Clear Channel Debt Issue Sparks Speculation of Sell-Offs, Mergers and More. The result of the recent report by Moody’s Investors Service that Clear Channel’s 2016 debt payment of a little more than $10 billion has industry watchers predicting the radio giant will either have to merge with another company or begin to sell off assets – or both – in order to make the 2016 payments. The Moody’s report suggests Clear Channel should have no problem making the next three years’ payments — $312 million in 2013, $1.3 billion in 2014, and $250 million in 2015. It’s the $8.2 billion and $1.9 billion it will owe in 2016 that has Moody’s concerned. It contends that for Clear Channel to refinance that debt, it is going to have to see marked improvement in performance over the next several years. Moody’s says CC will likely need to see revenue go up by 2% in 2013, 4% in 2014 and 4% in 2015. Based on recent performances by most groups in the radio industry, those 4% figures are going to be a challenge to attain. Moody’s analyst Scott Van Den Bosch states, “The possibility of a restructuring or a distressed exchange remains high. Efforts to avoid a restructuring and refinance or extend its debt load will likely depend on the receptivity of the financial markets and moderate underlying interest rates.” Regarding this latest development in CC’s ongoing adventures in kicking the can down the road, TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison states, “While it certainly is too early to lose faith that things in the business will drastically improve by 2016, which would mark a continuation of the present corporate status quo, or that Clear Channel will pull another refinancing magic rabbit out of its hat, the doomsday scenario for today’s mega-consolidators could actually spark new life into the radio industry. There is an awful lot of unemployed, ultra-seasoned management talent out there who would make extremely capable owner/operators of small- and medium-market stations and realistically designed groups if only given the chance. That opportunity would come if the biggies were forced to sell off hundreds, if not thousands, of properties at prices that could be serviced by reasonable earnings. It would require these individuals to find financing from new sources – local banks and businesses with roots in their communities. More importantly, it would require them to blow off any notion of living the soft corporate, cover-your-ass, way of thinking; roll up their sleeves, get back in touch with their passion for radio, move to the communities where they are buying stations and work, work, work like desperate dawgs to get this business back on track and add at least another 10 to 25 years to the viable life of over-the-air radio.”
Layoffs Coming to Clear Channel San Diego? RadioInfo hears that some staffers at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s San Diego cluster are being summoned to a meeting this morning. Though the reason for the meeting is not clear, sources say the staffers believe they are to be laid off at today’s meeting. Stay tuned for more on this possible breaking story.
Earls Family Broadcasting Consolidates Country Signals in Branson, Missouri; to Flip Standards KOMC to AC in New Year. The two country stations that Earls Family Broadcasting has been operating in the Branson market – KHBZ, Harrison and KRZK, Branson – are being consolidated into one country station as KHBZ becomes the sole country outlet branded as “102.9 The Z” and KRZK becomes an FM news/talk outlet. The company says in a statement, “Our goal is for ‘102.9 The Z’ to be the ‘just right’ combination – a better mix of country music along with community service, regional news, and plenty of listener involvement. Great personalities live on-air, all day long, will keep listeners engaged and entertained.” The company also announces it will flip standards KOMC, Kimberling City to AC beginning December 26.
RadioInfo Career Moves. Research Director Inc. promotes Kathryn Boxill to radio sales research manager of the Annapolis, Maryland-based firm. In her new position, Boxill will lead a team of research consultants who analyze audience estimates and provide sales consulting services…..WMMS, Cleveland air talent Chad Zumock exits his role on the Alan Cox afternoon drive show after crashing his car into a tree in what authorities are calling a driving under the influence case. Cleveland.com reports Zumock violated a term of his contract with the station as a result of the incident. The 38-year-old comedian was returning from a gig at a local comedy club when the incident occurred…..Clear Channel’s rock WJRR, Cocoa Beach/Orlando names Pat Lynch and Taco Bob morning hosts at the station. They replace Crash in the morning slot. Lynch and Taco held down the morning slot on the station from 1995 to 2008 before exiting that role…..Max Media’s rhythmic oldies KJHM, Strasburg, Colorado (Denver market) “Jammin 101.5” names Randy “Bubba” Black program director and morning host…..Country KSD, St. Louis “93.7 The Bull” ups afternoon jock and music director Dusty Panhorst to assistant program director.
CBS Radio Teams with JBL for Artists Exclusive Promotion. CBS Radio and JBL are working together on a promotion featuring KAMP, Los Angeles “97.1 Amp Radio” personality Carson Daly in which he’ll interview Grammy-nominated artists for a series that will air on CBS Radio’s major market stations and online. “The JBL GRAMMY Spotlight with Carson Daly” will begin after the nominees for the 55th annual Grammy Awards are announced tonight (12/5) and continue through February 10. There is a special exclusive sweepstakes component of the promotion, as well. They can enter online at JBL.com/GRAMMY to win one of three VIP trips for two, with winners attending the GRAMMY Awards in February at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, as well as the opportunity to dine at one of Carson Daly’s favorite restaurants and stay in one of his preferred hotels. Daly states, “I’m exceptionally excited to be the voice of the JBL GRAMMY Spotlight campaign, and I look forward to interviewing artists who have such a special association with the historic music event.” Adam Levine and Maroon 5 kick off the interview series, discussing the backstage atmosphere during music’s biggest showcase as well as the band’s response to winning a GRAMMY as Best New Artist in 2005.
Radio Personality Teaches PSY All About “American Style” Dancing. Jeffrey Jameson, co-host of the “Dana & Jeffrey in the Morning” show heard daily on WBLI (106.1), Long Island and Hot 100.9, Richmond, Virginia, caught up with international pop sensation PSY between his recent Time magazine interview and dinner at the U.N. He teaches the “Gangnam Style” star some “American-style dances” in what has to rank as one of the year’s most amazing radio-related videos. Check it out on RADIOINFO TV on this page.
WMGK, Philadelphia’s John DeBella Surprised with 30th Anniversary Honor. Philadelphia radio personality John DeBella is celebrating his 30th anniversary in the market and was surprised on the air yesterday by Greater Media Philadelphia market manager John Fullam who presented him with a golden microphone statuette during his morning program on classic rock WMGK. Pictured here are Fullam (l), DeBella, (c) and WMGK program director Charley Lake (r). Fullam says of DeBella, “John DeBella has had an amazing 30-year run; entertaining the people of Philadelphia and giving back so often to the city he loves. We are proud of John and his extraordinary career and thrilled to have him here at WMGK and Greater Media.” In light of DeBella’s anniversary, the station is bringing back his “DeBella DeBall” event. This year’s DeBella DeBall 30th Anniversary event will take place on Friday, December 14 at Vie (600 N. Broad St, Philadelphia, PA). Guests at this invite only event, will be treated to music by Johnny O & The Classic Dogs of Love as well as special guests David Uosikkinen‘s In The Pocket featuring The Hooters, Tommy Conwell and Richard Bush (of The A’s). Listeners can win tickets via the show and online.
WAAF, Boston Personalities Literally “Rise Up” Against Hunger. That’s WAAF, Boston “Hillman Morning Show” co-host LB (a.k.a. former Boston Bruin Lyndon Byers) being raised in a lift where he’ll spend three full days living and working in an effort to raise awareness and funds to benefit the Greater Boston, Worcester County and New Hampshire Food Banks. “Hillman Morning Show” staffer Spaz is also living six stories in the air at another location. WAAF PD Ron Valerie says, “LB and Spaz will be homeless outside in the cold and high in the air for three straight days to raise awareness about hunger. We’re asking our listeners to ‘Rise Up Against Hunger’ with them, because they can’t come down until donations go UP!” Lest it be construed that show host Greg Hill is not doing his part, Hill is spending three full days on the air showing his support for the cause.
Reach Media’s Tom Joyner Donates $10k to Pay Off Deceased Student’s Loan. Nationally syndicated morning host Tom Joyner learned of the plight of 61-year-old Ella Edwards after her story was featured on his program’s “Inside Her Story” segment presented by show staffer Jacque Reid. Edwards’ son died suddenly and although his federal student loan debts were forgiven, the private loan company would not forgive the debt. Edwards had retired early due to illness but was forced to return to part-time work as a seamstress to try to pay off the debt. She launched a web campaign on Change.org to elicit support to convince the loan company to forgive the debt, with no luck. Joyner spoke with Edwards on his radio program yesterday and told her he would pay the $10,800.