iHeartMedia Files for Bankruptcy

After years of battling a growing debt, radio conglomerate iHeartMedia filed of bankruptcy late Wednesday afternoon.

Variety reports that the company reached an agreement with the holders of more than $10 billion of its cumulative debt.

"The agreement we announced today is a significant accomplishment, as it allows us to definitively address the more than $20 billion in debt that has burdened our capital structure," CEO Bob Pittman said in a statement. "Achieving a capital structure that finally matches our impressive operating business will further enhance iHeartMedia's position as America's #1 audio company."

Founded as Clear Channel Communications in 1972, the company is the largest radio media corporation in the country with more than 850 stations to its name, along with the iHeartRadio music streaming service and 90 percent of the Clear Channel Outdoor billboard company.

The company had reportedly been dealing with a $20 billion debt following a leveraged buyout in 2008. Some of the companies it owes money to include Nielsen ($20 million), Universal Music Group ($1.3 million), Spotify ($2.1 million), Warner Music Group ($3.9 million) and SoundExchange ($6.4 million).

"What they've done to try to stay afloat is financial engineering," Debtwire analyst Seth Crystall said. "There's no reason to file for bankruptcy until you have to... but we're at that point."

But Crystall also assured that users of iHeartRadio will not notice a difference in day-to-day usage.

"They're not shutting down," Crystall said. "They're going to pay their bills. If you were listening to iHeartRadio, or going to iHeart concerts, you will not even know the difference."

The company held the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards at The Forum in Inglewood, California on Sunday. Ed Sheeran walked away with the most awards of any artist that night, winning Song of the Year for "Shape of You," Male Artist of the Year, Pop Album of the Year and Most Thumbed Up Song.

The show received for notable backlash for its nominations this year, specifically for nominating only one female artist across the show's three country music awards (Lauren Alaina for Best New Country Artist, which she lost to Luke Combs).

Singer Cam voiced her outrage over the decision a month before the show actually took place.


"The majority of country listeners are female (actually true) but apparently we prefer listening male singers so we can 'dream about them being [our] boyfriend' (actually said to me)," Cam wrote, responding to a tweet asking who followers thought would win the Artist of the Year award (won by Thomas Rhett). "Sure hope #iHeartAwards picks the hottest one, cause that's all my lady-brain can understand!"

Photo: Facebook/@iheartradio