iHeart Firing Yet Hiring for Big Bucks

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  • What iHeart is up to with a reimagined hiring/firing scheme.
  • What we’re hearing about big salary hires.
  • Why this will change the way other radio groups think.
  • The new thinking about required years of experience and big pay.
  • Notable allegations of employee distrust.

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iHeart’s Compensation Inequity

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  • iHeart has not given out cost of living increases to most employees for over a decade, but there is one type of employee they are afraid to lose.
  • What is prompting their change in attitude about compensation.
  • How they set the table for other major radio groups to follow suit.
  • The safest job in radio.
  • 2 case studies: new found money.

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What If iHeart, Audacy & Cumulus All Fail

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  • Audacy is limping out of bankruptcy next month, Cumulus and iHeart face a second bankruptcy within the next few years and most of the remaining radio groups whose stock is trading under $1 are on track to be delisted.
  • Health check of radio’s top 3 groups.
  • Best and worst outcomes for all three.
  • What are the big groups thinking – what we’re hearing about their future options.

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Upset in Political Ad Spending

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  • New surprising projections are sending panicked group execs back to the drawing board.
  • How the radio industry’s political spending is a self-inflicted wound.
  • What to do, how to fix it and win back defectors in time for November.
  • Are radio ads that used to be the most affordable now too expensive?
  • How to save a political buy that is turning to digital and podcast.

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Audacy in the Blast Zone of Deregulation Bombshell

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  • How anyone unhappy with George Soros owning a large share of Audacy can now block it or fatally delay it by filing one piece of paper.
  • If the FCC fails to act in favor of the pending waiver Soros needs, then what?
  • How Audacy is quickly losing control of a critical timeline out of bankruptcy.
  • The prognosis of a fresh start promised by Audacy to advertisers and employees in light of recent developments.

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Audacy Bankruptcy in Danger

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  • The self-inflicted wound that Audacy is making that could have uncertain consequences.
  • The possible hitch that could develop with Soros Foundation’s deal to rescue Audacy.
  • Why debtors who have taken a financial hit may have second thoughts over the next six weeks.
  • The “Get Out of Jail FREE” card Audacy is banking on.

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The AM for Every Vehicle Fraud

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  • Uncovering the lies the NAB and politicians are spreading about AM.
  • The bullying tactics being used to force automakers to keep AM in cars that likely will backfire.
  • How auto manufacturers are playing with the NAB – their real radio plans revealed.
  • Tricks consolidators are using that hurt AM’s chances to remain as standard equipment in the dash.

Publishing note:  With July 4th in the middle of the week, most music and media execs are taking all or the majority of this week off – have a safe and happy Fourth and we’ll see you next week.

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Mysterious Audacy Bankruptcy Promotion

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  • Why a multi-year extension, huge pay raise and shiny new title to this particular programmer?
  • Did Soros Management Fund sign off on this since they don’t officially have a stake in the company.
  • The Audacy trend of promoting people who are not in danger of leaving.
  • The political capital David Field is gambling on 6-weeks before new investors get to make decisions.

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Radio Yard Sale

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  • The 7 radio owners most likely to sell stations in spite of what they say publicly.
  • 4 of the 7 are not currently on anyone’s list – but that may soon change.
  • The pros and cons outlined for cherry picking each of these groups.
  • Cumulus turned down almost $20 a share and now they’re worth a little more than a dollar – why they refuse to sell.

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Music Declares War on AI

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  • What about fake AI artists on radio – what are the repercussions.
  • The war you want to avoid between the record labels and growing number of AI bots that train their models on content without compensation.
  • Listen to all-AI radio stations and formats that are legal.
  • What’s next after anticipated years of litigation ahead.

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A Big Lie Could Upend Audacy’s Post-Bankruptcy

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  • David Field’s cheapness is arguably why the CBS merger failed – how it’s now threatening the outcome of their lifeline bankruptcy.
  • And the prospect of even more budget cuts than Soros had planned.
  • Documented evidence that Audacy lied about legitimate expenses.
  • Audacy’s chutzpah:  Seeking to get reimbursed for back lawyers’ fees and other expenses for negotiating in bad faith.
  • How resolving it could eat into the $50 million Audacy told the bankruptcy court that it needs for operations when it emerges.

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Audacy’s Fall Firings

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  • What to expect for day one of new ownership – August 18th
  • The new approach to cutting costs at Audacy.
  • The first job category to get trimmed and the last.
  • The closest thing to job security at Audacy (at least for now) is this position – no question.
  • The difference if Field stays or if he goes.

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Cox Layoffs, Really?

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  • Why does the same company that recently offered Paramount $26 billion have to suddenly fire radio staff making less than $100,000 a year.
  • Look who is breathing down their necks now and forcing their hand.
  • Does this cost cutting affect the status of that Cox-Audacy rollup?
  • With mounting debt, is selling even an option?

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Saga Slipping

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  • Why radio’s most expensive stock and only company with no debt is signaling trouble ahead.
  • What they are going to do about it.
  • How did the radio group with the highest stock price start declining.

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Digital Switch-Pitch Killing Spot Sales

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  • Why radio groups are training their sellers to sell digital even when advertisers only want spot – believe it or not, there’s an explanation for this.
  • A startling story of a happy radio advertiser who was spurned by a top radio group that would only talk about selling digital.
  • “It’s almost impossible to talk about radio advertising” – an actual case study that is representative of radio’s own move away from radio.
  • How the 3 biggest groups handle the radio/digital issue.

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The Big “Make-Me-An-Offer” Market for Sale

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  • The big city multi-market cluster for sale at “make-me-an-offer” prices.
  • How radio groups are finding buyers in a market where few exist.
  • The method they use for raising quick cash to avoid default.
  • So why hasn’t Cumulus been willing to sell standalone KABC-AM?
  • Stations with sports rights contracts appear off limits – here are the easier ones to sell.

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Car Radio’s Future

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  • The big changes that haven’t happened yet.
  • Putting a stop to pushing radio out of cars.
  • How automakers are reevaluating FM.
  • Why pressuring manufacturers is backfiring.

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Audacy Weaponizing Bankruptcy

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  • How they are becoming tax deadbeats.
  • Tactics being used to bully creditors.
  • A pathetic 9-minute audio clip that shows how low Audacy is willing to go to burn anyone in the way of their bankruptcy.

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How Tower Operators Fleeced Radio

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  • How they made out compared to radio groups
  • The group that blatantly refers to its tower deal on their balance sheet as “financial liability” – their words.
  • How the tower fire sale specifically affected iHeart, Audacy, Cumulus, Townsquare, Beasley and Cox.
  • The group most likely to go under first under the weight of a bad tower sale.

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Record Selloff of iHeart Stock

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  • What triggered the biggest one-day selloff of iHeart stock since it started trading on the Nasdaq.
  • How it affects a potentially interested buyer.
  • Why the market is suddenly souring on iHeart’s future.

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Audacy Refusing to Pay Millions in Back Taxes

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  • How this revelation might affect FCC’s approval to emerge from bankruptcy.
  • What Audacy is claiming about their longtime suburban Philly headquarters.
  • The effect on their balance sheet if they are ordered to pay up.
  • Repercussions if this claim is allowed to play out in Pennsylvania courts.

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New Date to Watch for Audacy

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  • The trouble that’s brewing while Audacy waits for FCC approval of their bankruptcy plan.
  • What could go wrong.
  • If the bankruptcy isn’t approved by this date, all bets are off.
  • The stumbling block to what usually is a fast process to exit bankruptcy.

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Old Folks Radio

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  • The first music radio FM format built today specifically for older audiences.
  • And it’s number 5 in the latest Nielsen’s (6+).
  • How they make it economically viable.
  • Here’s how to buy another 10-20 years of longevity even in the digital age.

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How Cumulus Blew $100 Million

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  • Yes, they walked away from a return on investment that would have been worth the current total value of Cumulus – here’s how.
  • The internal fighting that tried to stop the CEO and board chair from walking away from a huge pay day.
  • Why they fought so hard to unload a money machine.
  • And how their stock price would be double what it is today if not for this one crucial mistake.

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Underlying Soros Fears

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  • The real reason Soros Foundation controlling Audacy worries almost everyone.
  • Their big plans to roll up several radio groups – should competitors be worried?
  • The prospect of Soros hiring a heavyweight radio executive to take over from David Field.
  • Is the Soros strategy a build-and-run or stay-and-play?

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See you after Memorial Day –  And, as always, thanks for your support!

EMF CEO Out – Why?

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  • Is it a signal that EMF is done buying commercial stations on the cheap?
  • Financial troubles?
  • The profitability of EMF stations in attracting donations.
  • What this means for commercial broadcasters who only have EMF as a potential buyer.

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The Vanishing Market Manager

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  • Why market managers are increasingly being fired and eliminated while survivors are being forced to do what they know is wrong.
  • Coming soon: private equity radio owner’s “better idea”.
  • Outrageous duties now being forced upon market managers hampering their ability to maximize revenue.
  • How this management shortfall is starting to trickle down to sales managers.
  • An honest generic want ad for today’s market manager that is hard to argue with.

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Lew Dickey vs. Mary Berner

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  • How Mary Berner ousted Lew Dickey to drive Cumulus into bankruptcy.
  • The person to blame for putting Berner in as CEO where she has presided over a 70% decline in earnings.
  • Future battles: a suitor looking to buy stock while it is so cheap.
  • A potential hostile takeover.
  • Where Soros comes in to Cumulus’ future.

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Slumping iHeart Radio Revenue

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  • Sales shortcuts revealed.
  • Advertisers pinpoint the radio sales problem stations are ignoring.
  • Their biggest complaint unthinkable even a few years ago (and it’s not rate).
  • This is the radio group that had it right and their bottom line reflected it.

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Why Can’t Anyone Make Money in Radio

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  • The self-inflicted wounds that go deeper than constant layoffs.
  • 7 things that – if fixed – would guarantee revenue growth, no question.
  • How the pressure to generate digital over on-air sales is tracking.
  • The radio groups that cannot be fixed.
  • What to do with digital and podcasting.

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When Beasley Will File for Bankruptcy

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  • Take out your calculator, based on the Cumulus and Audacy bankruptcies that proceeded Beasley, here’s what could extend their lifeline or abruptly throw them into bankruptcy sooner.
  • The efficacy of a potential reverse stock split that they are considering,
  • The one telltale move to watch for – when Beasley does this, no question they’re going down.
  • How long before Beasley initiates another round of deep layoffs like last week.
  • Why they are firing programming and content people above others.
  • My calculation of “B” date (so far, we’ve called 3 radio bankruptcies scarily on target).

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SiriusXM Hits the Wall

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  • The mostly ad-free subscription model is in freefall -- their urgent attempts to win them back.
  • There is no replacement for Howard Stern as they allude to – what’s ahead without Stern looks different than the company is saying.
  • Fewer paid subscriptions and more advertising – the chances of that happening.
  • Why their digital bet on Pandora has still not paid off.
  • How they plan to stem the radio subscription losses with an unproven product.

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The Cumulus Compensation Ploy

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  • May 2nd Cumulus had their annual shareholders meeting and they were not talking about what their angry investors did.
  • They approved one thing – their account firm.
  • When asked to re-elect their board of directors, a surprising and resounding outcome.
  • The company is still laying employees off and shrinking operations so when they asked shareholders to show a financial vote of confidence in them, an even greater surprise.
  • What’s really going on here – a questionable debt exchange deal, a second bankruptcy and a growing rift between investors and their top management.

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What a Soros-owned Audacy Means

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  • Is influence or investment driving the Soros purchase of Audacy?
  • Where Cumulus stands in all of this – yes, Cumulus.
  • It isn’t just bankrupt companies Soros is after: The prime radio group they are eyeing as part of a three-group rollup.
  • What has conservatives worried about the Soros deal beyond political clout.
  • A person and a company to watch under the radar in this rollup.

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Shareholder Rebuke of Cumulus

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  • Cumulus has upped their offer and delivered the needed support to do a debt exchange that buys them more time, but there is a big downside.
  • Shareholders are in ill humor as they recently rebuked the company, its CEO and c-suite executives – here’s what Cumulus had to admit to the government.
  • Cumulus gets a few more years, debt holders get a higher payout but it’s their next move that matters most.
  • The best outcome that can be expected from this lopsided debt exchange.
  • How both equity and debt investors are likely to get screwed by Cumulus.

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Religion as the New Hit Radio

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  • Why EMF’s successful model is being overlooked by commercial stations.
  • Salem’s increasingly irrelevant religious programming.
  • How to borrow from the EMF model.
  • And 3 innovative ways to monetize it (not currently being done on a non-com).
  • How to be EMF but with on-air revenue.

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The NPR Crisis

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  • NPR’s undeniable problem that is bigger than wokeness allegations.
  • Can podcasting save public broadcasting even as it failed commercial stations.
  • How young audiences look at NPR today.
  • Uri Berliner’s How We Lost America’s Trust – are these NPR’s problems?
  • How public radio will be directly affected by commercial audio.

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Radio Ad Demand Is Shrinking

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  • How the major radio groups are privately dealing with declining advertising.
  • What market managers are doing to save the day (and their jobs).
  • The non-radio solutions being teed up by radio groups.
  • What some radio groups have turned to quarter by quarter to offset ad revenue declines with artificial cash infusions.
  • Typical market manager response to shrinking ad demand.

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Apollo Cox Troubles

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  • How the hedge fund that bought Cox Media is preparing for the worst-case scenario.
  • The issue of merit raises and bonuses.
  • Why CMG employees are growing nervous.
  • One failed radio group sale a few months back, now these whispers.
  • Evidence that Apollo may be rethinking their media strategy.

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The Audacy Cutbacks Yet to Come

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  • The current 2% layoffs are only the tip of the iceberg – what about the remaining 98%.
  • Who will be targeted and who is safe (at least for the near future).
  • Some are worried about left-leaning politics when Soros takes over but that’s not their most radical idea.
  • Is digital and podcasting immune from the brunt of these layoffs?
  • The sweetest cost saving to Audacy bean counters (the job you don’t want to be in).

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Cumulus Expense Cuts Coming

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  • What cuts Cumulus had to promise to re-fi their debt.
  • What about selling existing assets?
  • The Cumulus employees most directly caught in the crosshairs of this deal.
  • How it affects executive pay.
  • The unusual timeframe of these promised cutbacks.

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Beasley Tees Up Pre-Bankruptcy

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  • The dreaded first move they just made.
  • What’s at stake when Beasley files.
  • How to interpret the expected denials.
  • Why Beasley is using the Audacy playbook that failed to turn their stock price around.
  • Bankruptcy countdown – how long and when.

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The Risky Cumulus Re-fi

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  • They’re trying to renegotiate a debt agreement they can’t afford, but why and why now?
  • The eye-popping concessions Cumulus is willing to make.
  • Why market managers and employees should be concerned.
  • Does this re-fi deal avoid bankruptcy?
  • Could it still blow.

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Will the Soros/Cumulus Rollup Succeed?

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  • The over/under on radio’s most adventurous potential merger.
  • The earliest this rollup could happen.
  • Why is Cumulus so important to Audacy?
  • The political consequences of the left owning an iHeart-sized radio rollup.
  • Even if everything goes smoothly, there’s this almost immovable roadblock.

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The Meaning of Vinyl Outselling CDs

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  • Physical sales keep growing but there is a hidden problem about streaming music that labels are about to address.
  • 3 strategic ideas music radio stations can employ to get in on the trend.
  • How young consumers are in the midst of changing the way they enjoy music (again).
  • The user-generated tools that will soon become available to allow music fans to control the speed of the music they hear and these other factors.
  • TikTok and Instagram Reels have forced a new approach that will make sure labels get paid.

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Alfred is Looking After Alfred (Not Urban One)

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  • How the wheels are coming off at Urban One while the CEO is raking it in.
  • Inside a new compensation agreement filed just before their stock was put on notice for delisting from Nasdaq.
  • The enviable clause that guarantees Al Liggins what other Urban One employees can’t get.
  • Whispers as to why they didn’t file their required federal 10-K form (again).
  • What to expect as the top exec secures his financial future even before the company’s financials are known.

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Details in the Audacy/Cumulus Rollup

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  • The little-mentioned “radio guy” flying under the radar in this deal.
  • What Soros buys after they rollup Audacy and Cumulus.
  • Why Cumulus will force Soros to revert to a hostile takeover.
  • Is this a political play by Democrat Soros?
  • What happens to the forced spinoffs?

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The P1 Podcast Model of the Future

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  • The one podcasting strategy that draws listeners to radio not away from it.
  • How to get around the attention span problem.
  • And attract younger audiences whose attention spans are even shorter than typical radio listeners.
  • How important is video to podcasts.

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Tough Times Ahead for iHeart

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  • The financial indicator setting off alarms.
  • The prospect of fixing it soon.
  • There is a buyer – is iHeart ready to consummate a deal.
  • Whispers about some moves they will make.
  • Structural declining alarms in the financial community.

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Nielsen’s Ties to Boeing

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  • The connection between the mess at Boeing and Nielsen’s troubles.
  • How the same management tactics by the same man delivered the same results.
  • What to watch as financially pressed radio companies are taking another look at rating services.
  • The case for selling radio without ratings.
  • Radio groups likely to dump Nielsen next.

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Why a 3rd Cumulus Debt Extension

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  • What’s behind extending a debt repayment plan that lenders don’t want.
  • The backroom strategy to win over lenders who are consistently turning down 3% more interest for a 3-year repayment delay.
  • What happens if they fail to reorganize $346 million in debt.
  • If successful, where will the savings be invested?
  • The unspoken reason pushing back this debt is so critical to Cumulus.

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The Missed Lesson of TikTok

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  • How most everyone has the fight over TikTok all wrong.
  • There’s something even hotter than TikTok.
  • The real enemy is not the U.S. Congress or the Saudis – it’s this.
  • Radio, yes radio, has a lesson for popular music apps.
  • Don’t forget the Steve Jobs Rule.

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Radio’s Mid-Market Management Purge

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  • It’s starting to happen, which radio groups will run on fewer market managers.
  • Safe spaces to work – but even some of them may cave.
  • In-market vs. out of market management – which do better.
  • Why the war against market managers when corporate is so willing to overpay others.

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Cumulus Testing a “Prepack” Bankruptcy

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  • How their twice rejected upgraded bond offer turned out to be this necessary.
  • Why bondholders would actually like their present deal as insurance against what they see as an inevitable second bankruptcy.
  • What happens if Cumulus refinanced their debt now.
  • Options for selling assets to avoid bankruptcy.
  • Lew Dickey’s last laugh.

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How EMF Is Cleaning Up

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  • Non-profit EMF’s financial revenue revealed.
  • How much they pay their CEO to run 1,000 signals.
  • The system they use to dictate their buying price.
  • 97% of their revenue comes from donations – how much they spend on fundraising.
  • EMF is doing the same thing private equity did after consolidation – with one exception.

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Brutal iHeart Firings

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  • Whispers that a major shakeup of top executives is coming.
  • How iHeart’s current spring cleaning of staff is different.
  • How iHeart reportedly tried to play an on-air talent with a raise on the back of firing his air partner – and it blew up.
  • What to expect as iHeart, Audacy and Cumulus are changing their layoff policy.
  • Case study: slimy, hurtful iHeart firing details.

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Suddenly Cumulus Is in Play

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  • A second bankruptcy has always been on the table, but here is a scenario that Cumulus management is waiting for.
  • A sale? Why Cumulus is vehemently opposed to that.
  • The current chances for another bankruptcy.
  • How Berner is posturing for the best deal to sell the company.
  • What’s in it for her if she does.

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The Grooming of Audacy

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  • First hints as to what Audacy’s new principal owner Soros plans to do.
  • The coming Audacy rollup.
  • Cost cutting 2.0.
  • The outlook for the CBS stations cut to the bone during the merger.
  • If you have a contract with Audacy, you may want to see this.

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Salem’s Quick Cash Strategy

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  • How is Salem not already in bankruptcy.
  • Their humiliating station giveaways to of all competitors EMF.
  • EMF’s unique pricing formula that forced Salem to say “uncle” and sell.
  • Who is the next EMF, a ready and willing buyer of radio stations.
  • The new tactic Salem and others are using to buy time.

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The Viability of Radio Bankruptcies

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  • The percentage of bankruptcies that succeed (vs. fail or file a second time).
  • The bankruptcy problem no one says out loud.
  • Proven indicators of whether a radio bankruptcy will work.
  • Retaining the management that caused the bankruptcy – right move or wrong?
  • What we’re hearing about the radio groups closest to filing Chapter 11 next.

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Radio’s Zombie Companies

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  • All but 2 radio groups have become zombie companies unable to pay their loans and grow at the same time.
  • What it means at the station level.
  • What Audacy (soon to emerge from bankruptcy) is now calling “accelerated performance”.
  • Where’s all the promised digital revenue – it’s booming everywhere but radio, but why?
  • How zombie companies will change the radio industry over the next 18 months.

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting Audacy’s New Board

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  • How soon will Audacy’s new lenders-turned owners oust David Field.
  • The Soros play to takeover Audacy – their intentions revealed.
  • The old board gets dismissed -- this is what replaces them.
  • What we’re watching – things to worry about like a hostile takeover.
  • They’re short on cash already, the incredible place where they are looking.

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Cumulus Default Jitters

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  • Two things converging on Cumulus putting it in danger.
  • Why the extension for a debt buyback.
  • Bankruptcy 2.0 talk.
  • Market managers dish on the company’s strange behavior lately.
  • How Wall Street is reading the mixed signals.

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AI to Decide iHeart Playlists

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  • Results of testing to see if AI has a better ear for hits.
  • Where this leaves iHeart PDs.
  • Is AI safe enough to replace human music and program directors?
  • Best practices for radio if you’re looking for higher ratings.

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Radio’s Untapped Political Spend

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  • New research you can adopt to increase radio’s political ad revenue spend.
  • How radio helps political challengers even more than incumbents – the metrics you can use to up their spend.
  • Update: digital vs. radio vs. local TV (the most effective).
  • Help in using radio to target minorities this fall.

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The Sale of Cumulus

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  • Despite the denials, how Cumulus will get sold.
  • Whose knocking on the door and why they’re not answering.
  • The exit plan – here’s the number it will sell for.
  • Case study of another radio group sale that Cumulus may follow.
  • The Cumulus exec accused of “corporate malfeasance” – and it’s not who you think it is.

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‘Skrinkstation’

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  • Under-the-radar plans to shrink the three largest troubled radio groups.
  • The two most radical on-air savings in the works.
  • And two most notable off-air savings being targeted.
  • Say hello to the new daypart known as “Death Valley” – details.
  • The one line even a desperate radio group still will not cross – yet.

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Cumulus Slipping Away

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  • Why activist vultures are increasingly circling Cumulus.
  • The debt Cumulus never talks about publicly.
  • 3 years of expense cuts.
  • The latest “Hail Mary” to lock in current management.
  • Devolving into an executive compensation scheme – details.

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Hostile Radio Group Takeovers

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  • The activist investors pestering Cumulus.
  • The investor who has put Cumulus on notice that they intend to acquire more stock and take an active role in the company’s management.
  • What Soros is up to buying cheap Audacy debt that even Audacy doesn’t realize.
  • How a hostile radio takeover will work.
  • Why the sudden interest in radio even as revenue continues to trend down.
  • A different kind of consolidation coming.

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Audacy Under Soros

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  • Soros’ anticipated influence on Audacy programming.
  • The other groups Soros would like to roll up with Audacy.
  • The first thing to change when Audacy emerges from bankruptcy with Soros as main owner.
  • The born-again David Field – here’s some evidence of the new man.
  • Why Mary Berner is worried about the Soros-Audacy connection.

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iHeart’s Overly Emphasized Earnings

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  • How they plan to target Audacy and Cumulus for future growth.
  • How they are going to handle their $5.2 billion debt albatross.
  • That second baked-in bankruptcy.
  • In or out on programmatic buying?
  • What’s behind their claim of podcasting growth.

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Cumulus Sharpens Axe

Read the full article now    

  • Behind the scenes at local Cumulus stations fearing a potential takeover.
  • What corporate is telling its managers.
  • How Mary Berner is under pressure from inside and outside the company.
  • Market managers give this grim warning to corporate.
  • What started the recent investor activist warning that they intend to be involved in the company.

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Cox Media Group Came Within Days of Being Sold

Read the full article now    

  • What blew the major sale up at the last minute.
  • Is Apollo still actively trying to offload its Cox radio acquisitions?
  • The surprising bidder who came this close to owning Cox radio.
  • The money people involved in the failed Cox station sale.
  • How bankrupt Audacy was involved in scuttling the Cox radio selloff.

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Cumulus Fears Takeover Bid

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  • Their “poison pill” cannot stop activist bidders – here’s how they can work around it.
  • The activist bidders who might be thinking takeover.
  • What happened that made Mary Berner hit the “poison pill” panic button.
  • Why a company from Singapore that owns consumer products and no media wants Cumulus so badly.
  • The biggest activist investors apparent intentions regarding Cumulus management.

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Beasley Is Next

Read the full article now    

  • How far down the road to bankruptcy is Beasley.
  • Will digital revenue come to the rescue – it’s growing but there is a problem.
  • When a Beasley bankruptcy is likely.
  • Beasley radio markets most at risk.

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The Hole in the Market for Radio

Read the full article now    

  • Young demos say what it will take to make them pause Spotify and try radio again in my latest NYU predictive survey.
  • No one is doing this – here’s the formula.
  • Streamers can’t or won’t answer this need.
  • The future of the CHR format.
  • Two examples: A radio personality and a programmer who has done it in the past.

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No Rush to Pay iHeart’s Debt

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  • The main reason cash is being horded.
  • What iHeart is doing with $101.4 million from their BMI windfall.
  • Pay raises for some with that money?
  • An eye-popping fact about the current number of iHeart employees.
  • Big investors are buying into iHeart, why now?

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What Soros Wants by Buying Audacy’s Debt

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  • The Soros strategy for its Audacy investment.
  • Is this a political play by the left-leaning billionaire?
  • How it will affect programming and operations.
  • Who has the power now – first-tier lenders-turned owners or the Soros group?
  • The end game for a $400 million investment in a bankrupt radio group.

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Young Demos and Podcasting

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  • Young demos prefer these podcasts – the ones content providers hate.
  • Emerging info on the different way young people actually listen to podcasts.
  • The most frequented “podcasting” app for the young.
  • Politics is out, what’s clearly preferred may even shock you – no, it will.
  • Is podcasting a business to younger demos.

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SiriusXM Is Retreating from Cars

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  • SiriusXM’s new “free radio” strategy.
  • What they see in podcasting when others are bailing out.
  • Will younger demos pay for the new digital version of SiriusXM – some early anecdotal evidence.
  • Where their spending spree on podcasting talent leaves Howard Stern.
  • To what extent will terrestrial radio benefit from satellite radio’s retreat from the car.

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Investors Turn Negative on Cumulus

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  • Why financial experts are suddenly concerned about the viability of Cumulus.
  • The real problem areas identified.
  • What about selling standalone KABC and others?
  • Westwood One as the canary in the coal mine.

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Investor Trying to Block Audacy Bankruptcy

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  • His petition to the bankruptcy court asking them to blow up the Audacy prepackaged reorganization.
  • How much this investor got burned for.
  • The specific remedies he is asking the bankruptcy court in Texas to invoke.
  • His strategy to stop the steal that mostly benefits Audacy lenders not shareholders.
  • How much trouble is this for Audacy.

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Podcasting Panic

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  • Why Spotify won’t quit Joe Rogan.
  • What SiriusXM knows as it spends hundreds of millions to bolster podcasting.
  • How podcasting panic will affect iHeart, Cumulus and Audacy.
  • Projected effect on radio ad revenue.
  • What’s on the horizon to create new cash flow if podcasting has peaked.

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Audacy Bankruptcy Hurdles

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  • Bondholders accepted pennies on the dollar to enable this bankruptcy agreement – what often happens by the time they get to court.
  • Who will the new lenders-turned owners choose to be on their board – and lead it?
  • Hints from as recently as last week give an idea of how they will proceed in running the company once the pre-pack is approved.
  • The debt issue remains: how will it be divvyed up between take-back paper and restated debt.
  • Will the new Audacy be a rebuild or a fire sale – recent clues tell which way it’s going to lean.

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Private Equity Still Investing in Radio

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  • Why the rush to buy into radio groups that are failing.
  • Even bankrupt groups.
  • The case of a lender injecting over $50 million in a bankrupt radio group.
  • A sampler of little-known private equity investors who have been actively buying radio stocks.
  • What do they know that everyone else is missing about radio’s future.

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Universal’s Yanking TikTok a Radio Warning

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  • What’s the chance that record labels could pull a TikTok on radio by withholding music?
  • Clues from how Universal shut down TikTok and suddenly without warning yanked their music.
  • How aggressive will the labels get?
  • Radio’s lobby group knows all this – why are they willing to risk trouble by resisting performance fees.

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A Must Have Audacy Format is in Trouble

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  • One of their 4 music and revenue staples is showing signs of audience erosion.
  • What this means for a company that’s in bankruptcy and needs every dollar to emerge.
  • The long list of declining stations.
  • They know they have trouble – here’s how their tinkering.
  • The impact on revenue projections if the ratings drop continues.

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The Unspoken Threat of Christian Music Formats

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  • Do commercial radio companies now have something else to worry about as Christian music stations are amassing larger audiences.
  • EMF bought all those distressed radio stations for pennies on the dollar, now look at their plan to compete with commercial broadcasters.
  • Jesus takes the dial but commercial broadcasters answer to a higher power.
  • The real threats of EMF Christian music formats to their competitors.
  • The way to beat non-coms at their own game.

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Non-Radio Buyers for Audacy?

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  • Interest in buying Audacy out of bankruptcy reportedly amps up.
  • One anxious buyer has done business with David Field.
  • A foreign investor reportedly pursuing it under the radar.
  • What it would take for lenders-turned new owners to flip Audacy.
  • Why the sudden burst of interest in buying other distressed radio groups – we name a few companies.

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Why iHeart Is Consolidating Sales

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  • You know those big ad buys iHeart likes to do to keep money away from competitors, look how this affects that.
  • Sales consolidation’s impact on local radio stations.
  • If you’re an iHeart competitor, this is what their new sales consolidation means to you.
  • What happened to their programmatic buying push – you’ll be glad you asked.

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Changes Expected Under Audacy’s New Owners

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  • First things first – the things the new owners burned in bankruptcy are champing at the bit to carry out.
  • During year one some unexpected changes (remembering that these new owners never ran even one radio station).
  • Down the line some expected and unexpected moves that they gave themselves the power to do in the bankruptcy pre-packaged agreement.
  • Reading the new owner’s digital intentions.
  • What I’m hearing about a company reportedly looking at buying all or part of Audacy.

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The Next 3 Bankruptcies

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  • The identity of the next 3 radio groups to file for bankruptcy.
  • Apollo is the largest private equity owner of radio and their investments are in trouble – why?
  • How private equity sees the future of radio ownership from their perspective.
  • A litmus test for whether now is the best time to buy a highly-discounted radio station.
  • What happens when iHeart, Cumulus and even Audacy file second bankruptcies which are being predicted.

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The Audacy Retention Bonuses

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  • This is what motivated Audacy to shell out $1.3 million in retention bonuses to people going absolutely nowhere.
  • But here’s the company’s claw back clause which is rarely noticed.
  • Why Audacy is increasingly skittish about the pre-packaged bankruptcy going through.
  • What could happen next if it doesn’t – and yes, these types of deals tend to blow at the last minute.
  • Audacy’s zero tolerance policy on bankruptcy talk.

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The Dissolution of Cox Media Group

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  • What is making private equity owner Apollo jittery about its $1 plus billion Cox Media Group investment.
  • Their plans for the Cox radio stations that have yet to be sold.
  • What a mishap this big means to Apollo’s bottom line.
  • The exit strategy detailed.
  • If you’re interested in cherry picking CMG while it’s down, one piece of advice.

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Competing Against Bankrupt Operators

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  • Three weaknesses to exploit against iHeart, Cumulus and soon, Audacy.
  • Something is developing with the available radio audience – this pins it down.
  • Nielsen ratings doesn’t just underreport young listeners – how they force radio to make avoidable programming mistakes because of it.
  • Is repetition still important to grow radio ratings in a digital world of endless discovery?
  • The new low range demographic for today’s radio listener.

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Audacy’s Confidential New Startup

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  • I was given the opportunity to view the post-bankruptcy plan Audacy is selling to the bankruptcy court – sample some of their most audacious promises.
  • One promise: a startup that will make $20 million – details.
  • What they are telling a judge about their ability to grow radio spot and network revenue by 2027.
  • After underachieving podcasting for years, here’s their projected performance.
  • The chance this harmless Chapter 11 filing will be converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation.

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Shutting Down Unprofitable Stations

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  • How iHeart, Cumulus and Townsquare are increasingly pulling the plug as a reality of doing business.
  • Why don’t they just sell them for whatever they can get?
  • Could Audacy’s new owners be hot to shut down some stations costing them too much money to bother?
  • The reason AM stations are targeted the most, but these kinds of FMs aren’t safe.
  • The two reasons that forced owners’ hands.
  • These markets are off limits – period.

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Audacy’s New CEO

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  • What’s the status of Dan Mason returning as a board member to choose the new CEO – still interested?
  • A possible sleeper candidate not to be dismissed.
  • Is it a done deal with David Field getting kicked to the board?
  • Here’s how to tell whether the lenders-turned owners are serious about fixing Audacy or gutting the company.

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The New Audacy

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  • The Turnaround Plan revealed -- what Audacy is promising the bankruptcy courts in their words – I wish I could see your reaction through your phone when you read it.
  • Are they really considering letting David Field get another bite of the apple?
  • And let’s get down to it – what will happen to COO Susan Larkin and digital chief J.D. Crowley after February or March when the reorganization takes effect.
  • The new lenders-turned owners’ position on layoffs and cost cuts.

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Audacy Fails to Dump Enough Debt

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  • As incredible as it may seem -- why the drop from $1.9 billion to $350 million in debt will still not be enough.
  • Audacy’s big mistake in their bankruptcy filing that poses a problem even when they emerge.
  • Why their newly converted equity will continue to decline in value risking another default on the reinstated debt.
  • The impact of programmatic buying when interest on their $350 million loan needs to be repaid.
  • Red flag for the 3 radio groups that will be filing for bankruptcy next – don’t make these mistakes that Cumulus, iHeart and now Audacy made to avoid being a “zombie” company.

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Audacy Asset Sales Coming Next

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  • Bye, bye 1010 WINS and a group of other stations – the new owner’s aggressive sales plan.
  • But not FM stations, right?
  • The first indication that they plan to do a Cumulus-type WPLJ selloff of properties – and most importantly, the timetable.
  • What’s not for sale – that’s a good question, but there is a good answer.
  • What happens to podcasting and digital beyond what the outgoing Field regime is publicly saying.
  • A new CEO is coming -- look at what scorched lenders actually got Field to insert in the pre-pack agreement to guarantee it.
  • How the first-tier lenders rammed language down David Field’s throat to make him sing for his supper.
  • This is a real bankruptcy despite the fact that it is agreed to – Audacy already needs a $57 million loan to hold it over just until the court and FCC approve the bankruptcy – details.

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Bankruptcy Details Audacy Is Still Hiding

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  • David Field, his father, Weezie Kramer and Joel Hollander are on the board of the sunsetting company – what the lenders-turned owners are going to do that will totally shake up Audacy.
  • What happens to Audacy stock worth 20 cents before Sunday’s bankruptcy filing.
  • Why are they “judge shopping” – Audacy filed for bankruptcy in Texas (they’re headquartered in Philly).
  • Field is talking “business as usual” as if he’s going to remain as CEO – what he’s not saying (at least publicly).
  • If this bankruptcy gets approved it wipes out almost all of Audacy’s debt -- will that be enough?
  • Audacy is talking like a pre-packaged bankruptcy is a slam-dunk – what could go wrong.

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The Return of Dan Mason to Audacy?

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  • Is Dan even interested? I asked him.
  • What position makes the most sense for the person who once cleaned up after Joel Hollander previously at CBS Radio.
  • What about Hollander (current Audacy Lead Independent Director), is he out with the new owners or does he get a second chance.
  • And a third executive who may take a run at David Field’s job as CEO.
  • The lenders become the new owners within weeks – usually (as per the Cumulus bankruptcy) they replace the board and start selling off assets – will the new Audacy follow that plan.
  • Attention Audacy: Here’s what Mason would likely do to turn the company around.

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New Owners for Audacy – What We Know

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  • The Audacy bankruptcy is a done deal – a preview.
  • The lenders get the company but does CEO David Field get to keep his job after that hot mess – details.
  • How the new company will somehow emerge with half its debt gone – why couldn’t Field do this?
  • The final decision on laying off more people under new ownership.
  • Survivors will get this take it or leave it offer.
  • The good news is that the implosion of Entercom/CBS/Audacy finally ends in the very near future – the bad news is …

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Has Radio Reached Peak Digital?

WHERE’S ALL THAT DIGITAL REVENUE?

  • What financially-strapped radio groups know about the digital revenue stream. 
  • Is it digital dimes or digital dollars? – how the big radio CEOs are playing it.
  • Look out market managers – radio groups are looking at the Cumulus model.

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The Leash Gets Shorter for Salem

THOUGHT THE RELIGIOUS FORMAT WAS BULLETPROOF …

  • How Salem blew a good thing, cratered stock to 76 cents and forced bankruptcy planning
  • A recent and embarrassing humiliation from competitor EMF
  • A tightening on finances by jittery lenders

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The Incompetent Radio CEO

HOW DO THEY KEEP THEIR JOBS …

  • How they’re getting away with the destruction of radio 
  • Next year’s 3 lifeline moves to watch for as almost every radio group dodges bankruptcy
  • Dramatic proof where radio is still a booming business
  • The 2 radio groups next up for bankruptcy as soon as 12 months as their CEOs scheme to stay in place

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Losing Confidence in iHeart

WHY IS iHEART SO UNUSUALLY QUIET … 

  • What’s going on inside iHeart as they burn cash and stock price plummets 72%
  • iHeart in 2024 – the writing soon to be on the wall
  • What’s next – prepare for what’s likely to shake up the company

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Why 30 More Days

THE PALACE INTRIGUE …

  • A delay of the inevitable for this important reason.
  • What’s really stalling the Audacy bankruptcy.
  • Read how it ends -- 30 days ahead of time.

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Audacy’s High-Stakes Showdown

INSIDE …

  • Who forced the 30-day bankruptcy extension
  • The reason Audacy is slow rolling its debt payments 
  • The contentious issues the sides are focusing on now 
  • Chances of an out-of-court settlement
  • It will all come down to 1 of these 3 outcomes in early December

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Pay Raises for Failing Radio CEOs

INSIDE …

  • The secret maneuvers to reward radio CEOs even as they are mandating cost reductions and employee RIFs.
  • Audacy CEO’s retention bonus – where was he going to go?
  • The reason Susan Larkin and J.D. Crowley stepped in it as part of an Audacy plot.
  • Outrage over a Cumulus board motion recently passed.
  • A c-suite heist as radio groups go into bankruptcy.

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Cumulus Q3 Brings 2nd Bankruptcy into Focus

INSIDE …

  • Now there is a time frame for the second Cumulus bankruptcy (it’s notable that we’ve called them all so far).
  • Revenue way off so where’s the money coming from until then?
  • A big decision on programming.
  • A new wrinkle in the desperate sale of assets.
  • The sudden cash burn.

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How Much Time Does Audacy Have

Watch David Field pull off Audacy’s bankruptcy.

Today, what we’re hearing on …

  • That 30-day extension of a loan interest payment.
  • The chance of a last-minute out of court reorganization with lenders.
  • Pinpointing Audacy’s bankruptcy based on iHeart and Cumulus that went before them.
  • A mini-bankruptcy?

The answers start here 

Click to read: Podcasting’s Reverse Effect on Radio Revenue …  Concern Over iHeart’s EarningsCumulus Q3 Revenue RevealThe 2 Never-Mentioned Radio BankruptciesChanges in Musical Listening HabitsGreg Ashlock’s iHeart DemotionBeasley Faces Stock DelistingiHeart Investors Sensing Something Troubling …. Modernizing RadioWhat Audacy Bankruptcy Means for EmployeesCalculating Audacy’s Bankruptcy DateHorizontal Radio MonopoliesRelaxation of Ownership Rules is Back On

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Podcasting’s Reverse Effect on Radio Revenue

Spotify embraced podcasting and learned its lesson the hard way but will radio?

Today …

  • A gambit that is costing radio serious revenue at the wrong time.
  • The unintended podcast problem with attention spans.
  • An assessment of how podcasting fits in to radio’s future.
  • A cheaper, more viable alternative.
  • First digital, then podcasting – the next big thing.

The answers start here 

Click to read: Concern Over iHeart’s EarningsCumulus Q3 Revenue RevealThe 2 Never-Mentioned Radio BankruptciesChanges in Musical Listening HabitsGreg Ashlock’s iHeart DemotionBeasley Faces Stock DelistingiHeart Investors Sensing Something Troubling …. Modernizing RadioWhat Audacy Bankruptcy Means for EmployeesCalculating Audacy’s Bankruptcy DateHorizontal Radio MonopoliesRelaxation of Ownership Rules is Back OnPotential Buyer Awaits Audacy Bankruptcy

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Concern Over iHeart’s Earnings

It’s not just another bad quarter, it’s worse …

Today, I’m getting into why iHeart has been so quiet lately.

  • The numbers that portend the future are scary, forecasts for next year concerning.
  • Their stock price: down 71% and no one is talking.
  • Concerns about how iHeart is being restructured.
  • The effects of non-seller programmatic buying.
  • A problem bigger than their whopping $6 billion in debt that another bankruptcy cannot cure.

The answers start here 

Click to read: Cumulus Q3 Revenue RevealThe 2 Never-Mentioned Radio BankruptciesChanges in Musical Listening HabitsGreg Ashlock’s iHeart DemotionBeasley Faces Stock DelistingiHeart Investors Sensing Something Troubling …. Modernizing RadioWhat Audacy Bankruptcy Means for EmployeesCalculating Audacy’s Bankruptcy DateHorizontal Radio MonopoliesRelaxation of Ownership Rules is Back OnPotential Buyer Awaits Audacy BankruptcyNew SiriusXM

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Cumulus Q3 Revenue Reveal

Weeks before their first bankruptcy, Cumulus denied it, now things are heading south so quickly there are real concerns …

Today, I’m getting into …

  • What they are trying to hide in the hopes it will be ignored.
  • The meaning of their stock price decline.
  • Why market managers are being pressed to sell digital at the expense of radio
  • What investors fear even more than a second bankruptcy.
  • The growing consensus their future is in doubt.

The answers start here 

Click to read: The 2 Never-Mentioned Radio BankruptciesChanges in Musical Listening HabitsGreg Ashlock’s iHeart DemotionBeasley Faces Stock DelistingiHeart Investors Sensing Something Troubling …. Modernizing RadioWhat Audacy Bankruptcy Means for EmployeesCalculating Audacy’s Bankruptcy DateHorizontal Radio MonopoliesRelaxation of Ownership Rules is Back OnPotential Buyer Awaits Audacy BankruptcyNew SiriusXMWhat’s Stalling the Audacy Reorganization

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The 2 Never-Mentioned Radio Bankruptcies

Just say it – iHeart and Cumulus still choking on debt are getting ready to go again, but this time will be very different.

Today, I’m laying out how bankruptcy the second time around will look …

  • How another bankruptcy filing became a necessity.
  • The major mistake Cumulus made in their first bankruptcy that they are paying for now.
  • Notice how iHeart is eerily quiet these days – what that’s all about.
  • The cost of kicking the debt down the road just got more expensive.
  • Why investors are giving up on radio stocks.
  • More concerning than missing revenue or sinking stock prices.

The answers start here 

Click to read: Changes in Musical Listening HabitsGreg Ashlock’s iHeart DemotionBeasley Faces Stock DelistingiHeart Investors Sensing Something Troubling …. Modernizing RadioWhat Audacy Bankruptcy Means for EmployeesCalculating Audacy’s Bankruptcy DateHorizontal Radio MonopoliesRelaxation of Ownership Rules is Back OnPotential Buyer Awaits Audacy BankruptcyNew SiriusXMWhat’s Stalling the Audacy ReorganizationIs Radio Ready for a Comeback?

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Changes in Musical Listening Habits

I watch the music business closely and I was taken aback at how preferences are changing.

Today … I’m offloading it to you.

  • How music is being utilized by younger consumers that could be vital to radio as it addresses its shortcomings.
  • This shocked me – genres growing in popularity that most radio stations never heard of.
  • The verdict on customizable streaming radio.
  • Ambient music – a real genre or fraud.
  • NYU Music class poll: the last song or artist you discovered on radio.
  • Quick: Playlists or radio?  More new artists or listening to the big ones longer? More genres or less?  Singles over albums?

The answers start here 

Click to read: Greg Ashlock’s iHeart DemotionBeasley Faces Stock DelistingiHeart Investors Sensing Something Troubling …. Modernizing RadioWhat Audacy Bankruptcy Means for EmployeesCalculating Audacy’s Bankruptcy DateHorizontal Radio MonopoliesRelaxation of Ownership Rules is Back OnPotential Buyer Awaits Audacy BankruptcyNew SiriusXMWhat’s Stalling the Audacy ReorganizationIs Radio Ready for a Comeback?Younger Demos Want These Radio Changes

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Greg Ashlock’s iHeart Demotion

How does iHeart kick an able radio exec out for a part-time replacement?

Today, what the demotion of iHeart multi-platform exec Greg Ashlock really means…

  • A “promotion” that feels like a “demotion” – but why?
  • The ultimate salary cut or something more.
  • The forces that brought their radio chief down after years of promotions.
  • A permanent replacement in the wings?
  • A wakeup call for iHeart managers.

The answers start here 

Click to read: Beasley Faces Stock DelistingiHeart Investors Sensing Something Troubling …. Modernizing RadioWhat Audacy Bankruptcy Means for EmployeesCalculating Audacy’s Bankruptcy DateHorizontal Radio MonopoliesRelaxation of Ownership Rules is Back OnPotential Buyer Awaits Audacy BankruptcyNew SiriusXMWhat’s Stalling the Audacy ReorganizationIs Radio Ready for a Comeback?Younger Demos Want These Radio ChangesSurge Pricing for Radio

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Beasley Faces Stock Delisting

Another one is getting ready to bite the dust – but this one doesn’t have the size or clout of the bigger consolidators to claw back …

Today, I’m getting into …

  • Can they be the one radio group to survive a delisting death sentence?
  • Does that mean bankruptcy is now baked in?
  • An assessment of what’s gone wrong at Beasley.
  • Their dominance over iHeart and Audacy in Boston and Philly.
  • How easy it is to avoid a NASDAQ delisting but why everyone is so worried.
  • Beasley’s ticking time bomb.

The answers start here 

Click to read: iHeart Investors Sensing Something Troubling …. Modernizing RadioWhat Audacy Bankruptcy Means for EmployeesCalculating Audacy’s Bankruptcy DateHorizontal Radio MonopoliesRelaxation of Ownership Rules is Back OnPotential Buyer Awaits Audacy BankruptcyNew SiriusXMWhat’s Stalling the Audacy ReorganizationIs Radio Ready for a Comeback?Younger Demos Want These Radio ChangesSurge Pricing for RadioStupid On-Air AI Tricks

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iHeart Investors Sensing Something Troubling

iHeart is awfully quiet these days – no more sideshows and promises of future business growth and even investors are worried …

Today  … what they’re worried about.

  • Yes, debt is a problem but here’s a bigger, more immediate problem causing concern.
  • Troubling metrics that keep investors awake at night.
  • How iHeart can produce positive revenue for the next three years that’s still not enough.
  • Unsettled issues surrounding iHeart on ownership, stock price, employees.
  • The thing that is worse than filing bankruptcy again – and it likely will happen.

The answers start here 

Click to read: Modernizing RadioWhat Audacy Bankruptcy Means for EmployeesCalculating Audacy’s Bankruptcy DateHorizontal Radio MonopoliesRelaxation of Ownership Rules is Back OnPotential Buyer Awaits Audacy BankruptcyNew SiriusXMWhat’s Stalling the Audacy ReorganizationIs Radio Ready for a Comeback?Younger Demos Want These Radio ChangesSurge Pricing for RadioStupid On-Air AI TricksHow Nielsen is Killing Audience Gains

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Modernizing Radio

Radio can do more than reselling digital and creating low margin websites for clients, it can tap into a trend that is actually working now in linear media.

Important info you won’t want to miss …

  • The mistake of chasing low profit digital dollars
  • An alternative that builds audience and easily pumps up revenue
  • Two growth areas that have worked for old fashioned media
  • One where the jury is still out – you may want to watch and wait
  • New opportunities for content creators

The answers start here 

Click to read: What Audacy Bankruptcy Means for EmployeesCalculating Audacy’s Bankruptcy DateHorizontal Radio MonopoliesRelaxation of Ownership Rules is Back OnPotential Buyer Awaits Audacy BankruptcyNew SiriusXMWhat’s Stalling the Audacy ReorganizationIs Radio Ready for a Comeback?Younger Demos Want These Radio ChangesSurge Pricing for RadioStupid On-Air AI TricksHow Nielsen is Killing Audience GainsiHeart Fast-tracking AI at Stations

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What Audacy’s Bankruptcy Means for Employees

What about the employees – enough about Field and his favorites, what does their impending bankruptcy do to the people who work in radio …

Bankruptcies destabilize companies – some never recover, the ones that do never look the same.

I get into the effect of the Audacy bankruptcy on its people …

  • What to expect when you’re expecting an Audacy bankruptcy
  • What about the legacy Entercom employees vs. CBS
  • Susan Larkin – stays or goes?
  • Post-bankruptcy raises and layoffs
  • Two scenarios – one if current management is allowed to remain in place, the other with a new CEO.
  • Behind the scenes Cumulus employees say what it’s like to work in a post-bankruptcy company

The answers start here 

Click to read: Calculating Audacy’s Bankruptcy DateHorizontal Radio MonopoliesRelaxation of Ownership Rules is Back OnPotential Buyer Awaits Audacy BankruptcyNew SiriusXMWhat’s Stalling the Audacy ReorganizationIs Radio Ready for a Comeback?Younger Demos Want These Radio ChangesSurge Pricing for RadioStupid On-Air AI TricksHow Nielsen is Killing Audience Gains

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Calculating Audacy’s Bankruptcy Date

At long last, it’s now possible to get a pretty good line on when Audacy will file for bankruptcy …

They’re just about screaming out loud “we are filing for bankruptcy” after years of denying it and lately warning of not being a “going concern”.

Important info you won’t want to miss …

  • How to calculate Audacy’s filing date accurately
  • The CEO’s current thinking about throwing himself on the mercy of the bankruptcy court.
  • These revealing behind-the-scenes indicators
  • The meaning behind their skipped $18 million interest payment
  • If you own their stock
  • What happens to COO Susan Larkin post-bankruptcy

The answers start here 

Click to read: Horizontal Radio MonopoliesRelaxation of Ownership Rules is Back OnPotential Buyer Awaits Audacy BankruptcyNew SiriusXMWhat’s Stalling the Audacy ReorganizationIs Radio Ready for a Comeback?Younger Demos Want These Radio ChangesSurge Pricing for RadioStupid On-Air AI TricksHow Nielsen is Killing Audience GainsiHeart Fast-tracking AI at Stations

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Horizontal Radio Monopolies

Just when I thought relaxation of ownership rules was finally off the table due to the FCC and iHeart’s reluctance, horizontal radio monopolies emerge that could shake the entire industry up …

Today, I’m going to get into it an escape plan that can help failed owners get back to making money or get out – or both.

You’ll read a few thoughts on …

  • A way for debt laden owners to consolidate horizontally and grow vertically.
  • Why even iHeart would like to get in on it (remember, they were against helping competitors own more stations).
  • Money would be no problem.
  • Chances this version gets past the FCC’s previous objections.
  • See a frightening hypothetical that can actually happen for real.

The answers start here

Click to read: Relaxation of Ownership Rules is Back OnAudacy on the ClockPotential Buyer Awaits Audacy BankruptcyNew SiriusXMWhat’s Stalling the Audacy ReorganizationIs Radio Ready for a Comeback?Younger Demos Want These Radio ChangesSurge Pricing for RadioStupid On-Air AI TricksHow Nielsen is Killing Audience GainsiHeart Fast-tracking AI at Stations

You may also like: Blocking TikTok’s Knockout Punch to RadioThe Stakes in Audacy Bankruptcy TalksClass of ‘27’s Changing Views on RadioiHeart is Coming After Your Spot RevenueA Radio Station That Got Music Discovery RightThe Meaning of the “White Noise” Podcast BoomMusic Radio’s Secret Weapon Against StreamersHow Consolidators Plan to Change Ad SalesThe End of the Market ManagerBottom Feeder Buying Cumulus, Audacy Debt …

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Hear Jerry on Michael Harrison’s podcast discussing today’s youth culture and its potential application in both the radio and music businesses looking to appeal to younger demos – Listen here

Relaxation of Ownership Rules Is Back On

But why is the NAB pushing more consolidation when so many consolidators are going bankrupt?  Suing the FCC, angering their biggest group members …

Today, I’m going to spell out the irony and desperation that actually thinks more debt is worth fighting for and the dangers that come with it.

You’ll read a few thoughts on …

  • Who benefits most if ownership limits are relaxed.
  • And who gets hurt the most because there are groups that would be in harm’s way.
  • The story behind iHeart’s rethinking of consolidation.
  • What would expanding stations mean to Cumulus and Audacy both struggling to stay above water.
  • We’ll go down the list: Urban One, Salem, Beasley and the mid-range groups, how does expansion help them.
  • And the disaster that could hit Saga, yes Saga if they were allowed to expand in their current markets or add new ones.
  • One more thing we’ll get into – what about Townsquare, they have the best financials doing “digital first”, do they get into radio deeper?

The answers start here

Click to read: Audacy on the ClockPotential Buyer Awaits Audacy BankruptcyNew SiriusXMWhat’s Stalling the Audacy ReorganizationIs Radio Ready for a Comeback?Younger Demos Want These Radio ChangesSurge Pricing for RadioStupid On-Air AI TricksHow Nielsen is Killing Audience GainsiHeart Fast-tracking AI at StationsBlocking TikTok’s Knockout Punch to Radio

You may also like: The Stakes in Audacy Bankruptcy TalksClass of ‘27’s Changing Views on RadioiHeart is Coming After Your Spot RevenueA Radio Station That Got Music Discovery RightThe Meaning of the “White Noise” Podcast BoomMusic Radio’s Secret Weapon Against StreamersHow Consolidators Plan to Change Ad SalesThe End of the Market ManagerBottom Feeder Buying Cumulus, Audacy Debt …  The Audacy Reorganization Talks

Report newstips or suggest a story here.

Talk to Jerry privately here.

Hear Jerry on Michael Harrison’s podcast discussing today’s youth culture and its potential application in both the radio and music businesses looking to appeal to younger demos – Listen here

Audacy on the Clock

Don’t buy the hype -- Audacy didn’t just skip an $18 million interest payment to facilitate restructuring their debt, there’s a better reason … 

What’s going on here?  You can’t believe Audacy but there is now clear evidence of what they are up to with this move.

You’ll read thoughts on …

  • Does skipping payments presage the end or the beginning?
  • If you want to know exactly when this either gets resolved once and for all or hits the bankruptcy courts, it’s now all as clear as can be.
  • Remember how I’ve stressed that Audacy hired the same bankruptcy advisors that Cumulus used before filing – based on that, here’s what will happen.
  • We will get into the exact date of a bankruptcy or pre-packaged deal and tell you which one it will be – and you can take that to the bank.

The answers start here 

Click to read: Potential Buyer Awaits Audacy BankruptcyNew SiriusXMWhat’s Stalling the Audacy ReorganizationIs Radio Ready for a Comeback?Younger Demos Want These Radio ChangesSurge Pricing for RadioStupid On-Air AI TricksHow Nielsen is Killing Audience GainsiHeart Fast-tracking AI at StationsBlocking TikTok’s Knockout Punch to RadioThe Stakes in Audacy Bankruptcy Talks

You may also like: Class of ‘27’s Changing Views on RadioiHeart is Coming After Your Spot RevenueA Radio Station That Got Music Discovery RightThe Meaning of the “White Noise” Podcast BoomMusic Radio’s Secret Weapon Against StreamersHow Consolidators Plan to Change Ad SalesThe End of the Market ManagerBottom Feeder Buying Cumulus, Audacy Debt …  The Audacy Reorganization TalksShockers Ahead from iHeart, Audacy

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Potential Buyer Awaits Audacy Bankruptcy

Yes, the CBS merger assets are so attractive that at “clearance prices” a welcomed Audacy shakeup could happen …

This is about the behind-the-scenes negotiations to save Audacy or at the very least clear out the current administration and start over.

You’ll read thoughts on …

  • The thing Audacy has on its side that could get lenders off their backs and let them continue to run the company.
  • The potential buyer who is waiting with investment capital to be part of the solution – we’ll name him.
  • The scenario in which David Field is retained by Audacy, paid more money BUT a new CEO is brought in– a possibility lenders have on their side.
  • Which page from the Cumulus bankruptcy playbook is Audacy focusing on.
  • Let’s be honest here from what those familiar with the situation know – how unhappy are Audacy lenders, wanting new-blood angry or second-chance angry.

The answers start here 

Click to read: New SiriusXMWhat’s Stalling the Audacy ReorganizationIs Radio Ready for a Comeback?Younger Demos Want These Radio ChangesSurge Pricing for RadioStupid On-Air AI TricksHow Nielsen is Killing Audience GainsiHeart Fast-tracking AI at StationsBlocking TikTok’s Knockout Punch to RadioThe Stakes in Audacy Bankruptcy TalksClass of ‘27’s Changing Views on Radio

You may also like: iHeart is Coming After Your Spot RevenueA Radio Station That Got Music Discovery RightThe Meaning of the “White Noise” Podcast BoomMusic Radio’s Secret Weapon Against StreamersHow Consolidators Plan to Change Ad SalesThe End of the Market ManagerBottom Feeder Buying Cumulus, Audacy Debt …  The Audacy Reorganization TalksShockers Ahead from iHeart, AudacyWhat’s for Sale at Audacy

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Class of ’27’s Changing Views on Radio

INSIDE THIS ARTICLE

  • The stone-cold smash hit young demo format no one is doing – and most don’t even know
  • A change in youth attitudes about podcasting
  • 2 places to look to find eager new audiences 
  • Advice from the class of ’27– opportunities bubbling under
  • If you hire them as a consultant, here’s the first thing they will say (after cut the commercials).

Read the full article now  

iHeart is Coming After Your Spot Revenue
A Radio Station That Got Music Discovery Right
The Meaning of the “White Noise” Podcast Boom
Music Radio’s Secret Weapon Against Streamers
How Consolidators Plan to Change Ad Sales

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iHeart is Coming After Your Spot Revenue

INSIDE THIS ARTICLE

  • A blatant push to put a major hurt on competitor’s ad sales
  • How it works
  • The most effective way to respond

Read the full article now  

The Effect of Nielsen’s Financial Problems on Radio
A Radio Station That Got Music Discovery Right
The Meaning of the “White Noise” Podcast Boom
Music Radio’s Secret Weapon Against Streamers
How Consolidators Plan to Change Ad Sales

Free samples here

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A Radio Station That Got Music Discovery Right

INSIDE …

  • How they break all the rules, attract loyal audiences and generate lots of revenue without bowing to Nielsen’s ratings.
  • We’ve gathered a list of basics.
  • The balance of new to familiar and their “Supreme Court” process for adding new songs.
  • Their hot clock mix explained.
  • The revenue component that even non-comms can emulate.

Read the full article now   

The Meaning of the “White Noise” Podcast Boom
Music Radio’s Secret Weapon Against Streamers
How Consolidators Plan to Change Ad Sales
The End of the Market Manager
Audacy to Renege on Pension Plans

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The Meaning of the “White Noise” Podcast Boom

INSIDE …

  • Why radio should care about Spotify’s inartful trashing of “white noise” that is increasingly popular.
  • The way radio can dissect an audience that is beginning to prefer chill as a source of entertainment.
  • The “white noise” that Spotify is trying to kill earns up to $18,000 a month– more than most remnant ads radio has been resorting to lately.
  • No, “white noise” isn’t the next affordable format for radio, but here’s what the trend suggests are a few that are.

Read the full article now   

Radio’s Fate Hangs in the Balance: 4th Quarter Pivotal for Survival
Music Radio’s Secret Weapon Against Streamers
How Consolidators Plan to Change Ad Sales
The End of the Market Manager
Audacy to Renege on Pension Plans

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Radio’s Fate Hangs in the Balance: 4th Quarter Pivotal for Survival

INSIDE …

  • One radio group is outperforming their peers this year by stealing revenue from these competitors – and that group is …
  • Audacy auditors were forced to issue a not “going concern” alert this year that plunged it into bankruptcy mode – the groups most likely to be in trouble now.
  • Fact: sellers selling radio AND digital produce less revenue than AEs who sell only radio – what changes are coming.
  • Radio’s digital future should pattern what Mark Thompson, named CNN CEO yesterday, did to turnaround The New York Times.

Read the full article now   

Music Radio’s Secret Weapon Against Streamers
How Consolidators Plan to Change Ad Sales
The End of the Market Manager
Audacy to Renege on Pension Plans
Record Labels Confirm the Decline of CHR

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Music Radio’s Secret Weapon Against Streamers

INSIDE …

  • There’s lots of news among younger demographics lately who prefer streaming music services like Spotify and Apple Music over terrestrial radio – both have weaknesses but now radio has a way to regain listeners glued to their AirPods.
  • It’s something that Spotify can’t do (they still think they need to be more like radio!).
  • Nielsen stands in the way, but there is a workaround.
  • Evidence that young music loving audiences would turn the radio back on for this new approach to music programming.
  • There’s even a way for big consolidators to get in on this but don’t make the mistake they are sure to make.

Read the full article now   

How Consolidators Plan to Change Ad Sales
The End of the Market Manager
Audacy to Renege on Pension Plans
Record Labels Confirm the Decline of CHR
Bottom Feeder Buying Cumulus, Audacy Debt

Free samples here

Do you have information you want to share with Jerry confidentially?  Email him privately here

How Consolidators Plan to Change Ad Sales

Read the full article now   

  • Disruptive changes to how account execs will sell. 
  • Where the size of station sales forces is headed – smaller to save compensation or larger to boost revenue? 
  • Cleaning up collections. 
  • Questionable sales practices for iHeart, Audacy and Cumulus that could easily become accepted everywhere.
  • Solutions for redefining the role of sales manager and how to get maximum revenue from salespeople.

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Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed.  Everything else is just public relations --  George Orwell

The End of the Market Manager

Read the full article now   

  • Scripps reportedly fired many of their local TV GMs making radio salivate at the potential savings.
  • The new “glorified” sales manager.
  • The radio groups most likely to fire market managers in favor of regional execs.
  • The ones most likely to consider regional market managers.
  • The safest radio groups to be a market manager (by group and size).

Tell a friend about today’s story here.

Share news and information just between us --  Newstips

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Click to read: Bottom Feeder Buying Cumulus, Audacy Debt … The Audacy Reorganization Talks …. Shockers Ahead from iHeart, AudacyWhat’s for Sale at AudacyAudacy to Renege on Pension PlansAirplay and Attention SpanBankruptcy Talks Accelerate After Audacy 2Q Earnings DisasterWhat to Expect from 2ndQuarter RevenueRecord Labels Confirm the Decline of CHRThe Big Consolidators Plan for the Future

You may also like: Chaos at CumulusThe Race to Rebrand RadioListeners Paying Streaming Rate Hikes Rather Than Free RadioReligion is Soaring, Salem is NotThe Core Needs of Listeners Have ChangedSatellite has a Radio ProblemThe Golden Bachelor WarningAudacy’s Screwed Up BankruptcyThe Rise of Unions in MediaSpillover Effects of a Disney TV Sale

Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed.  Everything else is just public relations --  George Orwell