iHeartMedia may collapse under debt

iHeartMedia(Source: MediaFire)

At first glance, iHeartMedia looks like the model 21st century media conglomerate, truly a colossus with interests across media: owner of 858 radio stations; Clear Channel Outdoor, one of the world’s largest outdoor companies; Premier Networks, the top U.S. radio network; and iHeartRadio, among the nation’s top digital music services.

The radio giant has a dynamic leader, Bob Pittman, the man who created MTV and widely regarded as one of the most charismatic men in media.

And it has glam, lots of glam. Look no further than the iHeartRadio Music Festival and other live events that draw thousands upon thousands of celebrants and endless media excitement.

But for all that glam, iHeart is a deeply troubled company. In fact, iHeartMedia is teetering on collapse. It’s not a question of whether it collapses but when, and it’s likely to come sooner rather than later. It could be within months.

What’s going to sink iHeart is its huge debt, some $21 billion. That’s more than the entire radio industry generates in ad dollars in a given year, and it’s a debt iHeart appears to have zero prospects of paying off.[…]

iHeart’s ills could not come at a worse time for radio.

Cumulus, the No. 2 radio company, is struggling to work through its own debt problems and could itself slide into bankruptcy. And CBS Radio was just put on the block in what’s seen as a major vote of no confidence in radio’s future by CBS Chairman Les Moonves.

One could well imagine a scenario in which all three companies are broken up and their stations all put on the market at one time, in what would prove a major disruption for the industry.[…]

Continue reading…

CBS considering the sale of its radio division

When Charlie Chaplin finally allowed the world to hear his voice after 20 years of mime, he chose CBS's airwaves to do it on. (Source: Wikipedia)

When Charlie Chaplin allowed the world to hear his voice after twenty years of silent performance, he chose CBS for the broadcast.

(Source: LA Times)

CBS Corp. is poised to exit the radio business that it helped create.

Eighty-eight years ago, the company’s founder, William S. Paley, bought the nascent Columbia Broadcasting System, and those radio stations became the nucleus of a budding broadcast empire.

But on Tuesday, CBS Chairman and Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said the company was exploring strategic options, including a sale or spinoff, of its entire radio division.

“The aim here is to unlock value for our shareholders,” said Moonves, who made the announcement during an investor day in New York.

The decision marks the end of an era and highlights the waning influence of commercial radio, which is no longer considered a growth industry. Young adults spend more time listening to digital music files, podcasts and subscription Internet radio services such as Spotify and Pandora. The shift has prompted major advertisers, including car dealerships, wireless phone companies and financial services firms, to steer more of their marketing dollars to digital platforms.

Continue reading at the LA Times’ website…

Paul gives us a glimpse of KIYU Alaska

IMG_2798

SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, is not only a shortwave listener, he’s also a broadcaster.

Paul works at community radio station KIYU in Galena, Alaska. At my request, Paul has kindly shared a few photos of his workplace with us.IMG_0077IMG_2797IMG_2799

Paul also sent this short video at the mic of KIYU:

Very cool, Paul! You certainly have a lot of translators to list in your station ID–no doubt, these are the many sites that serve your communities.

Thanks for sharing a little of your world at KIYU!

If you’d like to try hear Paul on the air, check out the KIYU home page.

Your favorite radio stations that stream online?

The Grace Digital Mondo WiFi radio

The Grace Digital Mondo WiFi radio

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time with WiFi radios.

You see, I’ve been preparing a three part series about WiFi radios for The Spectrum Monitor magazine (Part 1 will appear in the April 2016 issue). Not only have I been evaluating and reviewing several radios, but also station aggregators: the curated databases of radio stations to which WiFi radios link.

Internet radio = Local radio discovery

Internet (or Web/WiFi) radio is a fantastic platform for discovering small, even semi-isolated, community radio stations that, until the Internet, had never broadcast signals beyond their local communities. With Internet radio, we can enjoy these stations as if we, too, are locals. Local becomes international.

WHKY-AM-Radio-Tower

As I travel, I try to note the callsigns of AM/FM radio stations I enjoy.

Sadly, not all of my favorite local radio stations stream online as it’s a major expense for a small broadcaster and yields very little in the way of ad revenue. After all, who in South Africa is going to buy auto parts from a store in Homer Alaska? It’s a conundrum for sure, and one shared by private shortwave broadcasters.

Still, there are a number of stations that do manage to have a reliable streams online.

In no particular order, here’s a short list–a handful–of some of my favorite stations that stream (click on the callsign to listen to the station live):

  • WTZQ Everything from Glenn Miller to Steve Miller (Hendersonville, NC)
  • WXRC Classic Rock (Charlotte, NC)
  • WDRV Classic Rock (Chicago, IL)
  • WHGM Classic Hits (Havre de Grace, MD)
  • WFED Federal News Radio (Washington, DC)
  • CBAL French language music from (Moncton, NB, Canada)
  • CKUT McGill University radio, (Montreal, Canada)
  • CIAO World Music and Talk Radio (Brampton, ON, Canada)
  • 6WF ABC local talk and music (Perth, Australia)
  • Fréquence 2 (Ivory Coast, Africa)
  • CFZM Nostalgia (Toronto, Canada)
  • Saint-Pierre & Miquelon 1ère French music/talk (St. Pierre and Miquelon)
  • WNMB 1950’s music (North Myrtle Beach, SC)
  • KBON Cajun/Zydeco/Blues and variety (Louisiana, USA)

What are your favorite stations?

Please comment and share some of your favorite streaming AM/FM radio stations! I’m all ears!

In Korogocho, Koch FM focuses on water sanitation

KenyaMap

(Source: BBC Media Action)

On Global Handwashing Day, Diana Njeru looks at how a radio station constructed from a shipping container is helping people improve their health in one of Kenya’s largest slums.

On the banks of a slimy grey river, a man is using a handcart to dump a barrel of human waste into the water. Sliding down the slope, the cart slips from his grasp and it tumbles in, forcing him to wade through the sludge to retrieve it.

This was the scene before me as I visited Korogocho slum last week, one of Nairobi’s largest informal settlements and home to over 150,000 residents.

A shipping container turned studio

Just up the road from the river is Koch FM, a popular community radio station BBC Media Action is helping to support through tailored mentoring to improve the technical skills of its staff. The station’s studio – constructed from an old shipping container and sound proofed with egg boxes – has been run by a team of passionate volunteers since 2006.

[…]Clean water is very hard to come by. In slums like Korogocho, people must either rely on rainwater or water vending points run by cartels. This toxic environment paired with limited awareness of good hygiene means life-threatening but preventable illnesses like diarrhoea are all too common.

To help tackle this, BBC Media Action mentor Davie Njuguna is currently working with staff at Koch FM to help them produce programmes that address water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues.

Continue reading on the BBC Media Action blog…

In the US, radio audience continues an upward trend

tivoli-model-3-radio

(Source: CNN Money via Andrea Borgnino)

It turns out that radio still gets results.

Amid all the changes in television and digital media, a report from Nielsen released Tuesday found that radio’s nationwide audience reached an all-time high during the second quarter of 2015.

According to Nielsen, about 245 million Americans ages 12 and up used radio during the that span.

It was a continuation of an upward trend for radio, which has seen its national audience swell to record highs in each of the last two years. In the first quarter of this year, radio eclipsed television as the country’s top reaching medium.

Continue reading on CNN.com…

In the UK, digital radio is not always well-received

DABMany thanks to my buddy, Dan, who shares this article from the Daily Mail:

“It was supposed to be the technology that would transform the way we listen to the radio.

But audiences condemned DAB – or Digital Audio Broadcasting – as a disaster yesterday because of the poor quality of the signal.

They complained that it cuts out in the middle of broadcasts, while others claim the technology is already out of date.

One even joked on Twitter that while we can now receive close-up photos of Pluto taken billions of miles away, he ‘still can’t get a good signal on DAB’.

DAB had been heralded as less prone to interference than AM or FM, but household appliances including microwave ovens, laptops, mobile phones and TVs have all been found to affect reception. Power lines and the weather can knock out digital signals, while signal strength can be reduced in built-up areas, in basements and inside buildings with thick stone or reinforced concrete walls.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3168864/Coming-loud-clear-gripes-digital-radio-Audiences-condemn-DAB-poor-quality-signal-cuts-middle-programmes.html