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move into radio’s top ranks

Local stations’ owner plans
move into radio’s top ranks

American Radio Systems and EZ Communications today announced a merger agreement that would create one of the top five radio broadcasting companies in the country.
ARS also is in the process of buying the Lincoln Group L.P., a move that would make ARS the owner of six of the top 10 stations in the Rochester market.
ARS already owns WCMF-FM, WCMF-AM and WRMM-FM. Lincoln owns WHAM-AM, WHTK-AM, WVOR-FM and WPXY-FM.
The sale is pending regulatory approval. It was made possible when Congress passed the telecommunications bill that allows one company to own as many as eight stations in a single market. Before, the limit was two AM and two FM stations.
Closing of the ARS-EZ deal is expected in early 1997 and is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.
The combined radio group would consist of 96 radio stations in 20 markets. On a pro forma basis for the transaction and all pending acquisitions, ARS’ 1996 revenues are estimated at $340 million, the company said.
“We have carefully assessed EZ’s markets and stations, and we believe they have stunning growth potential. We know ours do,” said Steve Dodge, chairman and CEO of ARS, in a prepared statement. “We believe American Radio Systems is as fine a platform for long-term value creation as exists in radio today.”
Among other properties, EZ owns two Philadelphia stations.
Under the agreement, EZ investors would receive 0.9 shares of ARS’ Class A common stock and $11.75 for each share of EZ stock. The transaction would involve issuing approximately 8.7 million ARS shares for EZ’s 9.6 million fully diluted shares outstanding.
With its proposed acquisitions, ARS would have a presence in markets ranked seventh to 62nd in the nation by revenue and would have stations in five of the U.S. Commerce Department’s top 10 projected growth markets.
ARS said that ownership of radio clusters in attractive markets “provides significant operating efficiencies and access to a larger, more diverse audience, thus creating a better range of products and services for advertisers.”
Top Rochester advertisers have expressed concern that the proposed ARS-Lincoln acquisition would hurt competition because the group will have more control over rates.

Local stations’ owner plans
move into radio’s top ranks

American Radio Systems and EZ Communications today announced a merger agreement that would create one of the top five radio broadcasting companies in the country.
ARS also is in the process of buying the Lincoln Group L.P., a move that would make ARS the owner of six of the top 10 stations in the Rochester market.

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