IHeart Radio, owner of Mix 98.9 and others, files bankruptcy

Bankruptcy

iHeartMedia, Inc., which owns hundreds of radio stations around the country, including in Eau Claire, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. That unit is not part of the bankruptcy proceeding. The CEO of the company, Bob Pittman, said the debt iHeartMedia found itself in has "burdened our capital structure".

Executives hope to eliminate $10 million in debt.

About 10 years ago, the amount paid for iHeartMedia, Inc.

The Denver-area stations owned by iHeartMedia are Channel 93.3 (KTCL), 95.7 The Party (KPTT), 97.3 KBCO, 103.5 The Fox (KRFX), KOA Newsradio (at 850 AM and 94.1 FM), 107.9 KBPI, 630 KHOW, Orange and Blue 760 (KDSP) and 106.7 The Bull (KWBL).

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IHeartMedia has maintained that its radio stations remain popular and vital even as it has introduced apps and negotiated new licensing deals meant to control its royalty payments online. That set up a 30-day "grace period" before triggering a default, which forced the company to declare bankruptcy. The company has struggled to pay down more than $20 billion in debt acquired from its leveraged buyout in 2008.

iHeartMedia, parent of iHeartRadio music radio, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

iHeartMedia says in its statement that it believes its cash on hand, together with cash generated from continuing operations, will be sufficient to fund and support the business during the bankruptcy proceedings.

While dramatic, the filing is not likely to have much noticeable effect on the company's day-to-day.

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The reorganization calls for holders of the company's term loan and other debt to get new debt, equity or warrants in a new company. Upcoming: the iHeartCountry Festival featuring Luke Bryan, Keith Urban and Maren Morris (May 5 in Austin, Tex.) and the iHeartRadio Music Festival, usually held in September in Las Vegas.

That arrangement didn't satisfy creditors, however. The deal still needs approval from the court and some holdout creditors, and the company could hear again from John Malone's Liberty Media LLC, which has said it wants a stake in the reorganized media giant. With the app, you can stream unlimited free music, and listen to several of the company's radio stations. The move reportedly would've created a unique synergy between iHeartMedia, Pandora, and SiriusXM.

In the second half of 2015, iHeartMedia shares lost three-quarters of their total value, from which it couldn't recover.

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In a press release, iHeartMedia also further explained the bankruptcy.

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