(Host) Clear Channel Communications has agreed to sell seven radio stations in the Vermont market to a company with offices in South Burlington.
The company, Vox Communications, currently owns stations in Massachusetts, Virginia, Florida, and Indiana.
VPR’s Steve Zind reports.
(Zind) Clear Channel is the country’s biggest radio conglomerate, with nearly 1,200 stations. The San Antonio based company announced plans 14 months ago to sell about 450 of its radio stations.
The seven area radio stations include WEZF in the Burlington market and the Champ franchises, which air the popular morning program Corm and the Coach.
Scott Fybush publishes the weekly newsletter Northeast Radio Watch. Fybush says it’s unlikely listeners will hear any changes.
He says Clear Channel operated the stations on a tight budget and with a minimum of local staff. He doesn’t expect that to change under the new owner.
Fybush says there may be advantages, though, to having the stations run by a local owner. Vox’s principal owner, Ken Barlow, is based here.
(Fybush) "It certainly doesn’t hurt to have the guy who owns the radio station being right there in the market actually listening to what’s going on. It makes him a little more responsible, at least in theory to the listeners. It certain keeps him in touch with what his radio station is up to."
(Zind) Barlow couldn’t be reached for comment. In the meantime, no price has been disclosed for the sale, but Fybush estimates the stations are selling for $7 million to $9 million. He says it’s a buyer’s market right now.
(Fybush) "It’s an interesting time to be buying radio stations. Prices are down somewhat, with the crunch in credit, so you can start to find stations for a little bit less than you would have in previous years."
(Zind) Once the purchase is approved by the federal government, Vox will own more than two dozen stations. The transfer is expected to take place in the spring.
For VPR News, I’m Steve Zind.
Note: Here is a list of the Clear Channel stations involved in the sale.