The news last week that Entercom will sell The Sound (KSWD, 100.3 FM) to a company that will play satellite-delivered Christian pop music caught people by surprise.
Even more surprising is that the buyer, the Educational Media Foundation (EMF), got the station for a song. The Sound, two other full-power stations and two FM translators made for a total of $57 million; in comparison, The Sound alone sold for over $100 million in 2008.
In my opinion, the SEC ought to look into this to make sure that shareholders didn’t lose out, because from here it’s seems possible that Entercom sold the station to EMF so they wouldn’t be in competition with the stations that remained after the merger with CBS.
Where will Sound listeners go? Entercom may think they will move on to future holdings KRTH (101.1 FM), or Jack (KCBS-FM, 93.1). Others may think they will head over to KLOS (95.5 FM). Wishful thinking, in my opinion. Sound listeners listened just because The Sound was NOT Jack, KRTH or KLOS.
There was a special attitude from the relatively young upstart station with legendary personalities like Joe Benson, Rita Wilde, Cynthia Fox, Mimi Chen and Mary Price. Aside from being our on-air friends, there is a certain respect for both the music and listeners that is sorely missing from most other stations, particularly Jack and KRTH.
My hunch? Most Sound listeners will simply abandon radio altogether.
On the Other Side
When I mentioned my theory above to Sky Daniels, he responded quickly with “I certainly hope not.” And that wasn’t just a lament. This man is passionate about music and what radio can be.
Daniels, who in a past life could be found on stations such as KMET (now KTWV, 94.7 FM), is the programmer of KCSN (88.5 FM) which recently merged signals with KSBR, also at 88.5, in order to create a mega station with a potential audience in excess of 11 million (though not, it turns out, including the South Bay where I live).
Both signals – KCSN originating from…