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Owner of Detroit's WJR-AM files for bankruptcy

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

The owner of Detroit news radio station WJR-AM (760) and two other radio stations in the metro area has filed for bankruptcy.

WJR in Detroit is the radio home for Paul W. Smith, Frank Beckmann, Guy Gordon and The Mitch Albom Show.

WJR Detroit studios inside the Fisher Building, January 3, 2017.


Atlanta-based Cumulus Media Inc. said it has voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Chapter 11 allows a company in bankruptcy to continue operating while its case moves through the court system.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Mary Berner, the company's president and CEO, said the company has worked over the last two years to reverse declines in ratings and revenue, but "the debt overhang left by previous years of underperformance remains a significant financial challenge that we must overcome for our operational turnaround to proceed.” 

She also said the bankruptcy is necessary to meet terms of an agreement the company has with some of its creditors to implement a financial restructuring to reduce its debt by more than $1 billion.

In Metro Detroit, Cumulus-owned stations include WDVD-FM (96.3) and NASH-FM (93.1). It also owns stations in Ann Arbor, Flint, Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Saginaw.

Cumulus has 446 owned-and-operated stations in 90 U.S. media markets as well as 8,000 radio stations affiliated with its Westwood One network and numerous digital channels. 

It's not clear whether the bankruptcy will mean job cuts. But the company said on its website it will "continue to be open for business as usual ... As we have been saying over the last several weeks, our operations are strong and programming and sales will continue as normal across our family of stations and Westwood One affiliates."

A WJR official declined to comment and referred calls to Cumulus.