October 3, 2015
Cumulus Radio’s biggest shareholder, Chairman Jeffrey Marcus made a tough call last week swapping out longtime CEO Lew Dickey for magazine industry honcho Mary Berner, who famously took Reader’s Digest Association through bankruptcy. (The Dickey family holds the second-largest block of Cumulus.)
That move has led to a swirl of gossip that bankruptcy court is the next stop for the No. 2 US radio station owner.
Marcus has been telling industry influencers that isn’t the case. And indeed, On the Money found private-equity folks who think there’s still some value to be extracted despite its $2.4 billion debt load.
Cumulus is the home of syndicated talk-radio star Michael Savage and New York station WPLJ.
Dickey’s chief creation of the past 18 months has been to invest in content that builds out of a radio-station concept.
He created the NASH FM/NASH ICON country music radio network and attempted to create a lifestyle portfolio around it. That included a music label with Taylor’s Swift’s Big Machine and released artists such as Reba McIntire. It published Country Weekly magazine, and a retail clothing line was on the horizon.
Don’t expect Cumulus to stand by its man, because the top gun is now a woman.
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