Citadel Broadcasting Corp., the third-largest radio broadcaster in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy over the weekend, the latest victim of the travails facing media companies.
Citadel, which owns and operates 224 stations across the country, listed assets of about $1.4 billion and more than $2.4 billion in debt.
The company, like many print and broadcast media outfits, faces stiff competition, shifts in consumer habits and a harsh advertising climate.
Overall advertising revenue for radio companies is expected to drop 19% this year, according to consulting firm BIA/Kelsey. But Citadel's failure could be an inflection point for the broadcasting business. Signs have emerged in recent weeks that advertising is coming back, and BIA/Kelsey expects radio ad revenue to inch up 1.5% next year.
Many radio companies have had trouble making money amid the shift toward Internet broadcasts but could be positioned for better results if they can find ways to harness that online growth. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704786204574608371640888490.html
Citadel, which is based in Las Vegas, also distributes news and talk radio programming to stations, including “The Mark Levin Show” and “The Huckabee Report.”
Citadel owns and operates 224 radio stations, including KABC-AM in Los Angeles, WLS-AM in Chicago, WABC-AM and WPLJ-FM in New York and KGO-AM in San Francisco. Citadel's WABC is home to several syndicated hosts, including Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh, Joe Scarborough and Mark Levin.
Citadel had reported a third-quarter loss of $21 million and a 14% drop in revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30. The company's stock was delisted earlier in the year and last month Citadel warned, in a regulatory filing, that it expected sales would continue to decline through the end of the year.
Citadel Broadcasting, the nation's third-largest radio broadcasting company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Sunday to restructure its $2.46 billion debt. The company owns and operates 224 radio stations, including KABC-AM in Los Angeles, WLS-AM in Chicago, WABC-AM and WPLJ-FM in New York and KGO-AM in San Francisco. WABC is home to several syndicated hosts, including Rush Limbaugh, Don Imus, Joe Scarborough and Mark Levin.
NEW YORK, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Three more media companies,
including broadcaster Citadel Broadcasting (CTDB.OB), have
filed for bankruptcy, brought low by the drop in advertising
revenue and crushing debt loads.
Citadel, the third-largest U.S. radio broadcaster filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Manhattan on Sunday, hurt
by $2.08 billion in debt and a decline in advertising by auto,
banking and restaurant companies.
Broadcaster NextMedia Group Inc [NXTING.UL] and newspaper
publisher Heartland Publications Inc [HLDPN.UL] followed
Citadel into bankruptcy court on Monday.
The latest filings come in a rough year for media in which
magazine publisher Reader's Digest Association Inc [RPPLER.UL],
broadcast company ION Media Networks Inc IIONQ.PK and
newspaper group Sun-Times Media Group also filed for
On Monday, ION said it had emerged from bankruptcy after
eliminating $2.7 billion in debt and preferred stock claims.
"Media is being hammered by the impact of the both the
economic downturn and the pressure posed by the Internet," said
D.J. (Jan) Baker, co-head of the bankruptcy practice at Latham
& Watkins. Baker has advised media companies on restructuring
but is not working on Citadel, NextMedia or Heartland.
"A lot of these companies took on significant debt loads
just at the time the profitability and revenue numbers for
media were at their peak."
Progressive Radio Hosts Say Air America Closing Won’t Affect Them........
— Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller — never worked at Air America, deciding on other routes to local stations. Reassuring listeners, Ms. Miller’s executive producer, Chris Lavoie, wrote on Twitter on Friday morning: “We’re NOT affected by the shutdown of Air America!” He suggested that it could actually benefit “The Stephanie Miller Show” because it could pick up some new stations and time slots.
Mr. Hartmann, identified by Talkers Magazine as the most important progressive host in the country, said in an interview Friday that Air America’s lasting contribution was the notion that “good talk radio can come from either side.” But he left Air America last year, due in part to his dissatisfaction with the network’s merry-go-round management. “We’ve been far more successful since we left,” Mr. Hartmann said in an interview Friday morning.
On Thursday and Friday, half a dozen former employees cited similar complaints, namely that the managers of Air America lacked the necessary broadcasting business expertise.
Air America “had been bleeding slowly for the last year, and they finally ran out of blood,” said Ron Hartenbaum, the manager for several progressive radio hosts, including Mr. Hartmann.
More broadly, Mr. Hartenbaum said the progressive radio business is “more stable and healthier than it has ever been.”
From the beginning, Air America faced tough headwinds in the troubled radio industry. “Because conservatives were so entrenched on heritage stations, the progressives on Air America were relegated to smaller, less powerful, under-performing signals that could not compete with their more established counterparts; certainly not without lots of promotion and time to develop, both of which were denied in most cases,” Alan Colmes of Fox News wrote on his Web site.
For those reasons and others, talent gravitated to other companies. In an essay for The Huffington Post, the talk show host Bill Press cited the liquidation of Air America and asked, “What difference will that make on progressive talk radio nationwide? Zero.”
Mr. Press asserted that “for the last few years, Air America has existed in name only.”
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When it comes to compelling talk show hosts, Dial Global brings nationally-known personalities right to your station - and keeps your listeners coming back for more.
[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (01-24-2010 12:42 AM).]