Radio Goes Digital
About a month ago, I wrote a post about how deals are getting harder to get done.
I spent almost all my time last year working on five or six deals, two of them very big deals. And at the time I wrote that post, I was really struggling with four, including the two big ones.
Well I am happy to say that almost all of them did get done and they will be announced over the next month or so.
This morning the broadcast radio industry is announcing the most complex deal I have ever worked on in my career, a deal that took over a year to get done, and a deal that will transform the way the broadcast radio business operates.
The leading radio broadcasters, 21 station groups in all representing the vast majority of radio stations in the US, have agreed to an agressive rollout of a digital signal using the HD Radio standard. These broadcasters have specifically agreed to convert almost 2,000 stations in the coming years. These are the big stations, the ones with most of the listeners across the country. This committment is real and backed up with significant capital. But the most important thing about this deal is it says to the rest of the industry that digital is here and its the future of broadcast radio.
My portfolio company, iBiquity Digital, is the developer of HD Radio technology.
While I did spend a great deal of time on this deal, it was really the work of the senior management team of iBiquity, led by CEO Bob Struble, and several of the top broadcasters, including Clear Channel, Infinity/Viacom, and Entercom, who made this happen. I salute them for getting something done that many said couldn’t happen and wouldn’t happen.
It’s a new day for the radio business. We will see new devices, new services, new programming, and new listeners as a result.