iHeartMedia Files Claim Against Cumulus

Debt attributed to Westwood One programming spots and airing of Premiere Networks programs
By Randy J. Stine ,

Even a fellow broadcaster is trying to collect money from Cumulus during its stop in Chapter 11.

iHeartMedia Inc. last week filed a claim in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, seeking nearly $186,000 from Cumulus for services provided by some of its radio stations and Premiere Networks.

Cumulus Media entered a prearranged bankruptcy proceeding last November with hopes the voluntary Chapter 11 court-supervised filing will trim its debt by just over $1 billion.

iHeartMedia says Cumulus owes it for commercial spots placed by Westwood One Radio Network, which is owned by Cumulus, on a number of iHeartMedia radio stations, including WYNR(FM), WHFX(FM) and WQGA(FM) in Brunswick, Ga., according to filings in the docket summary for the bankruptcy proceeding. iHeartMedia also seeks payment for spots Westwood One placed on iHeartMedia stations in Houston and Dallas.

In addition, Premiere Networks, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of iHeartMedia, seeks “ratings bonus money” for its “Steve Harvey Morning Show,” which is distributed by Premiere but carried on some Cumulus radio stations, including WRBO(FM) in Memphis, Tenn., and WMGU(FM) in Fayetteville, N.C. Premiere seeks $25,000 and $3,250 respectively from the stations.

According to court records Premiere also wants $5,000 in “ratings bonus money” for its “Brooke & Jubal in the Morning” show, which airs on Cumulus-owned KKMG(FM) in Pueblo, Colo.

The unsecured claim filing by iHeartMedia joins nearly 100 other claims against Cumulus, which was carrying $2.3 billion in debt prior to the November 2017 filing. Cumulus hopes to emerge from Chapter 11 by late May.

Cumulus has a key court date set for Feb. 1, when Judge Shelly C. Chapman will preside over a disclosure statement hearing to determine the possible approval of the Cumulus disclosure statement. Right now the broadcaster’s reorganization plan calls for about 83.5% of the new company, once it emerges from Chapter 11, to be held by lenders that now hold over $1.7 billion of the company’s debt. The “Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors” thinks the official lenders settlement is too generous, according to court records.

Members of the unsecured creditors committee include Enticent LLC (dba as Triton Digital), U.S. Bank National Association, Angelo Gordon Super Fund, Ivy High Income Fund, EJS Investment Holdings, Caitlin Ferrari and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.