James Crystal Radio Group files for bankruptcy

By on Feb, 7 2014 with Comments 0

Chapter-11In late January, James Crystal Radio Group employees at News-Talker WFTL-AM 850 and sports Talk WMEN-AM 640 in South Florida said they had not been paid since 1/1, according to a Miami Herald story: “Gossip Extra has learned that the 75 or so employees of the stations, both owned by local radio pioneer Jim Hilliard’s James Crystal Radio Group, haven’t been paid since Jan. 1. Among the unfortunate workers: High-profile talkers Joyce Kaufman (850) and Sid Rosenberg (640).”

GM Steve Lapa told The Herald that the holder of a $17 million loan managed to freeze the group’s bank accounts, so there’s no cash coming out for things like payroll.

Now the company, including several others owned by Hilliard, have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (1/29). Liabilities are listed as between $10 million and $50 million.

In total, there are 100-199 creditors. Assets are between $1 million-$10 million.

On 2/3, The US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida granted emergency relief to fund the payroll up to 1/31.

Here is a partial list of creditors and what is owed to each:

Crystal-1

RBR-TVBR observation: If the stations end up getting sold in a liquidation, there are plenty of radio groups that may be interested. Cumulus, for one, doesn’t own any stations from West Palm Beach to Miami. WMEN is already airing WestwoodOne’s NBC Sports Radio Network. WFTL could be used to move over some WestwoodOne talent from another local station. It already airs WWO’s Michael Savage, Clark Howard and Herman Cain. Both stations command a good daytime coverage of South Florida:

WMEN coverage
WFTL coverage

About The Author: Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.

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