February Thread

The days get longer as the month gets shorter

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The Clear Channel bankruptcy plan

As pointed to be Tom Taylor’s news letter:

SEC Filing

This is proposed pre-packaged bankruptcy. In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, normally there is an entity called the “Debtor in possession”. The DIP agrees to put up the money to keep the company running while the bankruptcy process is negotiated.

In return for putting up their short term loans and priority debt, for $5.55 billion, that group will get all of Clear Channel’s assets, including the outdoor advertising business and transit advertising in Europe. They will get about 95% of the “New” Clear Channel stock.

The junior debt holders will get $200 million in debt, 5% of the new stock, and warrants that would be valuable if/when the new iHeart stock takes off.

The reality is that iHeart is cash flow positive if the interest on the debt is not paid. The DIP is mainly a formality to manage the process.

I am not a bankruptcy attorney, so do not take any of the above as advice. It is not certain this will be the actual plan until it goes to a judge, but the SEC being informed suggests this will really happen.

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Website Status

Most blog readers (all ~6 of you) know that about six months ago, I turned off the streaming radio guide that is the progeny of FindAnISP.com. The amount of work was excessive and incompatible with the obligations of being a husband.

About two weeks ago, one of the surviving streaming companies (hosting around 1,200 stations) approached me about “taking over” the website. It was a very preliminary exchange, and I indicated I needed to discuss it with my wife (Countess). I have explored both the option of letting the site be acquired or bringing it back in some limited form. Neither discussion was fruitful.

The observant amoung you may have noticed the absence of the Countess here. She has been fully occupied with things that are apparently more important than the Radio directory or the blog. Her support is necessary in any decision I make.

Perhaps she will give me a stronger opinion soon, but it is safe to assume that change is in the air…

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Over the weekend, we visited our niece in Dunn North Carolina. She is working there temporarily at a facility that desperately needs her skills.

While Countess and my niece were engrossed with the Eva Gardner museum in Smithfield NC, I staked out a viewing location on the Washington DC to Miami CSX mainline, that runs right through Dunn. In the short time I was there, two long Northbound freight trains rumbled through.

Little did I know that about 12 hours later, Amtrak train #91 (the Silver Star from DC to Miami) was here, an hour away from slamming into a stationary switching train on a siding at a facility near Columbia SC that unloads cars and trucks from vehicle rail cars for local delivery.

The siding switch was padlocked giving control of the mainline to the switching crew, but the regular systems were down, possibly (ironically) to install Positive Train Control (PTC) on the busy CSX route on Sunday AM.

Either the switching crew forgot to realign the switch (not likely) or the Amtrak crew who were running almost an hour late had their permission to use the mainline expire and failed to contact the CSX dispatcher to extend their “train order”. Since the block signals were disabled, the only way the dispatcher in Jacksonville Florida knows where the Amtrak train is was being told over the radio system.

Amtrak’s immediate statements placing all of the blame on CSX may turn out to be wrong.

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IHeart (Clear Channel) skips $106 million interest payment


The management of Clear Channel / iHeart has made a choice to not pay the $106 million due on February 1st. There is a 30 day grace period during which iHeart can try to strike a deal. So far, iHeart has strung out their $20 billion in debt by offering higher rates and longer terms.

Cumulus tried a similar strategy a few months ago and failed to arrive at a deal and entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy. There is a lot of ill will between the lenders and Clear Channel management, so it may be difficult to prevent a voluntary bankruptcy.

Today happens to be a big day in the Cumulus bankruptcy proceedings and there are signs that the judge may not accept the plan put forth by management that stiffs the stockholders and most of the junior debt. The SEC has entered the case to protect the stockholders who will get nothing under the current plan.


The iHeart debt holders are surely paying close attention to the millions of dollars in legal fees being billed because Cumulus did not conclude a voluntary reorganization.

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Someone needed to say this


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January 2018 randomness

Another sun cycle begins

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CNN’s Updated Privacy Policy


Translation: There is no such thing as privacy.

Google Ads (which I used for a few hours) requires publishers to have a web page on their site that disclosed that Google will receive information about your activities, so I wrote this:


Google no longer has direct visibility, but of course there are many ways they know indirectly like users of the Chrome browser syncing bookmarks.


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Global Warming, NC style

I hope they have a good plumber…

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