).

Wilde stared her radio career at KEZY/Anaheim (now KGBN, 1190 AM) during their “1190 Rock days” in 1978 under programmer Dave Forman, working through her tenure alongside such legends as Shana, Steve Downs, Rick Shaw, Dr. Timothy Leary, Strawberry Jan, Mark Denis and others … “so many great people,” she told me. “I had been interning in the building for a couple of years,” she explained, answering phones for the FM which at the time was automated. “Dave asked me to make him a tape and he put me on the air the following weekend.” It was promoted as “Kick A** Rock and Roll … “a rockin’ AM station playing FM rock on the AM dial.”

I remember it fondly. The first time I heard The Plimsouls, I heard them on KEZY. But I digress.

In 1982 she moved in to KLOS (95.5 FM) and has been at The Sound since 2013. “The Sound is the kind of radio I love, so I’m thrilled to be here,” Wilde said. Reflecting on her career, she commented “I am blessed and grateful.” Hear her nightly Monday through Friday, 7 p.m. to midnight on The Sound.

Merger Update

Entercom president and Chief Executive Officer David Field send an email to employees giving an update on the planned merger between Entercom and CBS Radio. The letter was also filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in order to keep investors updated as well.

“We have been hard at work, making significant progress towards our transformational merger,” Field wrote. “We are working with various government agencies on deal approval and we are engaging with the CBS corporate team along with a team of expert merger integration advisors to ensure that we achieve as close to a seamless transition as possible when we close.”

The merger is expected to be consummated sometime in the second half of next year.

“As an organization that fundamentally believes there is nothing more important than the people on our team, our first order of business upon making the announcement was to hit the road to meet and introduce ourselves to the CBS Radio staffs. Since early February, we have traveled across the country to virtually every one of the CBS markets. It is with great pride that we have shared the Entercom story and expressed our enthusiasm for the opportunities that lie ahead for the entire organization,” he said.

While I am most certainly not a fan of huge radio companies at all — the likes of Clear Channel (now iHeart), Cumulus and even CBS itself have stolen the soul from radio and have put a viable formerly creative industry on life support. But Entercom does seem to be a different breed, and as it is a merger rather than a buyout, the company should be on sound financial footing. Hopefully this may help push some money into promotions and programming.

Locally the combined company will — or may, depending on whether regulations change under President Trump — need to divest one station. In response, Entercom announced that it will place two stations into a trust for potential sale: KCBS-FM (93.1) and The Sound. Until the merger in finalized, both companies will operate as completely separate entities.