Now that we’ve heard from Cumulus CEO Mary Berner that, operationally, the company has turned the corner, what about the debt issue? That was another topic we discussed with the two-year Cumulus CEO in our interview that will appear in the October 9 issue of Radio Ink Magazine. Cumulus has about $2 billion debt. The company has repeatedly reported to Wall Street that it is “exploring all available options with a focus on maintaining the momentum of the turnaround effort.” Here’s what Berner had to say to us about that debt.
Radio Ink: How are you feeling about the Cumulus debt issue?
Berner: We continue to look at options. It doesn’t affect our employees, it doesn’t affect our strategy, or what we do day-to-day, or our optimism about the fact we have turned the corner. It’s something, however, that we need to fix, and we need to do it with minimal disruption, and so that is what we are doing.
Radio Ink: Do you feel confident it will be fixed in time?
Berner: Not sure what you mean by “in time,” but yes, it will be fixed.
Radio Ink: Is there any chance Cumulus will sell off any stations in the next six months to a year?
Berner: That is not our plan. Is there any chance? There’s always a chance, but honestly, that’s not in the cards right now.
Radio Ink: Is there enough time to turn around the company?
Berner: Yes. We just posted a growth for the first time in three years. As I said, we fixed the fundamentals, we have built a solid platform for growth, and we have positive momentum. We are doing this in a down market. We have new products that will continue to support that momentum.
The key challenges are no longer operational. The key challenge is that we have a balance sheet with too much debt. Once that is fixed, we will have a solid company, because operationally the company is in a good place. We turned the corner. That doesn’t mean smooth sailing forever, but it means we were able to change what was a downward trajectory (and the momentum of that), which is a milestone.
To subscribe to Radio Ink in time to receive our October 9 issue which includes our Best Managers in Radio list GO HERE