The parent company of iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia Inc, said in recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings that it could be gone by this time next year.
“Management anticipates that our financial statements to be issued for the three months ended March 31, 2017, will include disclosure indicating there will be substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months following the date the first quarter 2017 financial statements are issued.”
Ciara Linnane of MarketWatch.com wrote Monday that “The company has almost $350 million of debt coming due this year, part of a massive $20 billion debt load it took on as part of a $24 billion leveraged buyout of then Clear Channel Communications Inc. by private-equity firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners in 2008. It has another $8.3 billion of debt coming due in 2019.”
Terrestrial radio has been slowly dying as more people switch from listening to AM/FM content to on demand music services like iTunes and Spotify. Even though 90% of Americans listen to some sort of radio, either online or broadcast, advertisers are realizing that online marketing is far easier to measure. They are pulling their dollars from radio and putting it online.
What This Means for Conservative Talk Radio
IHeartRadio operates over 800 radio stations, including many that offer programming from conservative talk radio icons such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Have no fear though. These shows aren’t going anywhere.
Although some websites (such as Salon.com) are licking their chops over this news, it is unlikely that conservative talk radio will die any time soon. Should iHeartMedia go under, their assets will be sold off, and new investors will step up to take control of these newly available radio stations.
Even if all of the stations owned and operated by iHeartRadio were completely shut down, this would only mean that popular hosts would migrate over to satellite radio or podcasts. Limbaugh, Hannity, and the rest will be around as long as their audience wants to hear them.