iHeartMedia, the parent company of iHeartRadio, the largest operator of radio stations in the U.S., may not survive another year in business, the company announced in a Thursday SEC filing.
“Management anticipates that our financial statements to be issued for the three months ended March 31, 2017, will include disclosure indicating there will be substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months following the date the first quarter 2017 financial statements are issued,” the statement said.
iHeartMedia, which was known as Clear Channel Communications until 2014, owns more than 850 AM and FM radio stations across the country which reach more than 110 million listeners every week. But as streaming music services like Pandora and Spotify emerged — and advertisers followed suit to those services, not to mention Google and Facebook — terrestrial radio stations have faced new challenges.
Further compounding issues, the company has more than $20 billion in long-term debt as of Dec. 31, most of it related to a 2008 leveraged buyout led by private equity firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners. Last month, iHeartMedia exchanged $476 million in notes due 2018 for debt maturing in 2021 — kicking the can down the road.
In addition to its radio stations, iHeartMedia owns Clear Channel’s old billboard business as well as other media entities such as Premiere Networks, which syndicates shows from popular talking heads including Rush Limbaugh, Steve Harvey, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.