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The Business of Radio



by Jeff McKay & Tom Gordon


First it was Cumulus, and last week iHeart joined them as the two largest radio station owners in the nation to file for bankruptcy, and now for the 3rd time in three months another radio station owner has joined the bankruptcy ranks.  Steel City Media with stations in Pittsburgh & Kansas City cited “softness in our markets,” and will use the Chapter 11 filing to reorganize their debt.  Speaking of debt, news of the $21 billion iHeart debt and who is most exposed to it - The biggest is Franklin Resources which holds $2.19 billion, followed by Allianz ($1.53 billion), Black Rock ($938 million), and JPMorgan Chase ($801 million).   They may have debt, but a lot less worries – Entercom CEO David Field sent out a letter to staffers, saying , “We are highly-undervalued and receive far less than our fair share of total ad-spending.”  This week brings to a close the career of the greatest morning radio host in American history – the legendary Don Imus broadcasts his last four shows on his flagship WABC-AM (770), putting the final touches on a 50-years in morning drive.  He will be replaced starting April 2 by the Bernie & Sid Show, hosted by Imus regulars Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg.

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