Founded in 1997, the creation of Cumulus Media Inc. was a direct response to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 andits radical relaxation of media ownership rules. Cumulus CEO Lewis Dickey, Jr. quickly took advantage of the new rules (or lack thereof) to assemble a radio titan second only to the infamously ubiquitous media giant known as Clear Channel.
Thanks to the efforts of the Clinton administration and a majority of Congress, a company like Cumulus could quickly rise from nonexistence to near-domination, reaching listeners in 89 media markets in less than 20 years.
When Cumulus bought Susquehanna Radio for $1.2 billion in 2006, it did so with backing from heavyweights like Bain Capital Partners LLC and The Blackstone Group. The deal signaled Dickey’s status as a major, well-connected player in broadcast media and, by extension, in the media’s bread and butter: partisan politics.
Among its biggest hosts are Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage (who recently replaced Sean Hannity and Mark Levin — the very first winner of CPAC’s “Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment” award.
And now Cumulus is giving a non-experienced host a seat at the table, Congressman Mike Rogers. As CEO Lew Dickey said, “We are thrilled to have Chairman Rogers join our team. He has been instrumental in helping to shape many of the most important issues and events of our time and will play a significant role in our expanding content platform.”
It’s also a perfect platform for Congressman Rogers to spin tales of shadowy plots, sing the praises of the NSA and, if he is so inclined, to beat his own drum in anticipation of a possible presidential run. But that may just be Mike dreaming an impossible dream.