Report: 47 Cumulus Stations To Drop ESPN For CBS Sports
October 12, 2012

When the CBS Sports Radio Network launches in January, it will get a boost in affiliates at the expense of competitor ESPN Radio. The New York Post reports that 47 Cumulus Media-owned Sports stations around the country will drop their ESPN affiliation for CBS.

When CBS announced its new Sports Radio network in June , it also announced a partnership with Cumulus as the network's exclusive syndicator and sales partner, to secure affiliate agreements and ad sales with radio stations nationwide through Cumulus Media Networks. CBS also announced at the time that its network would be heard on 67 Cumulus stations (and 28 in the top 100 markets), but the Post reports these affiliates will take a bite out of ESPN's national syndication footprint.

According to the paper, CBS Sports Radio will be heard on roughly 100 stations, reaching 10 million households, when it launches January 2. However, ESPN has approximately 350 stations nationwide, reaching 30 million households.

"ESPN affiliates are in small markets. Maybe you find that adds up to a lot of audience," CBS Radio President Dan Mason told the Post. "Don’t forget that CBS Radio owns most of the top 10 sports stations in the US, and with Cumulus that’s formidable. ESPN has had the market much to themselves, we’re the new entry and we think we put together formidable talent."

ESPN SVP of Production and Business Traug Keller told the paper, "This has no material effect on us. There’s only three or four [Cumulus] stations in the top 50." Keller added that ESPN has already found new affiliates in Atlanta and Birmingham, AL to replace the ones they will lose to CBS. He also emphasized ESPN's reach beyond radio to include podcasts, streaming and other online content.

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Mark Adams
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