Brought country music radio back to the New York market for the first time in 17 years
Cumulus Media began 2014 with an expanded radio network and a new digital play, cementing its position as a major platform company with scale. A former programmer and the brother of Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey (see No. 36), John Dickey heads programming, marketing, promotion, sales and engineering for what is now radio’s most acquisitive company.
Late last year it closed a $260 million all-cash deal to buy the Dial Global radio network, which it merged with its own syndication company and renamed Westwood One, creating a network radio powerhouse that does business with 10,000 stations. In September it took a 15% equity stake in Rdio, enabling Cumulus to promote and program new national channels and sell advertising for it.
As a result, it increased its reach to 130 million monthly listeners, ahead of CBS Radio but trailing industry leader Clear Channel.
The Dickey brothers are primed to exploit Americans’ unquenchable thirst for country. Last year Cumulus brought the format back to the New York for the first time in 17 years, flipping a religious-formatted FM to WNSH (Nash FM 94.7) and turning it into a springboard for a new multimedia national country brand.
“We’ll create a lot of content . . . while branching out to live events and print,” Dickey says.
With roughly 85 country stations and Westwood One’s nationally syndicated country format, Cumulus delivers nearly 30 million country listeners per week, putting it at an advantage.
“It will change the way artists are brought to market by making it a more efficient process, ” he says.