I do not hold much on message forum scoops either. But in their dire financial status and that they diplexed the signal, selling the old TX site, it is possible they would want to unload it. It is already on FM and the AM is redundant.
And pay enough to make a substantial dent in Entercom's debt?
When you are starving, 1/4 loaf of stale bread will taste good. Substantial is not the keyword, minimum note payment is.
So that leaves iHeart, Hubbard, or smaller groups and the brokered / ethnic / religious operators.
iHeart would buy it in a snap to clear their syndicated programs which are aging out of the demo but still making money (ie: Rush). Also marginalized groups where their potential audience can't afford streaming fees.
None of those seem plausible to me and I don't see a John Catsimatidis waiting in the wing to snap up 780 ala WABC, either.
No one expected Catsimatidis to buy WABC but he did. He also has made it known he wants to network nationwide. He has Liberal and Conservative ties, being Conservative as of recent, that he would like to push.
I think your guess of $7M for WBBM-AM is close if not high.
I agree. Follow my link at the end of the post to see how these AM's are valued these days. *Assuming* 780 AM Chicago sold AND there was a contract in place for no compete on the News format, not sure if this formula fits. The last revenue was listed in 2016 @ $45 million. The market overall is depressed since then. If they are billing $30 million and their operating is 75% (not uncommon for a news/talk outlet) they had a "Broadcast Cash Flow" of $7.5 million. But, a majority of that is on the FM side, so it is possible that the AM only shares $ 1 million of that. That is where I came up with the figure. Again all speculation as we do not know their exact revenue numbers.
Speaking to someone in the industry, WMBI-AM is valued at 1 million and only way it can sell at that is if there is an FM translator for the new owners. After Covid, I believe it is worth < 250k being a daytimer only.
And what would Entercom flip 99.5 to? They already had classic hits on 104.3 and gave up.
US99 and 104.3 are billing, not much, but billing! 104.3 is more at risk going WSCR. If the cost to run 670AM is less than giving up an FM to move an AM there and losing the AM, 670AM is going nowhere.
Lastly, sorry to be a contrarian, but I don't think the failure of AM stereo did that much to kill the AM band. Maybe that was one of the factors back in the 90s that helped push things on their way, but before the more recent decline, AM has had a pretty good second life as a home for primarily spoken word (news, talk, sports) programming.
The bad choices of AM Stereo and HD Radio in the US killed the AM band much quicker than it should have. Proof positive in Europe and Asia where it survived for more years stronger than the US in many areas airing content besides spoken word.
The larger factors in the current decline of AM seem to me to include the rise of streaming, the constantly rising noise floor thanks to RF polluters like cheapo Chinese LED bulbs that can make listening to AM tedious, declining support for AM radio in receivers (AM band absent entirely or tuner is so poor it might as well be), and the consolidation and decline of the radio industry in general (less content / poorer content leads to less listeners which leads to less revenue which leads to less content / poorer content…).
Totally agreed. The broadband, LEDs, MESH, Smart power meters and the like have decimated the band. Sounds like you might be a HAM or DX'er. Then you will understand when I say, have you heard the noise on 20m and 900Mhz? Even the noise floor on 2 meters is insane some days.
There are also the just fundamental technical disadvantages that AM has vs FM and streaming in terms of signal bandwidth / fidelity / susceptibility to lightning interference, etc. AM stereo doesn't fix any of those (except maybe fidelity, but … the other issues overwhelm that one).
Agreed, but you have to admit, AM Stereo sounds better even with the noise. Side note, India using the AM broadcast band and DRM are on fire. The receivers are cheap and it sounds great, even on the AM band eliminating fading and most noise. For those reading this, look it up. They use DRM in the present AM band, FM band and 174 - 260 Mhz.
Yes, it's great that you can kinda hear 670/720/780 across the Midwest, and I say that as someone who loves to catch DX, but to me, AM radio is like not far from the telegraph and dial-up modems. It’s a product of another age that has almost outlived its usefulness.
Again, I agree with you totally. The technology is 100 years old. The AM receivers produced today have more technology like PLL, bass/treble or equalizers etc... but the filters used for frequency response are terrible hence AM sounding "muddy". But, using DRM or other technology it can be revitalized. Like you, I love to DX, but the day will come when the US is attacked, or the IP/Wireless grid will be pulverized. Lack of AM might possibly mean we lose that battle on our ground. AM radio is the only long distance communication that can be guaranteed, unlike IP based technology.
Great post. Thanks for contributing.
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