BREAKING : Owner of eight Boston radio stations prepares to file for bankruptcy
Embattled IHeartMedia is circulating documents for a bankruptcy filing that could come as soon as this weekend for the biggest U.S. radio broadcaster and owners of eight Boston stations.
A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing is all but certain, with iHeart and creditors each swapping proposals in recent weeks for a consensual restructuring. But pressure is mounting on iHeart after it missed a February 1 interest payment, with a 30-day grace period about to run out. On top of that, the broadcaster on Thursday skipped payments on two more sets of bonds. If the company files without a pre-negotiated restructuring plan in place, the bankruptcy could turn into a free-fall, with prolonged, contentious tussling for years over about $20 billion of debt.
Billionaire media mogul John Malone's Liberty Media stepped in with a last-minute offer to senior creditors that would help salvage iHeart by injecting cash and financing a trip through bankruptcy, but the bid wasn't high enough to win over creditors. Still, talks remain fluid and ongoing between the secured creditor group and Liberty Media.
Liberty has already bought a substantial position in iHeart debt and sees potential synergies between iHeart and SiriusXM radio. IHeart runs the biggest land-based radio network with about 850 stations and Sirius has the largest satellite radio platform with nearly 32 million subscribers.
The company's stations in the Boston market are WXKS/Kiss 108, WJMN/Jamn 94-5, WZLX 100.7, WBWL/Bull 101.7, WKAF 97.7, WRKO 680, WBZ/NewsRadio 1030 and WXKS/Talk 1200. WKOX/Rumba 1430 is currently in trust awaiting a sale. (Ed. Note : Some local and regional media watchers reported that Iheart owns 10 stations in Boston which is incorrect and not legal.)
BRW Notebook :
Daze in the Life : On the eve of the 50th WBCN anniversary, its longtime morning host Charles Laquidara will hold a special event to preview his new multimedia memoir called "Daze In the Life". The event will take place at 8pm on Wednesday, March 14 at Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Full details and ticket info are available here. Boston radio icon, Laquidara, signed off his morning show at WZLX 100.7 in August 2000 and retired to Hawaii where he currently lives. WBCN ended its 41-year run in August 2009.
Mutual admiration society : In his recent sitdown with Boston Magazine, legendary Kiss 108 morning man Matt Siegel who turns 68 later this month mentioned that he had quietly renewed his contract. The extension now runs thru 2020. Siegel also happens to be a big fan of WGBH 89.7's midday duo Eagan and Braude who recently celebrated their 5-year anniversary at Boston Public Radio and were also recently featured in the same publication....And speaking of contract extensions, Entercom and WEEI's morning man Kirk Minihane haven't quite worked out a new deal(last one was signed in early 2014). Kirk and Callahan show was named country's top morning drive sports show of 2017 by trade publication Barrett Sports Media.
Schedule change : Starting Monday(3/5), WRKO 680 will begin airing Joe Pagliarulo's nationally syndicated The Joe Show from 10pm to 1am where it will replace syndicated Jim Bohannon's show. The Weekend Edition of the Joe Pags show will remain on the new Talk 1200.