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It’s Clear, Three Local Sports Stations Are Too Many

John Lynch, president and chief executive officer of the Broadcast Company of the Americas, said last week that BCA has taken on a new partner and plans to grow by buying more radio stations.

He declined to name that partner, or say what stake it has in BCA, but said that the new partnership group is in the process of acquiring radio stations. Lynch’s family owns 50 percent of the company, which operates XX Sports Radio, and the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians also owns a percentage.

“Another partner was brought on in anticipation of acquisitions,” he said.

As to where and what the format of those stations would be, Lynch wouldn’t say.

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“We’re looking to grow our company, both locally and around the country,” he said. “That’s all I can say at this point.”

Lynch mentioned the new partner as an aside to comments he made about Clear Channel San Diego’s plans to switch KLSD-AM 1360 from a progressive talk station to one that features sports talk, called XTRA Sports 1360.

Lynch complained that Clear Channel, a virtual Goliath compared with his company, snagged two of XX’s on-air talents for its new sports talk station, Chris Ello and Josh Rosenberg.

XTRA and XX will be competing locally with ESPN Radio 800 and, Lynch said, there isn’t enough ad revenue or listeners to support three such local stations.

But Lynch said he is confident that XX will succeed and that the other two will fail, not only because it airs the San Diego Padres games, but also because his station has the strongest signal of the three.

“In sports talk radio, the station that has a lesser signal typically doesn’t do as well,” he said, adding that nationwide statistics support his claim.

Lynch would not disclose revenues for this article, but he said XX was in the black and he told the Business Journal in a story published shortly before the start of the Padres’ 2007 season that advertising sales were strong and projected sales this year would range between $15 million and $20 million.

KLSD has transmitting power of 5,000 watts in the daytime and 1,000 watts at night, while XX 1090 AM has 50,000 watts and simulcasts on its sister station 105.7 FM, which has 100,000 watts. ESPN has 1,000 watts.

“Because they’re such a large company, they can throw a lot of assets at it and try to take most of my staff, so I had to spend thousands on legal fees to put the remaining staff on contract,” Lynch said of Clear Channel Communications Inc., a diversified San Antonio-based company that operates 2,000 stations nationwide. Its net income from broadcasting, outdoor advertising and other sources for 2006 was $691.5 million.

Bob Bolinger, vice president and market manager for Clear Channel San Diego said, “We always do our best to compete fairly with the highest standards and good business ethics. We do not tamper with legal, existing contracts.”

Bolinger also said that Clear Channel submitted a construction permit in August 2005 to increase KLSD’s day and night transmission power to 50,000 watts, and he expects it to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission in less than a year. After that, tower construction could take up to a year.

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