Alpha Media files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

If you don’t know who Alpha Media is, don’t feel bad. You have probably not listened to any one of their ~250 stations. They don’t do any syndicated programming like Westwood one or Clear Channel.

Alpha media was pulled together by a gentleman named Larry Wilson. If you have a long memory of the radio business, he was the principal behind creating Citadel Media. The basic premise of Citadel was venture capital type people would provide money for Larry to go buy small little marginally viable radio stations, and pack them together in a package. The premise seemed to be that if you packaged up a large quantity of unprofitable radio stations, they would become profitable. That was also the premise behind Clear Channel, although they bought more expensive stations they could not afford.

In the end, that did not work out. Larry sold out his interest, and then the new owners merged Citadel with ABC radio (owned by Disney at the time). That did not last very long due to the huge debt obligation, and Citadel declared bankruptcy in 2009. It was merged into Cumulus Media in 2011, which itself subsequently declared bankruptcy in 2017.

So Alpha Media was Larry Wilson’s attempt to repeat his initial success in radio. He resigned as chairman of Alpha Media in 2018, and now the company is restructuring its debt, giving equity to the debt holders. The company is not going out of business, it is just going to transition to a new business ownership model. This is a tough time to be in the radio business.

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2 Responses to Alpha Media files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

  1. Fred Stiening says:

    Or the pizza business. Cici’s, which I enjoyed once in a while has filed Chapter 11

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