Infinity Broadcasting Corporation

Last updated
Infinity Broadcasting Corporation
Industry Radio broadcasting, Outdoor advertising
Successor CBS Radio
Audacy
Founded1972;49 years ago (1972)
Founder Michael A. Wiener
Gerald Carrus
Defunct2005;16 years ago (2005)
FateReverted to CBS Radio
Headquarters,
USA
Area served
United States
Key people
Mel Karmazin
Owner Independent (1997–2000)
National Amusements (2000–2005)
Parent CBS Corporation (1997–2000)
"Original" Viacom (2000–2005)
Website infinityradio.com

Infinity Broadcasting Corporation was a radio company that existed from 1972 until 2005. It was founded by Michael A. Wiener and Gerald Carrus. It became associated with popular radio personalities like Howard Stern, Opie and Anthony, Don Imus and Mike Francesa. Infinity merged with CBS Corporation in 1997 and later became part of Viacom in 2000, when CBS and Viacom merged, serving as the radio division of CBS. After the Viacom split in 2005, Infinity changed its name to CBS Radio.

Contents

History

Formation and pre-merger

Infinity was founded in 1972 by two former Metromedia executives Michael A. Wiener and Gerald Carrus, with the acquisition of KOME, an FM radio station that served the San Francisco Bay Area, and finally received its license by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) a year later. [1] In 1979, Infinity acquired WBCN in Boston.

In 1981, Mel Karmazin was brought in as new president. Karmazin oversaw the operation of New York's WNEW-AM (now WBBR) and WNEW-FM for Metromedia. Soon after, the company acquired fellow New York stations WNEW-FM, WKTU (now WNYL; the present-day WKTU is owned by iHeartMedia), WZRC, and WFAN the following years, followed by WYSP-FM in Philadelphia. In 1983, Infinity absorbed KXYZ in Houston and WJMK and WJJD in Chicago.

Infinity became a publicly traded company in 1986. Within a year, it had purchased six more stations: KROQ-FM in Los Angeles, WJFK-FM in Washington, D.C., WQYK-AM/FM in Tampa, and KVIL-AM/FM in Dallas.

Karmazin and three other company executives took the company private in 1988 and took it public again in 1992. [2] In 1993, Infinity was expanded to 22 radio stations.[ how? ][ clarification needed ][ citation needed ]

Merger with CBS and Viacom

As a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which loosened ownership restrictions of broadcast stations, Infinity was able to quickly acquire more stations, gradually increasing its portfolio to 75 stations.

In 1996, it was announced that Westinghouse Electric Corporation (which owned CBS) would acquire Infinity Broadcasting. Karmazin had attempted to acquire CBS, but Michael Jordan, CEO of Westinghouse, refused to sell the firm to Karmazin but instead agreed to buy Infinity. The $4.9 billion deal was completed on December 31, 1996. [3] As a result of the Westinghouse purchase, Infinity was merged into the CBS Radio Group, with Karmazin as president. Karmazin soon became chairman and CEO of CBS Radio, and took the control of the CBS television network.

Shortly after, Westinghouse sold its non-broadcasting assets and renamed itself as CBS Corporation. In 1998, CBS decided to spin off a portion of its radio and outdoor advertising holdings as Infinity Broadcasting Corporation, once again bringing the Infinity name back to the public. The stock offering was the largest in the media industry at the time and raised $2.87 billion.

The most significant move during 1999, however, was the deal struck with Viacom in September. Sumner Redstone, CEO of Viacom, shot down Karmazin's offer to buy Viacom. Karmazin then offered CBS to Redstone, who eventually made a $37 billion proposal to merge the two companies. Viacom completed the CBS Corp. purchase in May 2000, and it retained 80% ownership of Infinity. At that same year, Infinity acquired Outdoor Systems and renamed it Infinity Outdoor.

Under the new ownership by Viacom, Infinity acquired 18 radio stations from its competitor, Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia), which needed to divest them as part of its own merger with AMFM Incorporated. The company also purchased Giraudy SA, an outdoor advertising company based in France. In 2002, Viacom acquired the remaining shares of Infinity that it did not already own, making it a wholly owned subsidiary. At that time, Infinity Outdoor was separated from Infinity Broadcasting and renamed Viacom Outdoor.

Departure of Mel Karmazin and Epilogue

Karmazin resigned on May 2004, due to many differences with Redstone. [4] Karmazin later said he didn't get along with Redstone and found it difficult to be "No. 2" at a company, but particularly under Redstone. The two executives continued to snipe at each other through the media even a year after Karmazin left Viacom. [5]

On December 14, 2005, Infinity Broadcasting reverted to CBS Radio, and joined with the CBS and UPN networks (the latter of which would later merge with former rival network The WB to form The CW), Paramount's television properties, Showtime Networks, Viacom Outdoor, Simon & Schuster, and Paramount Parks into a revived CBS Corporation. At that time, CBS Corp. spun off the "new" Viacom, which includes MTV Networks, BET, and Paramount Pictures, among other assets. CBS Radio was sold to Entercom on November 17, 2017. [6]

For a while the Infinity Radio name and logo were used for an online-only variety hits station on CBS Radio's streaming platform, InfinityRadio.com and Radio.com, presumably to prevent trademark dilution.

Related Research Articles

Viacom (2005–2019) former American global mass media company

The second incarnation of Viacom Inc. was an American multinational mass media conglomerate with interests primarily in film and television, which was formed as a spin-off of the first Viacom on December 31, 2005. It was one of two companies which succeeded the first Viacom, alongside second incarnation of CBS Corporation; both were owned by National Amusements, a theater company controlled by businessman Sumner Redstone. The spin-off was structured so that CBS Corporation would be the legal successor to the first Viacom, with the second Viacom being an entirely separated company.

Sumner Redstone American businessman and media magnate

Sumner Murray Redstone was an American billionaire businessman and media magnate. He was the majority owner and chairman of the National Amusements theater chain. Through National Amusements, Redstone, up until his death, was, and his family remain, majority voting shareholders of mass media conglomerate ViacomCBS, in turn, the parent company of the Paramount Pictures film studio, the CBS television network, and various cable networks. According to Forbes, as of April 2020, he was worth US$2.6 billion.

WNEW-FM is a hot adult contemporary formatted radio station, licensed to New York City and owned by Entercom. The station's studios are located at the combined Entercom facility in the Hudson Square neighborhood of Manhattan. Its transmitter is located at the Empire State Building.

National Amusements, Inc. is an American privately owned theater company and mass media holding company based in Norwood, Massachusetts, and incorporated in Maryland. It is the parent company of ViacomCBS.

CBS Radio was a radio broadcasting company and radio network operator owned by CBS Corporation and founded in 1928, with consolidated radio station groups owned by CBS and Westinghouse Broadcasting/Group W since the 1920s, and Infinity Broadcasting since the 1970s. The broadcasting company was sold to Entercom on November 17, 2017.

Metromedia

Metromedia was an American media company that owned radio and television stations in the United States from 1956 to 1986 and controlled Orion Pictures from 1988 to 1997. Metromedia was established in 1956 after the DuMont Television Network ceased operations and its owned-and-operated stations were spun off into a separate company. Metromedia sold its television stations to News Corporation in 1985, and spun off its radio stations into a separate company in 1986. Metromedia then acquired ownership stakes in various film studios, including controlling ownership in Orion. In 1997, Metromedia closed down and sold its media assets to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Westinghouse Broadcasting former broadcast company, merged with CBS

The Westinghouse Broadcasting Company, also known as Group W, was the broadcasting division of Westinghouse Electric Corporation. It owned several radio and television stations across the United States and distributed television shows for syndication.

Mel Karmazin

Melvin Alan "Mel" Karmazin is an American executive. He co-founded and was the president of Infinity Broadcasting and eventually became the president and CEO of CBS television. From 2004–2012, he was the CEO of Sirius Radio. In October 2012, Karmazin announced that he would be stepping down on February 1, 2013. Upon his departure, John C. Malone took over Karmazin's role at SiriusXM.

CBS Corporation former American mass media corporation

The second incarnation of CBS Corporation was an American multinational media conglomerate with interests primarily in commercial broadcasting, publishing, and television production which was formed as the legal successor to the first incarnation of Viacom on January 1, 2006. It was one of two companies which succeeded the first Viacom, alongside the second incarnation of Viacom; both were controlled by National Amusements, a theater company controlled by billionaire Sumner Redstone. The spin-off was structured so that CBS Corporation would be the legal successor to the first Viacom, with the second Viacom being an entirely separated company.

WXTU is a commercial FM radio station in Philadelphia. Owned by Beasley Broadcast Group, the station broadcasts a country music format. Its studios and offices are located at 1 Bala Plaza on East City Avenue in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, while its transmitter is located in the Roxborough section of the city.

WJFK is a radio station broadcasting a Spanish-language sports talk format. Licensed to the suburb of Morningside, Maryland with studios in Southeast DC in the Navy Yard neighborhood, it serves the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The station is currently owned by Entercom.

KXVV is a commercial radio station that is licensed to Victorville, California and serves the Victor Valley area. The station is owned by El Dorado Broadcasters and broadcasts a Regional Mexican format. KXVV's studios and transmitter are located in Victorville.

WDCH-FM Bloomberg Radio station in Bowie, Maryland, United States

WDCH-FM is a commercial FM radio station licensed to Bowie, Maryland, and serving the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. It is owned by Entercom and operated by Bloomberg L.P., broadcasting the Bloomberg Radio business news format. WDCH-FM often airs D.C. United soccer and Washington Wizards NBA basketball games whenever sports radio sister station WJFK-FM is carrying a different game. The studios and offices are near the Washington Navy Yard along the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington.

CBS Television Stations is a division of the CBS Entertainment Group unit of ViacomCBS that owns and operates a group of American television stations. As of January 2021, ViacomCBS owns 29 stations, broken down as follows: fifteen are the core stations of the CBS Television Network; eight are aligned with The CW Television Network, which is co-owned by ViacomCBS with WarnerMedia; one Start TV affiliate, and five independent stations, two of which carry the MyNetworkTV programming service in primetime.

WJZ-FM Radio station in Catonsville, Maryland

WJZ-FM is a commercial radio station licensed to Catonsville, Maryland, and serving the Baltimore metropolitan area. The station is owned by Entercom through licensee Entercom License, LLC, and it broadcasts a Sports radio format. Local shows are heard on weekdays, with programming from the CBS Sports Radio Network airing nights and weekends. Studios and offices are locatedin Towson.

WBZ-FM Sports radio station in Boston

WBZ-FM is a commercial sports radio station licensed to Boston, Massachusetts, serving Greater Boston and much of surrounding New England. Owned by the Beasley Broadcast Group, WBZ-FM is the Boston affiliate for Fox Sports Radio; the flagship station for: the New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, and New England Revolution radio networks; and the radio home of Fred Toettcher, Rich Shertenlieb, Scott Zolak, Mike Felger, Tony Massarotti, and Adam Jones. The WBZ-FM studios are located at the Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester, while the station transmitter resides in the Boston suburb of Newton. In addition to a standard analog transmission, WBZ-FM broadcasts over two HD Radio channels, and is available online.

Michael A. Wiener was an American business executive who was one of the two founders of the Infinity Broadcasting Corporation in 1972, ran the company as president and chairman, and became a philanthropist after selling the business and its 44 radio stations to Westinghouse Corporation in 1996 for $3.7 billion.

Viacom (1952–2006) American media conglomerate in operation 1952–2006

The first incarnation of Viacom Inc. was an American media conglomerate. It began as CBS Television Film Sales, the syndication division of the CBS television network in 1952; it was renamed CBS Films in 1958, renamed CBS Enterprises in 1968, renamed Viacom in 1970, and spun off into its own company in 1971. Viacom was a distributor of CBS television series throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and also distributed syndicated television programs.

ViacomCBS American mass media company

ViacomCBS Inc. is an American diversified multinational mass media conglomerate formed through the merger of the second incarnation of CBS Corporation and the second incarnation of Viacom on December 4, 2019, which were split from the first incarnation of Viacom in 2006. Headquartered at One Astor Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, the company operates over 170 networks and reaches approximately 700 million subscribers in approximately 180 countries, as of 2019.

References

  1. Barry, David, "Jim Hard: He Played a Part in How the West Was Won--By FM Radio," Business Journal-San Jose, April 2, 1990, p. 12.
  2. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/infinity-broadcasting-corporation-history/
  3. Kamen, Robin, "To Infinity and Beyond: Mel Takes on CBS," Crain's New York Business, November 24, 1997, p. 1.
  4. "Mel Karmazin, Champion For Howard Stern Resigns" by Corey Deitz at About.com
  5. "Sirius Fun: Mel Karmazin finds new media is a lot like what he used to love," an article by Devin Leonard in Fortune magazine, November 14, 2005
  6. "Entercom Sets Friday Morning Close For CBS Radio Merger". Insideradio.com. Retrieved 2017-11-17.