Radio Giant Citadel Broadcasting Plans Huge Bankruptcy
Larger rival Clear Channel recently restructured its debt, which was at one time $20 billion. Citadel's flagship station, WABC radio, is the home of Don Imus (pictured) and Rush Limbaugh, two of the most successful broadcasters of the last quarter century. Even with an impressive stable of talent, Citadel couldn't bring in the revenue necessary to keep its head above water.
Attempts by the radio industry to bring back its fleeing audience are unlikely to be successful. Satellite radio may not be a financial success, but Sirius XM (SIRI) does have close to 20 million subscribers. More people use iPods and internet radio to get access to music, and the Internet has replaced radio, TV and print as the preferred medium for news among a large audience that wants to get information when they want it, not on the "clock" that most radio stations use.
Radio isn't dead, and may never be. But it's wounded enough that it may never be even modestly profitable again.
Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.