Conclave - Entercom - CBS Radio

With Entercom’s CBS Radio merger inching toward the closing table, the epic deal naturally became a hot topic at the Conclave in Minneapolis. While group execs from competing companies generally agreed a new major player would be good for the industry as a whole, they also discussed how it might impact smaller companies, especially as it relates to national ad business.

The emergence of a third company with a large national footprint “will quite possibly have an impact on national revenue before it gets to the rep companies,” Bill Hendrich, executive VP of Radio at Cox Media Group said during the Conclave’s “Ask Me Almost Anything” keynote session Thursday morning. Companies without that level of national scale will have to “get the national you can get but really be great at local,” Hendrich added.

Kevin LeGrett spent six years at CBS Radio as a market manager in Rochester, NY before eventually joining iHeartMedia, where he now serves as president of its Southwest division. “I’m a huge CBS Radio fan, they paid my mortgage for a really long time,” he quipped. Folding the company into Entercom will create more competition, he said, not necessarily within the radio industry but on the larger media landscape. It will “make radio more competitive in media,” LeGrett said, while helping the industry fight for a larger share of ad dollars. “We need to come together as an industry and talk about all the great tools we have and all the great things we’re doing so that we can propel ourselves [to not be] thought of as an old medium,” LeGrett said. “I think [Entercom CEO David Field] and the crew are going to do that.”

Greg Strassell, senior VP of Programming for Hubbard Radio, drew a comparison between Field and Hubbard chair Ginny Morris. Both are second-generation broadcasters that understand the importance of reinvesting in the business, Strassell said.

Calling the union a “solid merger,” Peter Bowen, VP and market manager at Cumulus Media- Chicago agreed the marriage would be good for the industry. “Competition makes you better,” he said.