iHeart Set to Disrupt Nielsen

Nielsen has had no bigger friend than iHeart in more ways than people know.

iHeart owns 850+ stations in 150 markets and had plenty of need for audience ratings.

That was before “dislocation” and “excellence centers”.

iHeart is owned by the same people who own a large chunk of Nielsen.

Yet, it is becoming more evident that Nielsen may wind up the ironic victim of the very thing that helped it grow – consolidation.

iHeart’s competitors will be directly impacted by forces that will upend the radio industry once again and redefine how radio will prove effectiveness to advertisers.

Read the full article now


Townsquare Faces Bankruptcy Over Debt

The second attempt to sell Townsquare is over but the company’s financial troubles are just beginning.

If we know this, certainly their private equity owners are aware of it.  Townsquare didn’t try that sale “Hail Mary” for nothing.

They reportedly paid Houlihan Lokey somewhere between $50-100,000 to in effect tell them what everyone already knew – there are no buyers.

But now that Townsquare is forced to operate as is, they have debt problems that could be the biggest challenge to the company’s viability since it went public.

This has huge repercussions for not only their employees, but competitors in markets where they currently operate and for investors who are still drinking the Kool-Aid that Townsquare is a digital company.

No company tries to sell itself two times – unsuccessfully at that – unless they know something they don’t want to talk about.

Read the full article now


iHeart’s Plan to “Dislocate” Their Competitors

The term “dislocation” used to replace the word “firing” is tone deaf but on Wall Street, they understand its true meaning.

Since it was introduced last month when iHeart “dislocated’ over 1,000 employees, the focus has been on iHeart’s sale to Liberty Media.

But there is a similar iHeart-attack waiting for their competitors that is designed to force them into economies of scale and make it more difficult for them to break even.

These plans are as ruthless as what they unleashed on their own employees, but this is a desperate company waiting to be taken over and ready to play a new kind of hardball with competitors.

Read the full article now


Cumulus to Sell Assets

This is the start of the real selloff not the New York, LA and Atlanta station giveaways previously.

Financial problems continue to plague Cumulus.

Market managers are complaining about being strapped by cost-cutting.

Now we learn that the post-bankruptcy Cumulus owners consisting largely of lenders who took a haircut are done with a declining radio industry.

They want their money at all costs and employees are about to feel their urgency.

Read the full article now


Alpha Media Takeover Within 6 Months

What a mess.

Founder Larry Wilson intended for Alpha Media to be everything iHeart was not – live and local and soundly invested in carefully chosen mid-sized radio markets.

But in his haste to do an IPO, Wilson bought a micro-market company known as Digity and the high price of adding insignificant small market stations put Alpha underwater ever since.

Wilson was kicked aside.  Paul Stone came to his financial rescue and took over control.

Now, even Stone may get burned as a new owner is waiting in the wings and their goal is not live and local but buy and sell.

Read the full article now


SiriusXM’s Curious Investment in SoundCloud

It just seems that while the radio industry pivots to podcasting, the folks at SiriusXM are building a stronger platform that will co-exist or one day supersede even their satellite radio business.

Last week parent Liberty Media – yes, the same people moving in on taking over control of iHeart’ 850+ terrestrial stations – plopped down $75 million to take a stake in SoundCloud, the world’s largest open audio platform.

Liberty sees an opportunity to spread its influence beyond the 35 million paid subscribers who take the satellite service.

The Liberty move is potentially breathtaking with direct impact on terrestrial radio and the lucrative streaming market.

Few broadcasters understand their strategy but it presents a clear and present danger to radio.

Read the full article now


Townsquare Off the Market, BUT …

This is getting to be a habit – Townsquare trying to sell itself.

A few years ago, they tried and found no takers.

We’ve learned this time, they actually had interested potential buyers but the prospects reportedly didn’t like the way they were handled.

The last prospect standing finally walked a few weeks ago.

What’s fascinating is not so much the usual considerations, but Townsquare’s unorthodox way of trying to sell itself.

Now Townsquare’s owners, Brookfield Asset Management, has a real problem.

Read the full article now


Entercom Selling Even More Stations

So much for all that podcasting revenue, Entercom is desperate for cash.

That’s why it practically gave away a Boston FM station to EMF yesterday and why in spite of what David Field tells analysts, Entercom has deep financial problems.

But the headlines don’t tell the full story.

The desperation sale of WAAF-FM may seem like a one-off but the company reportedly has plans to sell more stations as the failed CBS merger and the decline of radio in a boom economy have finally caught up to Entercom.

Read the full article now


Next iHeart “Dislocation” in Planning Stage

Firing over 1,000 people most of whom were talent and programmers responsible for their on-air product was a gutsy move on the part of iHeart management.

Now, bolstered by the fact that their stations are still on the air with few problems and seemingly doing fine, iHeart prepares for another assault on employees.

Keep in mind that the January firings were not limited to programming and talent, they sneaked in over 50 engineering and IT RIFs as well as non-air related firings as part of the massive layoff.

“Dislocation” helps iHeart make up for declines in revenue that are expected all through 2020.

iHeart has apparently isolated the next victims of “dislocation” based on how virtually seamless the January firings went and it now appears iHeart has decided where to cut next. 

Read the full article now


“Dislocation” Threat to Total Traffic, Premiere & Katz

It’s only been about a month since iHeart ejected more than 1,000 employees, mostly programming and air talent.

Under the shock of the most massive single firing in the history of radio, iHeart also slipped in more than 50 “dislocations” of engineers/IT people, put the ball in motion on a plan to downsize 150 studios and offices in their clusters over the next three years to cookie-cutter suites that are the same in every market making it easier to plug people in anywhere with no virtual learning curve.

And they’re not done.

Katz is their massive rep firm, a virtually monopoly.

Premiere is their syndication arm.

Total Traffic grinds out traffic reports to an audience that has no trouble downloading Waze.

All this as Liberty times its takeover of iHeart and “dislocations” for these businesses that were unthinkable even a month ago are coming soon.

Read the full article now