Radio ad sales firm goes bust

October 24, 2008

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Radio ad sales firm goes bust

By Matthew Flamm

Published: October 24, 2008 - 5:36 pm

Interep, the largest independent national radio sales representative firm, is shutting down.

According to the Web site, layoffs will begin next week at the New York-based company and a court-appointed trustee will be charged with selling the firm or its assets.

Calls to Interep’s offices were not returned.

The latest victim of the advertising downturn and the long term decline in radio ad sales had been in Chapter 11 since March.

A bankruptcy court in May had approved a reorganization plan for the company and a $50 million loan backed by its principal debt-holders, which included Oaktree Capital Management.

Oaktree announced it would not take over the failing company, pushing Interep into Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidation.

The company’s collapse leaves CBS Radio, the firm’s largest client, without national sales representation.

“We’re looking for alternate representation strategies,” a CBS Radio spokeswoman said.

The sole remaining national radio sales rep firm, Katz Media Group, is owned by the No. 1 radio operator and CBS rival, Clear Channel Communications.

“This is not disastrous [for CBS], but it’s darned inconvenient,” said Robert Unmacht of iN3 Partners, a radio consulting firm. “I wouldn’t be surprised if CBS created its own rep firm to do national representation.”

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