Business

Deal reshapes Triangle radio market

Posted August 10, 2009

— Sports talk radio will soon have one parent voice on AM, FM and in Spanish across the Triangle.

In a complex series of transactions involving the sale of multiple properties and format changes disclosed Monday afternoon, Capitol Broadcasting is acquiring WDNC 620 AM “The Bull” sports radio from Curtis Media. WDNC is based in Durham.

Capitol owns and operates 99.9 The Fan FM station in Raleigh. It is affiliated with ESPN Radio.

At the same time, Curtis Media is acquiring 850 The Buzz AM in Raleigh from McClatchey Broadcasting and plans to change the format from sports talk to music. Curtis Media also operates WPTF 680 AM in Raleigh and other stations across the state.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deals and other related transactions are subject to approval from the Federal Communications Commission. Approval is expected within three to five months, according to Capitol Broadcasting Vice President George Habel.

As a result of the transactions, several well-known local radio personalities will be moving across the dial.

David Glenn, currently at 850 The Buzz, will move to 99.9 The Fan and host a daily show from noon to 3 p.m.

Adam Gold and Joe Ovies of The Buzz will move to 620 AM and host a morning talk show.

Also as part of the deal, Capitol Broadcasting is selling North Carolina News Network to Curtis Media.

Capitol will broaden its station portfolio by acquiring WCLY 1550 AM in Raleigh and will change the format of that station to ESPN Deportes.

“The point for us is to add to the sports portfolio,” said Habel. “That began when we converted 99.9 to sports talk from country two years ago and we revamped the sports section of WRAL.com.

“These are the next steps – to add to our AM radio to our portfolio and to service the growing Latino market,” he added.

Existing contracts between WDNC and Duke University for football and men's and women's basketball will be honored, Habel said. He also said Durham Bulls baseball would return to WDNC after a two-year hiatus during which Bulls games were carried by The Fan. According to Habel, Bulls broadcasts will likely be divided between the two stations.

With the addition of Glenn, Gold and Ovies, Capitol adds three of the region’s best-known radio personalities.

“David Glenn is very popular and has a huge following, especially among ACC fans,” Habel said. “Adam and Joe are pretty much an institution.”

Asked if there might be layoffs as a result of the transition, Habel said, "It is too early to tell."

In acquiring North Carolina News Network, Curtis Media augments its statewide news gathering network.

“That was a hard decision for Capitol Broadcasting,” Habel said of the decision to sell NCNN, which he said had been part of the company for some four decades. “But this moves the brand to Curtis, another local company that is clearly committed to radio news and to local public affairs programming.”

Jim Goodmon, president and chief executive officer of Capitol Broadcasting, described the deal as one in which Capitol provides “sports fans differing programming options up and down the radio dial. This adds to our web, television and radio sports platform for listeners, viewers and advertisers.”

The sports radio operations will be directed by Brian Maloney, the longtime general manager at 850 The Buzz. He will report to Habel.

Capitol plans to house the radio station operations at its Microspace subsidiary’s offices in North Raleigh where a new broadcast studio is under construction.

Bill McClatchey, the owner of 850 The Buzz, plans to leave the broadcast business.

“The Buzz was the Triangle’s first sports station,” he said in a statement. “We built a strong brand over the past decade – entertaining and effective for advertisers. It’s gratifying that it will be carried on at Capitol.”

Don Curtis, founder and chief executive officer of Curtis media, said the addition of NCNN “is a good strategic fit.” NCNN has affiliates across the state and bases its news team in Raleigh.

“Already WPTF has the largest (radio) newsroom in the state, originates State Government Radio and the Southern Farm Network,” he added. “The North Carolina News Network extends our services to 75 stations reaching 1.6 million listeners.”

66 Comments

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  • UNC79 Aug 13, 4:58 p.m.

    If you live east of Raleigh like I do (Benson) you will soon lose sports radio. 99.9's signal is not strong enough to compete with the signal from Wilmington and 620 is hard to get in the mornings.

  • Space Mountain Aug 11, 1:35 p.m.

    I am glad they got Zarzour back on the radio, but I don't understand dropping Bomani and keeping Gold and the guys on 99.9 in the afternoon. Bomani should be kept in place of one of those. Most people I know can't stand Gold and the afternoon guys on 99.9.

  • DasStonecutter Aug 11, 9:34 a.m.

    So which national shows will they syndicate at night? The evening shows on Fox Sports Radio are much better than ESPN. Petros and Money as well as JT the Brick are actually really good shows - I'd be disappointed if they were dropped for ESPN's guys.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Aug 11, 9:10 a.m.

    Adam Gold and Joe Ovies is OK. I don't agree with them a lot. But an informative show. David Glenn has the best show if you simply want to "learn" what's really going on. VERY Informative. Bomani Jones is the most uninformed of the bunch. Has no insight of any sport except the NBA. You might catch a laugh. But I'm not looking for a comedy show. I want to be informed. His show is a waste of time.

  • uncgirl_2010 Aug 11, 9:00 a.m.

    Here's my dream lineup
    Taylor Z in the am, followed by Professor Jones and the Coach Sheed movement, then Steve Logan and David Glenn together, Followed by the Packman. Strengthen the signal PLEASE!!!!!!!!

  • FloydRTurbo Aug 10, 6:55 p.m.

    No changes at WPTF. Curtis Media getting a few extra small market stations. No word yet on which music format 850 will have. Cool Jazz is a possibility like their Burlington station.

  • DianeNC Aug 10, 6:54 p.m.

    From Triangle Business Journal's article on the news:

    "In addition, Curtis Media is forming a new sports network, which will syndicate radio shows hosted by 850 The Buzz mainstay David Glenn and WPTF sports anchor Taylor Zarzour. Capitol has agreed to broadcast Zarzour on WDNC weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon, while Glenn’s program will air from noon to 3 p.m. on 99.9 The Fan.

    Capitol, in a written statement, revealed plans for some of McClatchey’s most popular shows. In addition to David Glenn's show on 99.9 The Fan, Adam Gold and Joe Ovies will move from 850 The Buzz to the newly renamed 620 The Buzz, where they will play host to a drive-time morning show."

    So if David Glenn is taking the Noon - 3:00 PM time slot over on 99.9 The Fan, what happens to Mike Maniscalco's Sports Lunch from Noon - 1:00 PM? :(

  • thulsadoom Aug 10, 6:38 p.m.

    that's just great, triangle sports talk radio is just like fox tv, they just can't stand prosperity they always have to kill off their good shows. Two years from now we wil come full circle and have nothing again. Well done triangle i can hardly wait for the two twenty four hour polka stations coming in 2011.

  • DougWare.NET Aug 10, 6:16 p.m.

    They mention WPTF 680, but don't mention any changes. Please don't change WPTF's format, it's the only station I listen to anymore.

    The only two music stations I ever listened to were Sunny 93.9 and Oldies 100.7, once they changed I stopped listening to them as well.

  • csmac99 Aug 10, 6:14 p.m.

    Pacman's show is good - not a homer and the QCB is funny. Their whiner line is much better than the 99.9 one. Scott Jackson doesn't have a listenable radio voice. Mike & Mike are a novelty act and jumped the shark a long time ago. I just hope that whatever we end up with is diverse - how much Canes disection can we stand?

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