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
KXRM-TV Channel 21
KXTU-LP Channel 57
Freedom Communications Inc.
GateHouse Media Operating Inc.
La Junta Tribune Democrat
Telluride Daily Planet
Gray Television Inc.
KKTV-CBS Channel 11
KKCO-NBC Channel 11
ION Media Networks Inc.
KPXC Channel 59
MediaNews Group Inc.
The Denver Post
Regent Broadcasting LLC
KARS-FM (Oldies 102.9)
Salem Communications Holding Corp.
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.”