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New radio station owner driven by deep hate for iHeartRadio

Meanwhile, iHeartMedia $20 billion in debt, bankrupt

“I believe they helped ruin the radio industry,” says La Jolla’s Marc Paskin, a former radio station owner, about iHeartMedia, the media group that owns billboards, promotes concerts, and owns 850 radio stations nationwide, including seven in San Diego.

On March 15, iHeart, formerly known as Clear Channel, went bankrupt. It was not a surprise to many of the 100-plus local employees who work at the seven iHeart stations, Rock 105.3, KGB, Channel 9-3-3, My 94.1, Jam’n 95.7, XTRA Sports and KOGO. “They told us in a video conference call not to worry, and that none of us would lose our jobs,” says one of the local employees. “But of course they aren’t going to tell those of us they think are non-essential that we won’t be here in 30 to 60 days.”

The Chapter 11 filing was due to a debt of over $20 billion that the San Antonio-based company had carried for almost ten years. Paskin was a Top 40 DJ in radio’s golden years in the 60s and 70s before he built a sizable residential real estate portfolio. He says he would love to acquire one of the iHeart stations if America’s largest radio group ends up spinning off some local assets.

Paskin bought an FM station in Denver three years ago called Smokin’ 94.1. “It was basically a classic rock station with a cannibis gimmick. Pot had just been made legal in Colorado.” Paskin put himself on the air as afternoon DJ Gary Ganja. He wore a dreadlock wig when TV cameras dropped by. “Most of the Denver TV stations did a piece on us. The New York Times did a story on us.”

But a stroke , which impaired his mobility but not his mind, compelled Paskin to sell Smokin 94.1 six months later. “I sold it for $850,000 to iHeart. I made about $50,000 on the deal.”

Now Paskin says it may be a good time to retake some local radio real estate if a bankruptcy judge tells iHeart to divest. “Properties of radio stations have really gone down. The Loop [WLUP-FM] in Chicago just sold for $21 million. Ten years ago it was worth $250 million. That’s a 90 percent drop.”

Paskin says he would be interested in a local station if it was available for $5 million or so. If he were to retake the airwaves, he says, he may launch a ‘60s oldies station. “No one else locally is playing the Beatles, Stones, and Beach Boys... I’d like to bring back fun and local personality. The reason DSC [Dave Shelly and Chainsaw] do so well in the ratings is because they are live and local.”

Paskin says his hoped for ‘60s station may use retro Top 40 DJs like Shotgun Tom Kelly. But he admits the oldies-but-goodies may not make him rich. “As a businessman, of course I would like it to make money. But if I did this, it would be more like a labor of love.”

He’s certain he couldn’t do any worse than iHeart. “The reason music stations are doing so poorly now is partly because of technology... Pandora and Spotify. Especially with younger people. They are building some cars now without a radio. You get a computer screen with 500 options. But another part of the reason radio sucks so bad now is because of iHeart.”

He says iHeart is famous for replacing live DJs with automated voice tracks. “They took the creativity out of radio. They are all a bunch of zombies. But people still want to hear local DJs.”

Paskin, who was known for posting a billboard in Barrio Logan in 2012 looking for a Latina girlfriend, doesn’t hold back his feelings. “In Denver I would stand on the corner [in Gary Ganja drag] with a sign that says ‘Honk if you hate iHeart radio.’ I’d get honks and high fives for hours. The fact is, iHeart is a shitty company, and it’s good if they just go away.”

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“I believe they helped ruin the radio industry,” says La Jolla’s Marc Paskin, a former radio station owner, about iHeartMedia, the media group that owns billboards, promotes concerts, and owns 850 radio stations nationwide, including seven in San Diego.

On March 15, iHeart, formerly known as Clear Channel, went bankrupt. It was not a surprise to many of the 100-plus local employees who work at the seven iHeart stations, Rock 105.3, KGB, Channel 9-3-3, My 94.1, Jam’n 95.7, XTRA Sports and KOGO. “They told us in a video conference call not to worry, and that none of us would lose our jobs,” says one of the local employees. “But of course they aren’t going to tell those of us they think are non-essential that we won’t be here in 30 to 60 days.”

The Chapter 11 filing was due to a debt of over $20 billion that the San Antonio-based company had carried for almost ten years. Paskin was a Top 40 DJ in radio’s golden years in the 60s and 70s before he built a sizable residential real estate portfolio. He says he would love to acquire one of the iHeart stations if America’s largest radio group ends up spinning off some local assets.

Paskin bought an FM station in Denver three years ago called Smokin’ 94.1. “It was basically a classic rock station with a cannibis gimmick. Pot had just been made legal in Colorado.” Paskin put himself on the air as afternoon DJ Gary Ganja. He wore a dreadlock wig when TV cameras dropped by. “Most of the Denver TV stations did a piece on us. The New York Times did a story on us.”

But a stroke , which impaired his mobility but not his mind, compelled Paskin to sell Smokin 94.1 six months later. “I sold it for $850,000 to iHeart. I made about $50,000 on the deal.”

Now Paskin says it may be a good time to retake some local radio real estate if a bankruptcy judge tells iHeart to divest. “Properties of radio stations have really gone down. The Loop [WLUP-FM] in Chicago just sold for $21 million. Ten years ago it was worth $250 million. That’s a 90 percent drop.”

Paskin says he would be interested in a local station if it was available for $5 million or so. If he were to retake the airwaves, he says, he may launch a ‘60s oldies station. “No one else locally is playing the Beatles, Stones, and Beach Boys... I’d like to bring back fun and local personality. The reason DSC [Dave Shelly and Chainsaw] do so well in the ratings is because they are live and local.”

Paskin says his hoped for ‘60s station may use retro Top 40 DJs like Shotgun Tom Kelly. But he admits the oldies-but-goodies may not make him rich. “As a businessman, of course I would like it to make money. But if I did this, it would be more like a labor of love.”

He’s certain he couldn’t do any worse than iHeart. “The reason music stations are doing so poorly now is partly because of technology... Pandora and Spotify. Especially with younger people. They are building some cars now without a radio. You get a computer screen with 500 options. But another part of the reason radio sucks so bad now is because of iHeart.”

He says iHeart is famous for replacing live DJs with automated voice tracks. “They took the creativity out of radio. They are all a bunch of zombies. But people still want to hear local DJs.”

Paskin, who was known for posting a billboard in Barrio Logan in 2012 looking for a Latina girlfriend, doesn’t hold back his feelings. “In Denver I would stand on the corner [in Gary Ganja drag] with a sign that says ‘Honk if you hate iHeart radio.’ I’d get honks and high fives for hours. The fact is, iHeart is a shitty company, and it’s good if they just go away.”

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Comments
8

It would be a good thing to see I Heart Radio go away, both AM and FM radio have hit unheard of lows in terms of quality of content here in San Diego. Lets hope some good comes of the I heart bankruptcy.

March 29, 2018

It's iHeart Radio (NOT "I Heart"). ;-)

March 29, 2018

Who cares lol

March 30, 2018

I guess I do! Might as well spell something correctly if one is going to write about it. Thatt iz howe eye sea itt.

March 30, 2018

Relax; This is not a big deal.

The bottom line is; San Diego AM/FM radio has been garbage for nearly thirty five years now. If this town ever gets anything that is remotely close to decent talk radio I would be one of a million people living in this city that would be greatful.

April 15, 2018

There was a time, not so long ago, when owning a radio station, especially in a large metro area, was like having a license to print money. The radio industry keeps proclaiming that it reaches almost everyone with ads, and that it can secure coverage far beyond what any other medium can offer. But the numbers belie those claims, and there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that radio is fading away as an advertising medium. KFI in Los Angeles (640 AM) is a clear channel station operating at the maximum power allowed by the FCC. It should have a broad assortment of advertisers and have that assortment at all hours of the day and night. But even such an advantageously-positioned station seems to rely heavily on a few frequent advertisers, especially in the evening hours. Its talk personalities come and go, with many of them becoming tiresome to hear.

The investors and lenders who financed this chain of stations made a big bet at just the wrong time, and will now pay the price. Going back to local ownership and control will likely not cure the ills of the stations mentioned, but could make listening to radio more interesting than it is now.

March 30, 2018

Just like it has for many other aspects of our lives; the Internet has altered the media landscape to the point where it's very different from what we (the 60+ crowd)knew as young adults.

What SanDiego needs is an alternative media centered radio station.

Sue

April 15, 2018

I hope that the BK Court orders IHeart Radio to divest..

The blandness of the radio scene run by huge corporations is monotonous, boring, annoying and low quality...

102 KPRI was the last locally owned and controlled music station in this area.
And, financially, they were having trouble making a go of it. It was popular with a loyal, local following.

It promoted local up and coming bands and some alternative music and community events. But, it had trouble with shrinking ad revenues and, apparently, was not economically viable at the end of its run when it was sold to a chain religious radio broadcaster out of the area.

Commercial Radio is having the same problems as print newspapers...declining ad revenues, declining listeners, dissipation of traditional revenue sources with the Internet options, satellite radio and much more...

I won't shed any crocodile tears for the huge national media chains that destroyed local radio in cities across the country creating crappy, formatted lowest common denominator product that sounds like the same garbage, airport elevator music in every US City...all for a fast buck and to hell with the listeners/customers....

Karma is a Bitch....

March 30, 2018

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