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Radio Giant Cumulus Files for Bankruptcy

Atlanta-based radio giant Cumulus Media has filed to reorganize in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with $2.4 billion in debt. It has reached an agreement with 69% of its term loan holders.

Cumulus’ pre-packaged restructuring agreement with lenders will reduce the company’s debt by more than $1 billion. The filing took place at United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Earlier this month, Cumulus defaulted on a nearly $24 million debt payment to its lenders. The stock will continue to trade on the OTC (over-the-counter) market, where it moved after being delisted at NASDAQ last week. The company will also cease paying interest on bonds or interest that will accrue on bonds during its financial restructuring process, according to a post on the company website.

Cumulus Media owns and operates 446 radio stations in 90 U.S. media markets, including such venerable outlets as news/talk KABC and classic rock mainstay KLOS in Los Angeles, Triple A giant KFOG and rock station KSAN in San Francisco, along with talker WABC and Hot AC WPLJ in New York. Cumulus expects all operations, programming and sales to continue as normal throughout the restructuring, insisting it has enough money on hand along with continuing revenue to keep the doors open.

Cumulus president/CEO Mary Berner insisted the company will turn its fortunes around in her press statement. “Over the last two years, we have focused on implementing a business plan to reverse the company’s multi-year ratings, revenue and EBITDA declines, create a culture that fosters motivated and engaged employees, and build an operational foundation to support the kind of performance we believe Cumulus is capable of delivering. This has resulted in increased ratings, revenue market share gains, improved employee satisfaction, reduced employee turnover and, over the last several quarters, our return to year-over-year EBITDA and revenue growth – demonstrating that turnaround has not only been successful, but is continuing. However, as we have noted consistently, the debt overhang left by previous years of underperformance remains a significant financial challenge that we must overcome for our operational turnaround to proceed.”

Berner added the restructuring process will relieve financial constraints and allow the company to “focus our resources on investing in our business and people to strengthen our competitiveness and ultimately drive growth.”

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