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(Foundation of CBS)|
1997 (relaunched as Infinity Broadcasting)
2005 (relaunched as CBS Radio)
|Headquarters||New York, New York, U.S.|
CBS Radio, Inc., formerly known as Infinity Broadcasting Corporation, is one of the largest owners and operators of radio stations in the United States, third behind main rival Clear Channel Communications (which owns many of the stations that were previously owned by former CBS parent Viacom before 1997) and Cumulus Media. CBS Radio owns around 130 radio stations across the country. It is currently part of CBS Corporation, which also owns the CBS radio and television networks, and jointly owns the CW Television Network.
CBS Radio is one of the oldest units within CBS Corporation, and has been around since 1928. However, the actual CBS Radio Network (now CBS Radio News) was launched in 1927, when CBS itself was known as United Independent Broadcasters. Columbia Records later joined in and that company was renamed the Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System. In September 1927, Columbia Records sold the company to William S. Paley and in 1928, Paley streamlined the corporate name to Columbia Broadcasting System.
The company that would become CBS Radio was founded in 1972 as Infinity Broadcasting Corporation by Michael A. Wiener and Gerald Carrus, with the acquisition of KOME, an FM radio station that served the San Francisco Bay Area. It became a publicly traded company twice, in 1986, and again in 1992.
Westinghouse Electric Corporation, which acquired CBS, Inc. in 1995, acquired Infinity Broadcasting in 1997. Westinghouse, which established modern broadcasting on November 2, 1920, with KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, would later change its name to CBS Corporation, and reorganize all of its radio properties (including its own Group W stations), as well as its outdoor advertising business, under the Infinity Broadcasting Corporation name.
In 1999, CBS Corporation was merged into Viacom. On December 14, 2005, Viacom changed its name to CBS Corporation and spun off its motion picture and cable television assets under the Viacom name. In anticipation of this, Infinity Broadcasting was reorganized as CBS Radio.
Until late 2004, the stations were not allowed to stream their programs online. WCBS-AM was the first station able to stream their content over the internet, shortly followed by other news and talk stations. Company officials originally thought that there was no profit to be made from streaming.
In August 2006, CBS Radio announced the sale of its 15 radio stations in Cincinnati, Ohio; Memphis, Tennessee; Austin, Texas; and Rochester, New York to Entercom Communications. This group deal was granted FCC approval in mid-November 2007 after it faced regulatory review and numerous challenges for over a year, and officially closed on November 30. Several other stations, most in smaller markets, have also been sold to companies like Border Media Partners and Peak Media Corporation.
On April 30, 2008, CBS Radio and AOL entered a partnership (following the dissolution of partnership between AOL and XM Satellite Radio due to the change in Internet royalty rates). The AOL Radio player powered by CBS Radio features over 200 CBS Radio stations, along with over 200 AOL Radio stations, combining two of the largest online radio networks and giving millions of listeners unlimited and free access to a diverse array of music and programming including news, sports and talk. These stations have been folded into the AOL Radio application seen in the iTunes App Store for availability on the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad.
On July 31, 2008; CBS Radio has announced that it will sell 50 more radio stations in 12 mid-size markets to increase its focus on stations in large markets such as Greater Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago metropolitan area, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, Greater Philadelphia, and Detroit metropolitan area. It is reported that KMOX in St. Louis and KDKA in Pittsburgh are not included in the 50 radio station sale, however some companies like RBC Capital Markets said CBS Radio is a "melting icecube" and that CBS Corporation would be better off selling the entire radio unit rather than "waiting a couple of years and selling the rest for less."
On December 15, 2008, CBS Radio and Clear Channel Communications reached an agreement to swap seven stations. In this deal, Clear Channel acquired WQSR in Baltimore, Maryland, KBKS in Seattle, Washington, KLTH and KXJM in Portland, Oregon, and KQJK in Sacramento, California; and CBS Radio would get KHMX and KLOL in Houston, Texas. The swap was among the first examples of CBS Radio's strategy to divest its mid-sized market stations and focus on the larger markets. The deal closed on April 1, 2009.
On December 20, 2008, CBS Radio announced that it would sell the entire Denver cluster (this includes three radio stations) to Wilks Broadcasting for $19.5 Million. This is another example of CBS Radio's strategy to divest its mid-sized market stations and focus on the larger markets. The stations included in the sale are KIMN, KWLI, and KXKL.
On August 10, 2009, CBS Radio announced that it would sell the entire Portland cluster (this includes four radio stations) to Alpha Broadcasting for $40 Million. The stations included in the sale are KCMD, KINK, KUFO, and KUPL-FM.
On February 4, 2010, all CBS Radio stations, as well as AOL Radio and Yahoo! Music Radio have restricted all non U.S. listeners from streaming online content. CBS Radio redirects to sister property Last.fm.
2011 saw the biggest AC format removal of the company dropping AC for hot adult contemporary on Washington, D.C.'s WIAD in March, followed by New York City's WWFS on October 12 (both in the Eastern Time Zone). On August 1, WCFS-FM Chicago removed its AC format for all-news to simulcast WBBM-AM. By November 2011, WLTE in Minneapolis/St. Paul removed the AC format for Christmas music, only to transition to country music as KMNB on December 26.
As of October, 2011, AOL Radio is no longer a part of radio.com, having switched to Slacker Radio.
On April 9, 2012, CBS Radio announced that it was selling it's West Palm Beach cluster of stations to Palm Beach Broadcasting for $50 Million.
From 1985 to 2005, Infinity/CBS Radio was the home of controversial and top-rated talk show host Howard Stern, who left due to increasing FCC and station censorship. In January 2006, rock star David Lee Roth, Rover's Morning Glory, and talk show host Adam Carolla replaced Stern in most major radio markets, and CBS Radio launched its new "Free FM" hot talk format in many of these markets. Roth's show was cancelled four months later and CBS Radio announced that Opie and Anthony of XM Radio would replace Roth on the stations that carried him, despite the irony that the two were fired after the sex act controversy inside of St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York. Adam Carolla's show was also later canceled.
On February 28, 2006, CBS Radio announced it had filed a lawsuit against Stern, his agent Don Buchwald, and Sirius, arguing that Stern promoted Sirius "to enrich himself unfairly." It also claimed that Stern "repeatedly and willfully" breached his contract with CBS, "misappropriated millions of dollars worth [of airtime]" for his own benefit and "fraudulently concealed" his performance-related interests in Sirius stock. The suit, filed in New York State Court, sought compensatory and punitive damages. Stern anticipated the suit, and earlier that day, prior to CBS' announcement, held a press conference, discussing how CBS added to the media attention, even booking him for appearances on Late Show with David Letterman and 60 Minutes. "I made them millions of dollars," Stern argued. "If I was hurting them, why did they keep me on the air for fourteen months? How can you have it both ways?" When a settlement was announced on May 26, 2006, Sirius gained exclusive rights to Stern's back catalogue of radio broadcasts at WXRK from November 1985 to December 2005, totalling almost 23,000 hours. The rights, costing Sirius approximately $2 million, equates to approximately $87 per-hour of tape.
As of 2009[update], the Free FM branding has been discontinued in all markets, and no former Free FM station continues to have a hot talk format.
CBS Radio owns the majority of stations in the United States that broadcast the Jack FM format, a radio format that incorporates all types of popular music from the mid-50s to the present. These include stations in Los Angeles, Dallas, Seattle, Minneapolis and many other cities. New York and Houston had Jack FM stations, too; the New York City station, WCBS-FM has reverted to its traditional oldies format, and Jack (which had been renamed ToNY) was carried on its HD2 subchannel.
CBS Radio is the largest broadcaster of local Major League Baseball broadcasts. In 2005 and 2007 respectively, CBS dropped the St. Louis Cardinals from KMOX and the Pittsburgh Pirates from KDKA, ending two long relationships between the teams and their flagship stations. However, KMOX reacquired the Cardinals' broadcast rights in 2011, and KDKA's FM sister all-sports station acquired the Pirates' broadcast rights in 2012, in addition to New York Yankees games being renewed on WCBS-AM after the conclusion of the 2011 season, they would have the rights until the end of the 2013 season.
CBS's WFAN is the flagship station of the New York Yankees (they had broadcast the Mets until 2014) and WSCR is the flagship station of the Chicago White Sox. In Philadelphia, WPHT, a frequency that had been the longtime home of the Philadelphia Phillies before parting ways after the 2001 season, reacquired the team's broadcast rights in 2005. As of 2012 those games are now simulcast on sister station WIP-FM . KRLD-FM in Dallas was the flagship station for the Texas Rangers before the 2011 season.
CBS Radio operates nearly all of the all-news radio stations in the United States. The full list includes KCBS (AM) in San Francisco, KNX (AM) in Los Angeles, KRLD (AM) in Dallas, WBBM (AM) in Chicago, WWJ (AM) in Detroit, KYW (AM) in Philadelphia, WCBS (AM) and WINS (AM) in New York, WNEW-FM in Washington, D.C., and WBZ (AM) in Boston.
The CBS Altitude Group manages advertising sales for CBS Radio. It was founded in 2003 by Richard Lobel and David Goodman. 
CBS Altitude Group clients include: Allstate, American Express, American Family Insurance, AT&T, Bank of America, Bermuda, Coca-Cola, DIRECTV, Dodge Ram, FIAT, Fidelity, General Motors, Jeep, Lionsgate, McDonald’s, Merrill Lynch, Sears, Showtime, Sony, and Walgreens.
In 2011, CBS Altitude Group was awarded a W3 Silver Award by the International Academy of Visual Arts for their work with their "Meet the Bermudians" campaign.