Friday, December 11, 2009

Citadel Broadcasting Prepares for Bankruptcy

Citadel Broadcasting, the third-largest radio broadcasting company in the United States, is preparing a prearranged bankruptcy filing. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported that Citadel's proposal was presented to lenders this week and that major lenders JPMorgan Chase and General Electric's GE Capital are already supporting the plan.

Under the terms of the deal, Citadel would reduce its debt from $2 billion to $760 million, in exchange for handing over 99.5% of the equity in the reorganized company to its creditors. Lenders have until Tuesday to agree to the proposal, and Citadel plans to file for bankruptcy by the end of the year.

Citadel's financial problems resulted in part from its acquisition of Disney's ABC Radio stations in 2006. Another contributing factor was the death of radio legend Paul Harvey in Feb. 2009. Harvey's programs, syndicated by ABC Radio Networks, provided Citadel with steady income as it struggled with its increased debt load and declining advertising revenues.

NPR Launches New Mobile Platform

National Public Radio (NPR) has launched a new mobile platform powered by Conmio. The Finnish-based mobile technology company provided the software platform, design, and audio services for NPR Mobile Web. The redesigned and expanded site delivers an improved user experience, including better audio, navigation, and interactive tools. 

Conmio's software, ManaGate®, is customized and adaptable for each online service provider, offering mobile service management and device-detection frameworks. For NPR Mobile Web, this feature ensures smooth audio for all compatible web-enabled mobile devices.

The NPR Mobile Web enhancements include: 
  • "Station Finder" feature: Users can search for stations by ZIP Code, call letters, or city and state, and can flag multiple favorite stations, an improvement over the NPR iPhone app's equivalent feature, which provides a ZIP Code search option only.
  • Better audio experience: Audio links can now be streamed directly within the device browser, a revolutionary change from the former “click to call” feature, providing superior audio quality as well as availability in a wider range of formats: AAC, MP3, WMA, and RM.
  • More station audio: Audio links to live streams, podcasts, RSS feeds, and newscasts are all available on the new service, a feature previously possible only with the NPR iPhone app.
  • Station newscasts: All station newscasts listed in StationConnect will be available via the relaunched service. Station newscasts added to StationConnect will propagate immediately and automatically, providing listeners with continuous access to the latest content.
As consumers rely more and more on their mobile devices for accessing news, information and entertainment, it is critical that the technology delivers the best user experience also with rich media, said Tero Hamalainen, CEO of Conmio. “Known for its innovative, thought-provoking programming, NPR continues to set the standard for radio. We are pleased they turned to Conmio to extend that same level of technology innovation and quality to their mobile offerings.