iHeart’s New Beginning

With the court’s blessing iHeart Media has emerged from bankruptcy and reduced their debt from $16 billion to a much lower number -- $5.75 billion.

iHeart says it’s back to business as usual but what does that look like after bankruptcy?

Will they now be able to service the $5.75 billion in debt at unfavorable interest rates in a declining ad market for radio?

iHeart split Clear Channel Outdoor and the radio division and that comes with new pros and cons.

The real question is, is the focus back to terrestrial radio?

How do they service even reduced debt when it is so high?

And is a buyer ready to move in and take over?

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Entercom Programming Cutbacks

No announcements have been made.

The radio trade press is in the dark.

Entercom is at work retooling its radio stations.

This is the same Entercom that less than two weeks ago was bragging to investors and lenders that they are growing by leaps and bounds.

Turns out David Field is running out of ways to cut costs.

The new retooling plan targets certain types of Entercom stations.

Evidence of how desperate Entercom is to save money as actual revenue falls short.

Those who are being targeted have the one thing in common.

And there is already a pattern of where these layoffs can be expected right down to the specific daypart.

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The Increased Agency Commission Sham

Several years ago, iHeart began searching for ways to annihilate their local competitors by drastically dropping rates and generously upping commissions.

It was a nuisance that competitors had to suffer.

Now, Entercom has gone all in with iHeart in a “price fixing monopoly” of sorts unlike anything ever seen before.

The price is not fixed by agreement, it’s fixed by greedy competition to drive radio rates down at all costs until one of the two predator radio groups is left standing and any third parties are effectively kept out of major buys.

How are they able to do this – burned market managers know exactly.

Why increased agency commission is becoming the new “trade”.

The three buying services leading the race to the bottom.

More shocking is what these three buying services do with the extra commissions that are the highest ever offered.

The actual year to year metrics that show the disastrous downward effect rate dropping is having on radio comparing big advertisers such as USAA and Cox.

What radio operators not named iHeart and Entercom are doing to push back.

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Mike McVay’s Cumulus Exit

Mike McVay is gone.

And the decision to cut him loose says more about the new direction of Cumulus than it does about McVay.

McVay was hired by the previous regime hated by current CEO Mary Berner.

She stuck with him until no matter what happened because if there is one thing about Mary Berner, she protects her small but compliant management team.

So, beyond the corporate spin, what made McVay fall on his sword at this late date?

Does this mean that market managers can have renewed hope that regional VPs Bob Walker and Dave Milner will be next?

How is the removal of McVay and the uncertainty of Cumulus management related to their future plans?

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Entercom’s True Financials

Last week Entercom told analysts reporting on the first quarter 2019 revenue that the company grew revenue by 43%.

Did it?  

Some Wall Street people are beginning to ask the question how is Entercom doing as good as David Field claims when their stock is hovering so close to a mere $4 a share, the acknowledged breaking point.

So, we took the un-doctored 10k filing Entercom is required to produce as a public company and we asked financial experts with high level radio experience to dig into the legal figures that Entercom cannot parse in search of the true numbers.

Is David Field telling big little lies about the merged company with CBS Radio?

How much cutting back did Entercom really do and at what level are further cost synergies accurately projected going forward.

What about cash flow – this is the true measure of a radio company’s viability – how does Entercom do on that?

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