Radio giant Cumulus files for bankruptcy protection

Atlanta-based Cumulus Media, which has substantial Indianapolis radio-station holdings, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday afternoon and said it had negotiated a restructuring agreement with some lenders to chop its $2.4 billion in debt by more than $1 billion.

The company says it expects operations at its more than 400 U.S. stations to continue as normal. In Indianapolis, those holdings include country powerhouse WFMS-FM 95.5, as well the classic hits station WJJK-FM 104.5 and WRWM-FM 93.9, which currently is broadcasting holiday music.

"The debt overhang left by previous years of underperformance remains a significant financial challenge that we must overcome for our operational turnaround to proceed," said CEO Mary Berner, who's held the post two years.

Many radio station operators, including San Antonio-based IHeartMedia and Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corp., have wrestled with excessive debt stemming from stations they acquired in the 1990s at lofty prices.

Radio advertising revenue has been under pressure for years amid the rise of digital competitors and more platforms for accessing music.

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