The debt monster keeps chasing Clear Channel

Clear Channel incurred a net of around $20 billion in debt to “take Clear Channel private” and the debt load owed to banks continues to devour its soul

CC has to pony up $1.5 billion a year in interest on its roughly $20 billion in debt, roughly 7% – but CC is now proposing to exchange debt coming due in the next few years with longer maturity but much higher interest rates.

Typically, PE firms want to acquire a company and “fix it” (firing people, selling assets, selling off non-core lines of business) then turn around and make the company public, sometimes with an intermediate step of declaring bankruptcy to screw the existing bond owners. It doesn’t look like that’s the plan here, but it is hard to predict the future.

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8 Responses to The debt monster keeps chasing Clear Channel

  1. Good. After what they’ve done to the radio industry over the last 15+ years, I have no sympathy. Whatever bad happens to them can’t be punishment enough.

  2. Parrott says:

    Art, On cloudy days I notice that the radio in my truck, can pick up WBT here in Virginia during the day, if it is cloudy. Granted I’m not too far from the border with NC, on certain days it does pretty good out in the rural area.
    It is diesel so I don’t have the pesky high voltage ignition system interfering with reception. Pretty cool.


    • Art Stone says:

      The thing about AM radio not widely understood and counterintuitive is that the primary factor in AM reception is the ground and what it is made of. AM radio towers have copper buried in the ground that cause ground wave propagation. Generally the more water in the ground, the better AM signals carry (during the day) – the best ground wave conductor is open water. Radio stations from Coastal Connecticut can be heard way far away on Long Island, but only within a few miles of the coast.

      WBT was one of the first commercial radio stations and was not originally on 1110 kHz – they had to electrically shorten the tower – the lower the frequency, the taller (and more expensive) the tower – hence why generally the big market major stations are lower on the dial and the local small town radio are up on the high end.

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        The lower frequency ground waves travel further than the higher frequency ones and you have to go further out before they suffer interference from the waves from the same station that are refracted from the ionosphere.

        Water is a great conductor, but not nearly so great as salt water. Cape May, NJ the southern tip of the state just east of Washington DC gets good daytime reception of WBZ 1030 Boston because the signal is over the ocean, but not such good reception of much closer 1500 AM in Washington, DC.

        • Parrott says:

          Yeah, I agree. I remember way back in 1973 on vacation with my parents on the Outer Banks and riding around with them. Mom always had the radio to WABC , and I amazed to be listening to it that far away from NYC, during the day. We lived in West Virginia back then and I could only get WABC at night back home.
          God it would be nice to relive that week again. my little brother who was like 4 found a Ben Franklin 50 cent piece in the sand dunes at Nags Head, real silver dated like 1958.
          He still has it

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