Westwood One


Westwood One

Westwood One (NYSE|WON) is an American radio network. It is based in New York City, and it was previously managed by CBS Radio, the radio arm of CBS Corporation. Westwood One is now an autonomous company that describes itself as "platform agnostic" but still focuses mostly on radio as well as online audio products.

History

The company was founded by Norman J. Pattiz in 1976. At the time, he was a former advertising sales executive with KCOP-TV, a Los Angeles TV station. He was listening to a local radio station doing a Motown weekend, and decided to syndicate "The Sound of Motown" to radio. The show was a success. He added several more shows during the 1970s, including Dr. Demento. By 1982, he was distributing his radio shows via satellite through an arrangement with idb Communications in Culver City. Mr. Pattiz took Westwood One public in 1984, and with the money raised by the IPO, he purchased the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1985, and the NBC Radio Network in 1987. Other highlights in the late 1980s include the purchase of three radio stations, the trade paper "Radio & Records," and the hiring of Casey Kasem from ABC. The company purchased Unistar Radio Networks in 1994 (later spinning off Transtar in 2006), and then purchased Metro Networks in 1999 in a three-way merger involving Metro Networks, Copter Acquisition Corp. and Westwood. The company continues to trade publicly under the stock symbol WON.

Purchase of Mutual and NBC

In 1985, Westwood One purchased the Mutual Broadcasting System, one of the "Big Four" of the 1940s in American radio, and continued to operate it as a separate network program service into the 1990s. However, by the early 1990s Mutual ended up simply being a brand name for programming provided by Westwood One. Westwood One discontinued using the Mutual name in favor of CNN Radio in 1999 and the Mutual name passed permanently from use on the air.

Two years later in 1987, Westwood One purchased the NBC Radio Network from General Electric. The "NBC Radio" brand is still occasionally used, most commonly for the hourly newscasts produced by NBC News and for the news magazine "First Light". In addition, Westwood One acquired the radio rights to the monologue feature "Last Night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" from Premiere Radio Networks in 2007, effectively uniting all of NBC's radio productions under one network.

Westwood One provides operational, sales and marketing support for the CBS Radio Network, whose properties are owned by the CBS Corporation. The CBS Radio news and sports broadcasts are distributed from the CBS/Westwood One Master Control at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City.

Westwood One also provides alternate feeds of NFL football games to Sirius Satellite Radio.

Westwood One expanded into digital media with the hiring of radio veteran Gary Krantz in 2006; Krantz remained with the company until March 2008.

ale

On May 4, 2007, the New York Post reported that Westwood One has retained investment bank UBS to seek potential buyers for the network, [ [http://www.nypost.com/seven/05042007/business/westwood_one_signals_its_for_sale_business_peter_lauria_and_zachery_kouwe.htm New York Post] ] .

In October 2007, Westwood and CBS Radio signed a new contractual agreement by which Westwood would hire its own officers and directors, and CBS would benefit from Westwood One programming and trademark licenses. Westwood will also enjoy the benefit of CBS trademarks, under the agreement, which was filed as part of the companies' public disclosures with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The new agreement took effect on March 3, 2008, the same day that Gores Radio Group invested $12,500,000 dollars as part of a multi-stage investment takeover of Westwood One. The second stage of the Gores investment happened only two weeks later, with an identical investment of $12,500,000, [ [http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/771950/000119312508061100/0001193125-08-061100-index.htm EDGAR Filing Documents for 0001193125-08-061100 ] ] which gave Gores Radio direct ownership of more than 14,000,000 shares of stock in Westwood One. Gores Radio Group companies states it has been investing in media since the late 1980s. [ [http://gores.com The Gores Group, LLC ] ] .

In September 2008, the New York Stock Exchange warned Westwood One that if its average stock price was not propped up to at least $1 per share in the next six month period, that it would be delisted. [ [http://www.radioink.com/HeadlineEntry.asp?hid=143509&pt=todaysnews Westwood One Gets NYSE Warning] . Radio Ink.]

Overview

The company is one of the largest producers and distributors of radio programming in the United States. It broadcasts entertainment, news, weather, sports, talk, and traffic programming to about 7,700 radio stations across the USA. The company is America's top provider of local traffic reports through its subsidiaries, Metro Networks, Shadow Broadcast Services and SmartRoute Systems.

Notable personalities

Talk radio personalities distributed by Westwood One include Bill O'Reilly (by agreement with Fox News Radio), Lars Larson, Dennis Miller, Jim Bohannon, Billy Bush and an audio simulcast of Larry King Live. Hot Talkers Tom Leykis, Adam Carolla, and Mike O'Meara are also carried on the network, as is Drew Pinsky, who hosts two programs on the network, the hot talk Loveline and the general advice program "Dr. Drew Live." The company syndicates these shows across AM and FM affiliates, and does not sell the programs to satellite radio (O'Reilly is distributed to satellite through Fox). Westwood One distributes the radio news operations of CNN and NBC as well as its former corporate cousin, the CBS Radio Network.

24-hour radio formats via satellite to affiliate stations

Until 2006, Westwood One distributed a number of 24-hour radio formats via satellite to affiliate stations. These formats included: Adult Rock & Roll (classic rock), Adult Standards (formerly AM Only), Bright AC, CNN Headline News, Hot Country, Mainstream Country, SAM - Simply About Music (variety hits), Soft AC, and The Oldies Channel. The 24 hour formats, originally acquired through Westwood One's purchase of Unistar in 1993, were spun off in 2006 and are currently distributed under the Dial Global brand (now owned by Triton Media Group).

The lone exception is the audio feed of CNN Headline News, which remains part of the CNN Radio branding under Westwood One. The Headline News feed is slowly being phased out as the contracts with the individual stations expire.

Music programs syndicated

Westwood One syndicates several popular programs for a variety of music formats. Shows include "The Beatle Years" with Bob Malik, "Beatle Brunch" with Joe Johnson, "Country Countdown USA", "Absolutely Live", "Superstar Concert Series", "Country Gold" (in most markets, also known as "Country Gold Saturday Night", but also available on Sunday), "106 and Park Weekend Countdown" with Terrence and Rocsi, MTV "TRL Weekend Countdown", "Off the Record with Joe Benson", "VH1 Concerts and Specials", "Out of Order with Jed the Fish", and the "Country Six Pack" of holiday music specials. "The Dr. Demento Show" was carried by Westwood One from 1978 to 1992, and rights to those shows are still held by Westwood One.

Live concerts and sports broadcasts

Westwood One is most notable for its coverage of live events. The company broadcasts live concerts, college football and NHL hockey games, and also holds exclusive national radio rights for many National Football League games, the Olympic Games, the NCAA Basketball Tournament (this and NFL coverage are co-produced with corporate sibling CBS TV), the Masters and U.S. Open golf, Wimbledon tennis tournament, and the GRAMMY Awards.

yndicated news and traffic programming

In 2005, Westwood One, Inc. and its traffic subsidiary, Metro Networks, sent several existing officers and directors of Westwood to Canada and Australia to unify a number of helicopter aviation companies that were already providing reports to Westwood One and Metro Networks' affiliates. The result was the incorporation of a company called Global Traffic Network, which began taking deliveries of Robinson R44 news helicopters in 2005. The companies signed a three-way content and data sharing agreement in November 2005, which is part of documents on file with the SEC in Washington, D.C.

See also

*List of United States radio networks
*"NFL on Westwood One"

References

External links

* [http://www.westwoodone.com/ Westwood One website]
* [http://www.smartroute.com/ SmartRoute Systems website]
* [http://www.dennismillerradio.com Official Dennis Miller website]
* [http://www.lovelineshow.com Official LoveLine website]
* [http://www.theosgoodfile.com Official Charles Osgood File website]
* [http://www.blowmeuptom.com The Tom Leykis Show] - Official Tom Leykis website - Blow Me Up Tom!
* [http://www.billoreilly.com The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly] - Official website of Bill O'Reilly, host of Westwood One's Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly
* [http://www.cbsradio.com CBS Radio] - Managing partner of Westwood One
* [http://www.cbsnews.com CBS News] - Official website of CBS News
* [http://www.larslarson.com The Lars Larson Show] Official website of Lars Larson who does a Northwest (Oregon/Southwest Washington) show and a nationally syndcated show via Westwood One
* [http://www.donandmikewebsite.com The Don & Mike Show] Official website of the Don & Mike Show
* [http://www.countrycountdownusa.com Country Countdown USA] Official website of Country Countdown USA, syndicated by Westwood One.


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