200 East Basse Road
San Antonio, Texas 78209-8328
[source – Electro Area Youtube Channel]
iHeartMedia has become a major force in the mass media industry. It was founded under Clear Channel Communications when they purchased their first radio station in 1972. Today, iHeartMedia Inc. is the parent company of iHeartMedia Capital I, Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings (CCO) as well as iHeartMedia (IHRT) .
iHeartMedia has the largest impact of any media platform in America, reaching 245 million monthly listeners through radio. Their reach expands to 150 different markets and ownership of 850 stations. iHeartRadio is a digital platform to listen to all iHeartMedia stations . The company proves to be very successful in the digital radio space. In 2014, Clear Channel Media formally changed its name to iHeartMedia. CEO Bob Pittman states, “The new name will reflect the company’s multi-platform presence and ability to embrace innovation and new technology” . This name change allows the company to align itself with the iHeartRadio name that consumers are familiar with. iHeartRadio is responsible for many live music events throughout the year, such as the Jingle Ball national tour, iHeartRadio Music Festival and iHeartRadio Awards.
Radio is a still huge media outlet and continues to reach 91% of Americans ages 12+ each week . As of January 2016, iHeartRadio has 80 million register users and total listening hours grew by 30% . iHeartRadio has coined deals with some of the most well known on-air personalities such as Ryan Seacrest and Elvis Duran of New York’s Z100. Seacrest hosts of LA’s number one morning stations, 102.7 KISS-FM. He also hosts nationally syndicated programming with the broadcasts of On Air with Ryan Seacrest and American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest .
The iHeartRadio website and app provides “Live Radio“, allowing listeners to listen live to over 858 stations. They also provide “For You“, a feature that suggests stations based on the users preferred selection of genres. Finally, “Artist Radio” is a custom made station with songs by an artist selected by the listener and related music .
Right Here, Right Now: Financial Woes
Recently, iHeartMedia has been making headlines for their massive debt reported at the end of 2015. The company is reported to have approximately $20.6 billion of debt . In 2008 the company was bought by private equity firms Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners for $28 billion in a leveraged buyout. The buyout came during the economic recession and it was expected that in the coming years iHeartRadio would profit greatly . However since 2008, iHeartMedia has been battling to pay off debt.
Also on March 8th, many bondholders became displeased with iHeartMedia’s executive decision to move $500 million in assets to a subsidiary. As a result bondholders filed notices of default. These bondholders argue that in transferring their shares of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. to Broader Media LLC, iHeartMedia violated debt agreements. This was done in an attempt to clear up some of their massive debt .
In a press release issued on March 8th, iHeartMedia announced they filed a lawsuit in State District Court in Bear County Texas to prove their transfer of shares was done legally . On behalf of the company, Chief Communications Officer Wendy Goldberg states, “We believe our recent contribution of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. stock to our subsidiary Broader Media LLC constituted a permitted investment under, and fully complied with, our financing agreements” .
On March 10th, iHeartMedia was granted a temporary restraining order which rescinds the default noticed filed against the company. Moving forward, iHeartMedia and the bondholders, who issued the default notices, will have a court hearing before a judge. This hearing may determine how iHeartMedia will move froward in paying off their $20.6 billion in debt .
The trial regarding this matter is set to take place in a Texas state court on May 16, 2106. The shares in question are valued at $1.2 billion  .On April 25, 2016. iHeartMedia Inc.’s stock (IHRT) closed at $1.18 per share. This is a major drop in price compared to June 2015, when it was selling for $7.50 per share. Subsidiary, Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings also saw a drop in stock price from a year ago. It closed at $4.88 as opposed to its price of $11.21 seen in April 2015 . In their Fourth Quarter and Full Year Report iHeartMedia stated a 3% revenue increase to $1.8 billion .
iHeartMedia’s Place in Political Advertising
On February 16th, iHeartMedia announced Brendon DelToro has been appointed to Vice President For Political Strategy. DelToro will aid in managing iHeartMedia’s relations with candidates and other political organizations. This year the company plans to have an iHeartMedia Campaign 2016 Command Center to keep track of over 2,000 elections in 150 markets. Brendon’s role will be to merge the political sales teams across iHeartMedia’s broad market reach . The goal of iHeartMedia’s engagement with the political campaign is to allow political and advocacy groups to have access to iHeart’s 80 million users.
iHeartMedia is also planning on capitalizing on the 2016 election by having advertisers pay to place ads via radio rather than the traditional TV route. Candidates strive to target specific demographics, which is getting more difficult to do through traditional TV. Digital radio platforms, specially iHeartMedia can provide campaigns with data that is relevant for targeting the key audiences .
Continuing Their Place in the Entertainment Industry
Despite their well known debt and pending court hearings, iHeartMedia continues to hold their place in the music and entertainment industry.
On social media the iHeartRadio Awards generated 115 billion impressions. This number includes the promotional period of the show throughout the television broadcast. This massive number of engagements far exceeds that of other popular award shows such as the MTV Video Music Awards. Chris Williams, Chief Product Officer credits the shows success to the fan engagement and radio personalities involvement .
This summer, iHeartRadio will also be hosting their iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party. Tickets to this exclusive event at Miami’s Fontainebleau will be given to listeners across the country through on-air contests. This years lineup will feature Kygo, Flo Rida, DNCE and Jason Derulo . Seasonal concert events such as the iHeartRadio Pool Party and Jingle Ball Tours are proven to boost listenership across iHeartRadio stations nationwide.
iHeartMedia is a well respected entertainment company but struggles with being profitable, due to its burdensome debt servicing obligations. Looking ahead, iHeartMedia’s debt crisis and battle with bondholders will have an effect on the financial future of the company. Overall, iHeartMedia remains competitive in the digital radio industry against companies such as Spotify and Pandora providing similar services.
 iHeartMedia Corporate. iheartmedia.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “The Largest U.S. Radio Operator Is Saddled With $20 Billion Debt”. bloomberg.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 iHeartMedia Our Team. iheartmedia.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “iHeartMedia hires Moelis to tackle debt burden”. newsdaily.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “iHeartMedia, Lenders in Fight Over Disputed Share Transfer”. bloomberg.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “iHeartMedia, Inc. Responds to Lender Group Allegation”. Businesswire.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “iHeartMedia Names Brandon DelToro Vice President for Political Strategy”. iheartmedia.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “Inside iHeartMedia Strategy to Steal Presidential Ad Dollars From TV” adage.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “Clear Channel Rebrands As iHeartMedia” adage.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “Coming, the collapse of radio’s iHeartMedia”. Medialifemagazine.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “Court Rescinds Default Notices Against iHeartMedia”. Insideradio.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “iHeartMedia Default Fight Set to Go to Trial” wsj.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “2016 iHeartRadio Music Awards Social Engagement Captures 115 Billion Impressions Across U.S.” broadwayworld.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “iHeartMedia Loses A Director, Gets More Time To Resolve Its Massive Debt Problems” billboard.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “iHeartRadio Is Throwing Miami’s Biggest Pool Party of the Year With Flo-Rida, Kygo and More” miaminewtimes.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “Ryan Seacrest Inks New Mega Deal with iHeartMedia” hollywoodreporter.com, retrieved April 23, 2016
 iHeartRadio. iheartradio.com, retrieved April 23, 2016
 iHeartMedia Investors. iheartmedia.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 iHRT Stock Price. Google.com/ihrt+stock+price, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 “Has iHeartMedia Defaulted on Debt?” uk.finance.yahoo.com, Retrieved April 23, 2016
 iHeartMedia Sizzle Reel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6pQXJ0jHO8P9ih4rPRh8Kg, Retrieved April 24,2016
 Photo Brendon DelToro. allaccess.com, Retrieved April 24, 2016
 “Why Radio Fact Sheet”. rab.com, Retrieved April 24, 2016