Moody’s flags owners of Denver Post, 17 Colorado media outlets as default risks

MediaNews Group and seven national communications giants that own the Denver Post, Colorado Springs Gazette and 16 Colorado-based newspapers, television channels and radio stations were named Tuesday to the “U.S. Bottom Rung” list — a rogues’ gallery of media corporations most likely to default on their debt.

Credit-rating firm Moody’s has declared the debt ratings and financial outlook of 26 national communications firms — including news outlets, magazine publishers, movie cinemas and broadcast channels — as at or near junk status and most at risk. The closing of the Rocky Mountain News by E.W. Scripps Co. on Feb. 27 and high-profile layoffs at local newspapers and broadcasters has left the public and free speech advocates spooked.

The Colorado-based outlets of the national media corporations on the list reach far and wide across the state:

Barrington Broadcasting Group LLC
Colorado Springs/Pueblo
KXRM-TV Channel 21
KXTU-LP Channel 57

Freedom Communications Inc.
Colorado Springs
The Gazette

GateHouse Media Operating Inc.
La Junta
La Junta Tribune Democrat

Telluride Daily Planet

Gray Television Inc.
Colorado Springs/Pueblo
KKTV-CBS Channel 11

Grand Junction
KKCO-NBC Channel 11

ION Media Networks Inc.
KPXC Channel 59

MediaNews Group Inc.
The Denver Post

Regent Broadcasting LLC
Laramie, WY
KARS-FM (Oldies 102.9)

Cheyenne, WY


KTRR-FM (Tri-105)


Salem Communications Holding Corp.
KBJD 1650-AM
KRKS 94.7-FM

The Wall Street Journal surmises that Santa’s bad media list is a bit of credit crisis CYA:

“Sounds like Moody’s may be trying to get out in front on defaults, given they were perhaps a little behind on subprime mortgages and commercial mortgage-backed securities,” said David Resnick, managing director at investment banking firm Rothschild Inc. which works on many corporate bankruptcies and restructurings.

Moody’s and credit-rating rival Standard & Poor’s Corp., were criticized by the Senate in hearings late last year about the effectiveness of the ratings agencies.

Reuters also notes the firm’s rediscovered watchdog bark may be a little too aggressive for some: “The Journal also says Moody’s enters risky territory by naming some companies that say they are in, as the paper put it, decent fiscal health.”

h/t The Minnesota Independent

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Wendy Norris

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