Audacy ‘Bankruptcy’ Blog Post Riles CEO of Radio Company – Billboard

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Radio and podcast giant Audacy, Inc. is considering legal action against a New York University professor over a blog post that says Audacy’s chief executive has confirmed the company is in bankruptcy, according to an internal memo seen by Billboard.

In the memo, the president and CEO of Audacy David Champ said the title of the message – “David Field confirms Audacy’s bankruptcy” – was false. The article, written by Jerry Del Collianowas published Tuesday on the Del Colliano website, Inside Music Media.

“This statement is categorically and unequivocally false,” Field wrote in the memo, which has been verified by a spokesperson. “Audacy intends to pursue all applicable remedies for false and defamatory statements intended to cause harm to Audacy, its employees and its stakeholders to the fullest extent of the law.”

The company issued a similar statement on its official Twitter account tuesday. A spokesperson for Audacy declined to comment beyond those two statements.

The pandemic and the current uncertain economic outlook have impacted Audacy’s advertising revenue, Field said during a recent earnings call. The company recently completed a series of layoffs in which the company laid off approximately 5% of its staff.

Collectively, the stock prices of the four radio companies – iHeartMedia, Audacy, Cumulus Media and Townsquare Media – suffered during the market downturn in the first half of the year, losing an average of 48.9%. iHeartMedia and Audacy fell 62.5% and 63.4%, respectively. Cumulus Media, which rejected a takeover bid in May, and Townsquare Media fared better with declines of 31.3% and 38.6%, respectively.

Del Colliano defended his article, saying it focused on a memo Field wrote in 2018 about the bankruptcy of iHeartMedia.

According to the memo, that Del Colliano Links to in his post, Field wrote that iHeart and Cumulus Media “made ill-advised decisions by taking their companies too much into debt.”

“The best defense is the truth, and I have the truth,” said Del Colliano, a professor at NYU’s Steinhardt Music Business Program. “He has an underperforming business confirmed by his stock price, his approximately $1.8 billion in debt, his inability to match pre-pandemic revenue and the turnover he has in the business in terms of employees leaving alone.”

In the early 2000s, Del Colliano was sued by Clear Channel Communications in Manhattan federal court for articles published on its Inside Radio platform. Del Colliano counter-sued, and the case was eventually settled out of court in a deal that involved Clear Channel’s acquisition of Inside Radio for an undisclosed sum.

If this new case were to go to court, Del Colliano said, “all we have to prove is that we put the story in there and tweeted it, and people can read themselves”.

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