In fact, the media conglomerate didn't even consider any other area, says Rick Mack, senior vice president and general manager of WSTR and WQXI, which are owned by Lincoln Financial.
So, after more than 20 years in the One Capital City Plaza office tower, top 40 station Star 94 and sports talk station 790 The Zone are calling the Cobb County area home.
The popular stations have set up shop in the 210 building in the Interstate North Office Park, which also is home to The Weather
The space, which includes about 25,000 square feet on the first and sixth floors, once was leased by Cumulus Media Networks. Lincoln's lease will run for at least the next seven years.
The decision to move the fan favorite radio stations from Buckhead to Interstate Parkway came down to several factors, including more tenant-friendly lease rates and the overall environment the area boasts.
“The decision was driven by economics, opportunity and environment,” Mack says. “We didn’t consider any other areas. In addition to a lot of green space, we also have a gym in our building and free parking.”
Paul Baker, a principal with risk management and insurance firm Sterling Risk Advisors, whose offices are in Cobb, says that workforce issues like that are important factors in where a company moves. “We are looking at expansion issues as well, and what’s right for our employees is important. When you look at an issue like free parking, that’s a big thing. That’s important to the people you do business with. You don’t want to have them worrying about things like finding and paying for parking. With big companies today, it’s all about the people.”
And while Lincoln may not get that “hey-look-at-the-building-I’m-in” aura like you might in Buckhead, it’s all about the economies. “Rent is a big issue today,” says Baker, whose firm tracks issues such as commercial real estate and property insurance. “They (Lincoln) are moving into a good area — one that offers better taxes, easy access and a community that is committed to what’s right for its businesses. Cobb has tremendous business leaders who want to see their businesses get ahead. That’s speaks volumes.”
Mack says Lincoln is looking forward to connecting and building a lasting relationship with the Cobb community.
“We will continue our community involvement and continue to support events throughout the entire metro area, including Cobb County. We have some exciting things planned.”
Today’s radio business continues to be an interesting ride. Like most business sectors, the highly extremely competitive arena has seen much change over the past few years in the Atlanta market.
“Our business is driven by retail sales, so the industry felt the impact of the economic downturn,” Mack says. “Fortunately, things are improving, especially in important categories such as automotive, wireless and financial.”
Lincoln Financial Media bought Big League Broadcasting, the parent company of 790 The Zone, in 2010.
In 2006, Lincoln picked up Star 94, following its merger with Jefferson Pilot, which owned the station. Lincoln also is the home of the Atlanta Falcons Radio Network.