If More Deregulation, iHeart Would Look To Get Bigger


More from the Pittman/Bressler memo which ends with a note to iHeartMedia presidents about the need to be on the lookout for stations the company might purchase if more deregulation passes. Even though the company opposes deregulation, Pittman and Bressler believe that when the company fixes its balance sheet, which it is in the process of doing, it will be “the biggest buyer of additional stations.”

Here’s what they said…

“Finally, while we oppose this NAB proposal, if this measure passes at the FCC we may be forced to acquire more stations if this is the trend, and given our new capital structure we will potentially be the biggest buyer of additional stations. Division Presidents, Region Presidents, Market Presidents and Area Presidents, please be thinking about the stations in your markets that we might add to your portfolio.”

iHeartMedia, formerly Clear Channel, now has over 850 radio stations in nearly 150 markets. Back in 1996, when radio was first deregulated, then-CEO Lowry Mays was instrumental in the NAB’s support of deregulation. At the time, Clear Channel owned just over 100 stations, more than any other radio company at that time. Over the years, Clear Channel would gobble up some of radio’s biggest companies, growing them into the radio behemoth they are today.


  1. The above article fails to mention that iHeart (formerly Clear Channel) once owned over 1,200 stations and had to divest many of them in a “rightsizing” move. Considering that the company has had to “fix its balance sheet” (a euphemism for its bankruptcy), the last thing it needs to do is to be allowed to acquire more stations–and repeat the process. fyi, I testified at an FCC hearing against further consolidation several years ago. I demosntrated to the Commissioners the difficulty media buyers have to “buy around” a company that nearly monopolizes a demo in a given market.


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