February 22, 2024

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Audacy, owner of KROQ and WFAN radio stations, files for bankruptcy – The Hollywood Reporter

Audacy, owner of KROQ and WFAN radio stations, files for bankruptcy – The Hollywood Reporter

Audacy, one of the largest radio companies in the United States, said on Sunday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after reaching an agreement with holders of its debt to restructure.

Audacy owns some of the most prominent radio stations in the United States, including Los Angeles' notorious alternative station KROQ, KCBS and KNX, as well as New York's news station 1010 WINS, talk station WCBS, and WFAN, the country's first sports radio station.

Audacy owns more than 200 radio stations across the country and operates dozens of digital radio channels. The company also has partnerships with companies such as Warner Bros. Discovery and Bloomberg LP.

Audacy was created after the merger of Entercom and CBS Radio in 2017, when CBS was looking to exit its non-TV business.

The deal with debt holders will reduce its debt load by about 80%, from $1.9 billion to $350 million, the company said in a statement on Sunday. It does not expect any operational impact due to the bankruptcy and restructuring.

“Over the past few years, we have strategically transformed Audacy into a leading, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company through our acquisition of CBS Radio and by building complementary leadership positions in podcasting, audio networks, live events and digital marketing solutions,” said David Field, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Our direct-to-consumer streaming platform,” Audacy President and CEO said in a statement. “Although our transformation has strengthened our competitive position, the perfect storm of persistent macroeconomic challenges over the past four years facing the traditional advertising market has led to a sharp decline of Several billion dollars in cumulative spending on radio advertising. These market factors have severely impacted our financial condition and necessitated a restructuring of our balance sheet. With our broad leadership position, unique premium audio content, and strong capital structure, we believe Audacy will appear well positioned to continue its innovation and growth in the dynamic audio space.

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Many Audacy-owned stations pioneered radio formats that are now ubiquitous. In addition to helping innovate the all-sports format with WFAN, WCBS helped pioneer the news radio format. KROQ developed programming that was at the time groundbreaking in terrestrial radio, such as Kevin and Ben (call now Kevin, morning) and a late-night show Lovelin, sponsored by Dr. Drew Pinsky. The station also launched the careers of comedians such as Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla.