It takes a lot of listener donations to take on $3.5 million of debt and liabilities. That’s how far in the hole the owner of New York City’s 87.7 FM The Pulse found itself when the company, Mega Media Group, filed for bankruptcy last week. Loyal RadioSurvivor readers might recall that The Pulse is actually a low-power TV station operating on channel 6, which butts up against the left end of the FM dial, making its audio channel heard on most radios at 87.7 FM.
Last month I wrote about the quasi pledge drive that The Pulse held to try and stave off financial disaster. I found irony in the station begging for donations given that it’s commercial station run by a for-profit corporation. As it turns out, it’s for-profit in name only, since Mega Media Group only lists assets worth $180,000, less than half of the $414,000 it owes the IRS.
There’s been no report of how much The Pulse listeners donated. The station held a “87.7 is Alive Celebration” on July 24, with all proceeds from the event going to “keeping the radio station alive.” But the New York Daily News reports that the station announced that it didn’t need the donations after all. Maybe the company’s management figured out that taking listener’s money might mess up their bankruptcy plans?
It’s difficult to draw any generalizations from The Pulse’s bankruptcy. While finding a backdoor into the country’s largest radio market via a low-power TV station might be cheaper than buying an existing station, that doesn’t mean it comes without cost or risk. And, as I noted before, we don’t know to what extent management fumbled the ball, either. There were apparently plans to launch a record label in concert with the station. At this point it’s hard to know which is the worse business to get into right now, commercial radio or records.
Mega Media Group filed for chapter 11 protection, which means it’s hoping to reorganize. Presumably, the station will remain on air in the meantime.
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