Media Beat: March 07, 2018

By David Farrell

iHeart bankruptcy proposal would erase $14.8B of debt as lenders extend deadline

According to various US news reports, investors in San Antonio-based iHeartMedia Inc. have agreed to give the troubled radio station giant more time to work out the final details of an agreement that will allow it to wipe out most of its debt in bankruptcy.

The new proposal filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday would reduce the company’s debt from $20.6B as of Sept. 30 to just under $5.8B under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan. Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, the company’s billboard subsidiary, would be spun off on its own as part of the deal. Bondholders would receive stock in Clear Channel as well as a mix of equity in the newly recapitalized iHeart.


The company, which owns 850 radio stations, had until this past weekend to make good on a $106M bond payment or trigger accelerated repayment on bonds issued in 2008.

According to Bloomberg News sources, John Malone’s Liberty Media has emerged as a possible white knight, proposing a tie-up with Sirius XM Holdings Inc. to sponsor iHeart through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in exchange for a 40 percent stake in the reorganized company.

National media honoured at 2018 Canadian Screen Awards

CBC was the big winner on the first of several gala nights for this year's Canadian Screen Awards.

The public broadcaster won 18 awards at Tuesday's Toronto gala, which honoured winners in 50 categories for non-fiction programming.

Seven of the CBC awards were for news talent, including Heather Hiscox of CBC News Network, who won best national news anchor.

Gillian Findlay of "The Fifth Estate" was named best host or interviewer in a news or information program or series.

"The Fifth Estate" also won best news or information series.

Andrew Chang, who is now a co-host on "The National," took the trophy for best local news anchor for CBC's "British Columbia Votes."


CBC did not win best national newscast, though -- that honour went to "CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme."

CTV took 10 trophies in total, for programs including "The Amazing Race Canada," which won four awards – CP

Winners by category in the 2018 Canadian Podcast Awards

Does the term "can-con" mean anything to you? Perhaps your memory can reach back to the 1968 establishment of the CRTC...or maybe your brain just gets flooded with earworms by Bryan Adams (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Much like our ever-present predecessor "the radio" (if you remember it), the podcast world is flooded with content from around the globe. It's time we took a stand* and recognized our homegrown talent. Canadians have been pumping out pods and casts for well over a decade now, and we're pretty good at it. Time to celebrate!

The Branding of Steve Jones: Matt Cundill’s ‘Sound Off’ Podcast

This week's guest is Steve Jones, author of the books, Brand like a Rockstar and Start You Up: Rock Star Secrets to Unleash your Personal Brand and Set your Career on Fire. Steve has had an impressive career ranging from Boston to the Cayman Islands, down to the most competitive markets in Canada from Halifax to Edmonton, where he has worked with brands like Q104 and K97; he currently serves as the VP of Branding & Content at Newcap Radio.


Steve tells us all about the great promotions, professional imaging, and stellar talent that come into play when building a strong radio brand. Steve has been behind some impressive campaigns, like the "Male is in the Cheque" promo, which delivered a fresh take on stereotypes about mail-order brides, and the "Win a Baby Contest" that not only literally created life, but also pulled attention to widespread challenges with conception. In his current role, he continues to stand behind the talent that brings such stellar content to life. He explains that the big secret to managing "Challenging" Talent (spoiler alert!) is moving beyond the reputation and actually getting to know them. Go figure!


In this episode, Steve also reflects on some controversial moments in his career -- top of mind was the Quick Hitz debacle on Amp 90.3 in 2014. You know the one. It's the kind of controversy that caught the eyes and ears (and tweets) of pretty much everyone in the industry, from radio talent, to listeners, to musicians, to producers, right down to the mainstream press and back again. The crux of the controversy -- which I'll repeat, has now long since past, given that the format only lasted about three weeks -- was a radio format that edited songs down to half their original length, which resulted in more exposure to individual songs (or parts of them), ads half the length, and royalties to a greater number of musicians. While the goal may have been to keep listeners, especially those with short attention spans, engaged; the result was a host of musicians threatening legal action against the station and a whirlwind of mixed reviews – continue reading here, and listen to the podcast below.

Audio marketing will gain on video

As devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo become more common, social music will blossom in homes around the world. According to research from Nielsen, audio advertising might boast the highest return on investment of any format. For every $1 spent on audio advertising, studied brands saw $6 in sales increases within one month of listeners hearing their ads. No one will listen to Spotify playlists full of sales jingles, but if people’s ears continue to guide their wallets, brands can’t afford to stay silent – Dara Treseder, Ad Week

YouTube may be Google's most potent weapon against Facebook

If you factor in viewers who are younger than 18 and people who are older than 18 that are watching YouTube on their smart TV's or via media streamers such as Roku's boxes, the total time US consumers spent on the streaming giant's site was about 6 billion hours a month, he calculated.


And unlike Facebook's viewership, YouTube's is growing – Troy Wolverton, Business Insider

Céline Dion in 'I Am : Céline Dion'
Prime Video

Céline Dion in 'I Am : Céline Dion'

Tv Film

Céline Dion Calls Prime Video Documentary 'A Love Letter To My Fans' In a Message at Her Montreal Premiere

The Quebec artist is as vulnerable as ever in 'I Am: Céline Dion,' which premiered on June 17 before its official release on June 25. Here's what we learned from the sneak peek of the film, which is raw and vulnerable and sometimes hard to watch.

The Maisonneuve Theatre in Montreal was packed to celebrate Quebec's national treasure, Céline Dion.

Monday evening, June 17, Prime Video organized a handful of previews of Irene Taylor's highly anticipated documentary I Am: Céline Dion. In Montreal, where Billboard Canada was among the guests, many people came to attend the special screening.

keep readingShow less