- The Washington Times - Monday, December 6, 2004

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Clear Channel Communications Inc., the nation’s largest radio station operator, has selected Fox News Radio to provide national news for most of its news and talk stations in a deal expected to nearly double Fox’s radio presence.

No terms of the five-year cash deal were disclosed yesterday. But Fox, a unit of News Corp., says if all options in the agreement are exercised, its radio service could have more than 500 affiliates by the middle of next year.

Fox currently provides one-minute newscasts to 275 stations. Starting next year, it will provide more than 100 Clear Channel stations with a five-minute top-of-the-hour newscast, a nightly news broadcast, and around-the-clock dedicated national news coverage. Fox News will be in many of Clear Channel’s most prominent news/talk stations, including in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Atlanta and San Diego.

In return, Fox News Radio will have access to news produced by San Antonio-based Clear Channel’s news network. Fox also expects to hire more news anchors, studios and staff, but said it was too early to be more specific.

“This deal positions Fox News to become a significant player in the radio industry and is another example of our commitment to the medium,” said Roger Ailes, Fox News chairman and chief executive officer.

This is the first time the two corporations have worked together, said Jack Abernethy, an executive vice president for Fox.

“Working this closely with a premier national news provider for the majority of our news/talk stations makes overwhelming sense,” said John Hogan, chief executive officer of Clear Channel Radio. “Because of the breadth of this relationship, our local news directors will get a more customized and higher quality national news product — and that’s great for listeners.”

Clear Channel, which operates 1,200 stations, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment about the deal and how it will affect its current news providers.

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