Failing financials forces iHeartMedia to sell its towers to Vertical Bridge and Salem Media to sell its property

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator


Salem Media is hoping in the first quarter of 2024 to sell its four-array tower site near Sarasota, Florida for $9.5 million. It might help to buoy its financials. The deal may not be able to help the broadcaster from being delisted from the Nasdaq exchange in December.

iHeartMedia, the nation’s largest owner of AM and FM properties, released its Q3 results last week, and its consolidated revenue decreased $35.9 million or 3.6% during the three months ended September 30, 2023.

Analysts expected a higher amount, but the primary reason for the improvement was a one-time income injection: $45.3 million in cash proceeds from the sale of 122 tower sites, which were used to lower iHeart’s outstanding debt of $5.229 billion. Lease-back agreements were negotiated for the sites.

iHeart did not identify who acquired the structures, but it was likely Boca Raton, Florida-based Vertical Bridge.

In December 2014, iHeart announced a deal to sell an undisclosed group — approximately 400 towers, according to a Wireless Estimator source — of its radio towers to Vertical Bridge for up to $400 million. In April 2015, the first tranche of towers was sold for $369 million.

Vertical Bridge did not respond to a request for additional information.

Salem sees salvation in selling its AM tower site property

Christian and conservative-centric media company Salem Media’s Q3 showed that revenue decreased 5.0% to $63.5 million from $66.9 million. Total operating expenses increased 31.9% to $99.8 million from $75.6 million. 

The broadcaster, who was one of the partners for the third Republican Presidential Primary Debate that was held on November 8 in Miami, has been selling assets to reduce its debt. 

In September, it signed an agreement to sell an AM station and its companion FM translator in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida market to Solmart Media for $700,000.

Another Florida asset sale on the horizon is selling the property of its AM tower site in Sarasota for $9.5 million.

The sale of the approximately 30-acre tract that currently has the four-tower array of “930 The Answer,” WLSS Sarasota, is pending zoning approval for multi-family housing.

Salem Media’s stock (SALM) lost 21% of its value today, closing at $0.60. It is at risk of being delisted on the Nasdaq exchange after receiving a notice in June that it had 180 calendar days to get a minimum bid price of $1.00 per share for at least ten consecutive business days.