Dateline: October 9, 1997

Nationwide To Leave Radio After Stern Shake-Up!

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company today announced that it intends to sell Nationwide Communications Inc. (NCI), its broadcasting unit that consists of 17 radio stations in eight markets throughout the country. Both companies, based in Columbus, are units of the Nationwide Insurance Enterprise.

As a first step, the company has retained Gary Stevens, a radio industry broker, to coordinate the sale of the unit, which belongs to the Enterprise's investment holdings.

``We are committed to a long-term strategy of focusing on our core businesses of insurance and financial services,'' said Dimon R. McFerson, chairman and chief executive officer of the Enterprise. ``Competitive pressures make it vital for organizations to place as many resources as possible into those core businesses if they are to remain successful."

``NCI has long been a profitable investment for Nationwide, and we are extremely proud of the contributions made by NCI employees,'' said Robert J.Woodward, Nationwide's chief investment officer. ``With the relaxation of ownership restrictions in recent years, there is a great deal of interest in profitable radio properties like ours. From an investment perspective, this is an excellent time to sell; from a business operations perspective, it is the right move for the Enterprise.''

NCI has followed a strategy during the past several years of acquiring radio stations in top-20 markets: Baltimore, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, and San Diego.

The NCI stations are known for strong performance in their markets through lively on-air shows and entertaining personalities, Woodward said, as well as for their community involvement and contributions to charitable causes.

NCI, originally known as People's Broadcasting Corporation, was founded in 1946 by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation to provide radio services tailored for the rural community. Control was turned over to the Farm Bureau's former insurance affiliate, Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (now Nationwide Mutual) in 1949.

The NCI stations are: WPOC-FM in Baltimore; WGAR-FM, WMJI-FM, and WMMS-FM in Cleveland; WCOL-FM, WFII-AM, and WNCI-FM in Columbus; KDMX-FM and KEGL-FM in Dallas; KHMX-FM and KTBZ-FM in Houston; KMJZ-FM and KSGS-AM in Minneapolis; KZZP-FM and KGLQ-FM in Phoenix; and KXGL-FM and KMCG-FM in San Diego.

The Nationwide Insurance Enterprise is a Fortune 500 organization with $77 billion in assets. Based in Columbus, it is one of the country's largest multi-line insurance and financial services organizations.

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