CBS to buy New York radio station to relay WFAN

CBS Radio expects $75 million purchase from Merlin Media to build leading sports brand

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- CBS Corp. said Monday that it is buying a New York radio station for $75 million so that it can relay a popular AM sports radio feed on the FM dial.

The purchase of the station broadcasting on 101.9 FM from Merlin Media is subject to regulatory approval. It would become the 127th radio station that CBS operates in 28 markets nationwide.

CBS said that it will use the station to relay a simulcast of its Sports Radio 66 WFAN, which will continue to also be heard at 660 AM and online.

WFAN is New York's radio home for the New York Giants, New York Mets, Brooklyn Nets and New Jersey Devils and its hosts include Mike Francesa, Boomer Esiason, and Craig Carton.

The current format at 101.9 FM is alternative rock music, but the station has undergone several changes in recent years. It broadcast an all-news format for about a year after Merlin bought the station from Emmis Communications Corp. in 2011, before reverting back to rock in July.

Under Emmis, the station broadcast rock for about two years, ending two decades of a smooth jazz format that had declined in popularity.

CBS Radio president Dan Mason said in a statement that sports radio is a "huge growth category" for radio. "We look forward to The Fan building on its position as the leading sports radio franchise in the country."

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