NEW YORK — IHeartMedia, one of the world's largest radio companies, is seeking bankruptcy protection as part of an agreement with its lenders to reduce debt it took on to become a privately held company.
In Colorado, iHeart owns 24 stations in Colorado, including KOA-AM in Denver, five in Colorado Springs and three in Pueblo (see list below).
The company formerly known as Clear Channel Communications said Thursday that it will operate its businesses as usual while it restructures its finances under Chapter 11 protection to reduce debt by more than $10 billion.
IHeartMedia, which is based in San Antonio, operates 858 broadcast radio stations. It also runs big live events such as the iHeartRadio Music awards.
Though iHeartMedia has a large online presence and its iHeartRadio app is popular for streaming music, it faces stiff competition from Spotify, Apple Music and other online streaming services.
Still, the reason for the company's financial problems is primarily its massive debt, which it amassed when private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital led a buyback of publicly held shares to take the company private in 2008. IHeartMedia had warned in 2016 that it had reached an impasse with lenders.
IHeartMedia Inc. said its billboard subsidiary, Clear Channel Outdoor, isn't part of the bankruptcy proceedings.
IHeart owns the following stations in the Colorado Springs/Pueblo region: Colorado Springs
KIBT-FM (96.1 The Beat)
KVUU-FM (My 99.9)
KKLI-FM (Sunny 106.3)
KPBI-FM (Z 107.9)
KPHT-FM (KPHT 95.5)
KCSJ-AM (560 KCSJ)
KDZA-AM (Fox Sports Pueblo-1350)