Westwood One Sells Metro Networks Division to Clear Channel; Will Remain ‘Business as Usual’

Metro Networks has a presence in most New York City TV and radio stations. Chances are the traffic reports you’re hearing or seeing are either done at Shadow/Metro studios in Rutherford, New Jersey or the stations pay a service to use their information. (Certain newscasts are also farmed out to Metro.) 

Now comes word that Clear Channel has purchased that portion of Westwood One.

Wendy Goldberg, Clear Channel EVP of Marketing and Communications tells FishbowlNY that for now, though, Metro employees will not be affected by the sale.

“It’s business as usual, “Goldberg says. “In the next few months, we will be assessing how the teams and product work together.”

Goldberg says part of that assessment also means deciding whether to remain in the New Jersey facilities.

“I couldn’t speak to what eventual plans are going to be and where everything will eventually be placed,” Goldberg says.

Various reports say Metro Networks is likely to be merged with Clear Channel’s Total Traffic Network.

“Going forward, Westwood One will focus strategically on expanding the company’s leadership position as the premium content provider of news, information, talk, music, and entertainment programming in network radio,” said Rod Sherwood, President of Westwood One. “The network radio marketplace is growing, and we are aggressively pursuing new opportunities in programming and distribution. Selling the Metro Traffic business, including Sigalert, allows us to focus on our network radio strengths.”

Metro Networks has approximately 1,500 affiliates across the U.S., while Total Traffic serves more than 100 metro areas worldwide.

Unknown at this time is whether Clear Channel also has designs on Westwood One’s Metro Source wire service. It provides hundreds of radio stations and websites reports with various types of stories including national and local, plus audio clips.

In 1998, Westwood One acquired Shadow Broadcast Services. A year later, Westwood One purchased New York City-based Metro Networks. The two traffic companies merged some time later, ultimately the entire fleet of reporters assembled under one roof in New Jersey.