Citadel Broadcasting

For the similarly named television broadcaster, see Citadel Communications.

Citadel Broadcasting Corporation is a Las Vegas, Nevada-based broadcast holding company. Investment house Forstmann Little & Company owns 27% of Citadel and is its largest shareholder.

Citadel owns 243 radio stations across the United States and is the third-largest radio station owner in the country.

Farid Suleman is the current chairman and CEO.


The company was founded in 1984 in Phoenix, AZ by Larry Wilson as Citadel Associates Limited Partnership. In 1990 it was renamed Citadel Associates Montana Limited Partnership for the purpose of owning and operating stations in Montana that were formerly owned by CALP. A year later, Citadel Broadcasting was officially incorporated and in 1992 it acquired all of the radio stations owned by its predecessors.

Within a decade, Citadel expanded to 26 states. Within that time period, it absorbed all Bloomington Broadcasting radio holdings and 11 stations from Dick Broadcasting Company and also acquired 3 radio stations from Slone Broadcasting, Inc. and Slone Radio, LLC.

In 2001, Larry Wilson sold Citadel to Forstmann Little for $2.1 billion. By that time, the company had grown to 205 stations in 42 markets.

Citadel Broadcasting launched an online service called Citadel Interactive in 2005, and a year later launched Right Now Radio. By July 2007, more than 180 of their stations were streaming online.

On February 6, 2006, Forstmann Little and The Walt Disney Company agreed to merge Citadel with Disney's ABC Radio. Shares representing 57% of Citadel were distributed to shareholders of The Walt Disney Company following the company's acquisition of 22 stations from ABC Radio. After the merger, Citadel's ownership structure was:

  • 57%: Shareholders in The Walt Disney Company
  • 27%: Forstmann Little
  • 16%: Former Citadel shareholders exclusive of Forstmann Little or shareholders in Disney

ABC owned and operated affiliates of Radio Disney and ESPN Radio were not included in the merger agreement, nor were the actual networks.

In order to comply with FCC ownership limitations, Citadel has sold off twelve of its radio stations. Ten of the stations' licenses have been transferred to a newly formed trust company, The Last Bastion Station Trust, LLC. The two-station Cortland, New York, cluster was sold off prior to the merger in a separate transaction; WIII was sold to Saga Communications and WKRT (now WYBY) has been given to the Bible Broadcasting Network for free as a tax deductible donation.

However as of June 19, 2008; Arbitron has expanded Oklahoma City's market definition allowing Citadel to own 5 FM stations in the said area. As the end result, KKWD was reabsorbed into Citadel's portfolio.

Not only does Citadel own ABC Radio, it also owns the Arkansas Radio Network and the Michigan Talk Network.

Becoming environmentally friendly

On April 16, 2008, Citadel Broadcasting became the first organization-wide radio company to join the Environmental Protection Agency's "Green Power Partnership Program" and committed $1 million (USD) in Educational Green public service announcements. In April 2008, ABC/Citadel's KGO-AM in San Francisco, California was installing equipment for broadcasing with solar power during the daytime hours.. The maximum rated output of the solar cells installed at the KGO transmitter site is a little over 7kW, which under ideal conditions is about 15% of the 50 kW of electricity radiated by the transmitter during daytime hours .

Company Troubles

Since October 2007, Citadel has suspended nighttime HD Radio broadcasts on 10 AM stations due to interference complaints. Those AM stations switched their nighttime broadcasts to C-QUAM AM Stereo until Citadel and Ibiquity fix the problems.

On March 1, 2008; the former Disney/ABC Radio stations in Citadel's portfolio has sustained severe financial problems and that same day, hundreds of personalities were dismissed.

On September 12, 2008; Citadel Broadcasting has received a notice from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE): warning them that they will be facing a delisting after the company shares fell below the continuing listing criteria in the past 30 days.

Employee Poaching Suit

Some time in early 2007, Citadel Broadcasting filed a lawsuit against Peak Broadcasting, claiming Peak raided its staff and secured company information. Peak operated in the Boise, ID market after purchasing six radio stations from Clear Channel Communications. Citadel also owns six stations in Boise. The suit claimed that one of the former Citadel employees stole a computer disk with critical information after asking the Citadel IT person to help him copy information, which Peak then used to compete against Citadel in Fresno, CA, as well. Peak has denied the allegations, however the two parties have now reached a confidential settlement, which included an undisclosed payment to Citadel, according to the Idaho Statesman.


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