10-K 1 sbsaa-10k_20191231.htm 10-K sbsaa-10k_20191231.htm

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

Form 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

or

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                      to                     

Commission file number 000-27823

 

Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

13-3827791

(State or other jurisdiction or

incorporation of organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

7007 NW 77th Avenue

Miami, Florida 33166

(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (305) 441-6901

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act: None

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

Trading Symbol(s)

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share

SBSAA

OTCQB Venture Market

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.     Yes        No   

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act Yes      No   

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes       No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes       No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  

   

  

Small reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes      No  

As of June 28, 2019, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the registrant had 4,241,991 shares of Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (“Class A common stock”), and 2,340,353 shares of Class B common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (“Class B common stock”), outstanding. As of June 28, 2019, the aggregate market value of the Class A common stock held by nonaffiliates of the registrant was approximately $0.7 million and the aggregate market value of the Class B common stock held by nonaffiliates of the registrant was approximately $60. We calculated the aggregate market value based upon the closing price of our Class A common stock reported on the OTCQB Venture Market on June 28, 2019 (the exchange on which our Class A common stock then traded) of $0.17 per share, and we have assumed that our shares of Class B common stock would trade at the same price per share as our shares of Class A common stock. (For purposes of this paragraph, directors and executive officers have been deemed affiliates.)

As of March 23, 2020, 4,241,991 shares of Class A common stock, 2,340,353 shares of Class B common stock and 380,000 shares of Series C convertible preferred stock, $0.01 par value per share (“Series C preferred stock”), which are convertible into 760,000 shares of Class A common stock, were outstanding.

Documents Incorporated by Reference:

Certain information required by Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K is incorporated by reference from the registrant’s definitive proxy statement (the “Proxy Statement”) to be filed pursuant to Regulation 14A with respect to the registrant’s 2020 annual meeting of stockholders. Except with respect to information specifically incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the Proxy Statement is not deemed to be filed as part hereof.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Table of Contents

 

 

  

 

  

Page

PART I

  

 

  

 

Item 1.

  

Business

  

4

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

 

28

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

42

Item 2.

  

Properties

  

42

Item 3.

  

Legal Proceedings

  

43

Item 4.

  

Mine Safety Disclosures

  

43

 

 

 

PART II

  

 

  

 

Item 5.

  

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

  

44

Item 6.

  

Selected Financial Data

  

45

Item 7.

  

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

  

46

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

60

Item 8.

  

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

  

60

Item 9.

  

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

  

61

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

 

61

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

 

61

 

 

 

PART III

  

 

  

 

Item 10.

  

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

  

62

Item 11.

  

Executive Compensation

  

62

Item 12.

  

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

  

62

Item 13.

  

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

  

62

Item 14.

  

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

  

62

 

 

 

PART IV

  

 

  

 

Item 15.

  

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

  

63

 

 

 

 


Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Annual Report”) contains both historical and forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”).

Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. intends such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and includes this statement for purposes of such safe harbor provisions.

“Forward-looking” statements, as such term is defined by the Securities Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) in its rules, regulations and releases, represent our expectations or beliefs, including, but not limited to, statements concerning our operations, economic performance, financial condition, our recapitalization and restructuring efforts, the impact of widespread health developments, such as the novel coronavirus, and the governmental, commercial, consumer and other responses thereto, growth and acquisition strategies, investments and future operational plans. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “forecast,” “seek,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “could,” “estimate,” “might,” “continue,” “seeking” or the negative or other variations thereof or comparable terminology are intended to identify forward-looking statements.   These statements, by their nature, involve substantial risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond our control, and actual results may differ materially depending on a variety of important factors, including, but not limited to, those identified in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in this Annual Report. All forward-looking statements made herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and risk factors and there can be no assurance that the actual results, events or developments referenced herein will occur or be realized.

We do not have any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

 

 

 

 


 

PART I

 

Item 1. Business

Our Company

All references to “we”, “us”, “our”, “SBS”, “our company” or “the Company” in this Annual Report mean Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc., a Delaware corporation formed in 1994, and all entities owned or controlled by Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. and, if prior to 1994, mean our predecessor parent company Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc., a New Jersey corporation, and its subsidiaries. Our executive offices are located at 7007 N.W. 77th Avenue, Miami, Florida 33166, our telephone number is (305) 441-6901, and our corporate website is www.spanishbroadcasting.com.

We are a leading Spanish-language media and entertainment company with radio and/or television stations in some of the top U.S. Hispanic markets, including Puerto Rico. Our owned and operated radio stations serve markets representing approximately 33% of the U.S. Hispanic population, and, during 2019, our television operations served markets representing over 3.1 million Hispanic households. We produce and distribute Spanish-language content, including radio programs, television shows, news, music and live entertainment through our radio stations and, during 2019, our television group, MegaTV, which produces over 65 hours of original programming per week. MegaTV broadcasted via our owned and operated stations in South Florida, Houston, and Puerto Rico and through programming and/or distribution agreements with other stations, as well as various cable and satellite providers. On March 23, 2020, we sold our FCC license and certain assets related to the transmission of our KTBU-DT signal in Houston, Texas.

We operate WSKQ in New York City which is the top Spanish-language radio station in the United States based on the average number of listeners per quarter-hour. WSKQ delivered the highest listenership among all Spanish-language radio stations in the United States, according to the 2019 Hispanic Fact Pack. Our other radio stations are located in Los Angeles, New York, Puerto Rico, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco. In addition to our owned and operated radio stations, we operate AIRE Radio Networks, with over 275 affiliate radio stations serving 87 of the top 100 U.S. Hispanic markets, including 47 of the top 50 Hispanic markets.  AIRE Radio Networks currently covers 95% of the coveted U.S. Hispanic market and reaches over 15 million listeners in an average week.  

As part of our operating business, we also maintain multiple Spanish and bilingual websites that provide content related to Latin music, entertainment, news and culture, as well as the LaMusica mobile app.  The LaMusica mobile app is a music and entertainment video and audio app that programs an extensive series of short form videos, simultaneous live streams of our radio stations. It includes hundreds of curated playlists and has tools that enable users to personalize their mobile radio streaming experience.  The video capabilities of our mobile app significantly enhance the audience’s engagement level and increase the reach of our mobile offering.  In addition, we produce live concerts and events in the United States and Puerto Rico. Concerts generate revenue from ticket sales, sponsorship and promotions, raise awareness of our brands in the surrounding communities and provide our advertising partners additional opportunities to reach their target audience.

Our Strategy

We focus on maximizing the revenue and profitability of our broadcast portfolio by strengthening the performance of our existing broadcast stations. Our operating strategy focuses on maximizing our broadcast stations’ appeal to our targeted audiences and advertisers in order to increase revenue and cash flow, while simultaneously controlling operating expenses. To achieve these goals, we focus on a number of key factors.

Develop Market Leading Station Clusters in High Growth Hispanic Markets. We believe Hispanic media will continue to gain revenue share as a result of the growing U.S. Hispanic population and its growing buying power. Given our knowledge of, and experience with, the U.S. Hispanic marketplace and our established position in the top U.S. Hispanic markets, including Puerto Rico, we will continue to focus on reaching and maximizing revenue in high growth Hispanic markets. We believe that operating multiple stations in the same markets enables us to achieve operating efficiencies and cost savings. We pursue a strategy of creating broadcast station clusters that reach a critical mass of our target audience and marketing resources necessary to aggressively pursue incremental advertising revenue.

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Leverage Our Proprietary Content Across Our Media Platforms. We will continue to monetize our content across multiple platforms, including radio, broadcast and pay television and live events, as well as emerging media technologies. We use our media platforms and relationships with Hispanic celebrities and talent to produce unique programming and content for our television and radio stations. Concerts and special promotional appearances form an important part of our marketing strategy and provide us with significant local market exposure. We also develop content from these events and create opportunities to sell, market and distribute that content through our websites and other media, providing our advertising partners with attractive advertising solutions. In addition, the events allow us to promote our brands to increase our radio audience and advertising revenue. As the media landscape evolves, we are developing our key broadcast programs, on-air personalities and brands for consumption as downloadable video and interactive content.

Maintain Cost Discipline and Reduce Our Costs. We employ a regimented managerial approach to operating our media outlets. We emphasize control of our operating costs through detailed budgeting, continuous review of staffing levels and expenses and vendor analysis.  We are highly focused on reducing our costs and believe we have streamlined our cost structure to provide a foundation for growth.

Maintain Strong Community Involvement. We have been, and will continue to be, actively involved in the local communities that we serve. Our broadcast stations participate in numerous community programs, fundraisers and activities benefiting the local community and Hispanics abroad. Examples of our community involvement include free public service announcements, free events designed to promote family values within the local Hispanic communities, extensive coverage of world events that have an impact on the U.S. Hispanic population as well as charitable contributions to organizations that benefit the local Hispanic communities in which we operate. Our community involvement also allows us to keep abreast of shifting audience preferences, to further tailor our content and to enhance broadcast station loyalty.

 

Hispanic Market Opportunity

The U.S. Hispanic population is the largest ethnic minority group and is projected to be the fastest growing segment of the population. We believe that we are well positioned to benefit from the projected growth in population and buying power of the U.S. Hispanic population and the expected shift of advertising dollars to Hispanic media. We believe that targeting the Hispanic market is attractive for the following reasons:

Hispanic Population Growth. Between the years 2010 and 2019, the U.S. Hispanic population increased by 21% compared to 4% for the non-Hispanic population. In 2019, Hispanics comprised 18.6% of the U.S. population and more than one out of every six individuals living in the United States was of Hispanic origin, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, The Multicultural Economy, 2019. The U.S. Hispanic population grew at more than seven times the rate of the general population from 2000 to 2015 and is projected to grow to 31% of the U.S. population by 2060, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Hispanics have accounted for more than half of the U.S. population growth since the 2010 Census.

Growth in Hispanic Buying Power. The U.S. Hispanic population accounted for $1.7 trillion of total buying power in 2019, up from $1.0 trillion in 2010 and is estimated to grow to $2.3 trillion by 2024, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, The Multicultural Economy, 2019. U.S. Hispanic buying power accounted for 10.8% of all U.S. buying power in 2019. By 2024, Hispanics will account for 11.6% of total U.S. buying power.  

Spanish-Language Advertising Spending. Advertisers spent an estimated $9.4 billion on Spanish-language media advertising in 2018, according to the 2019 Hispanic Fact Pack. This amount has grown by 38% since 2010 when Hispanic advertising expenditures totaled $6.8 billion according to 2011 Hispanic Fact Pack. As advertisers increasingly recognize the buying power of the U.S. Hispanic population, especially in markets with high Hispanic concentration, we believe that Spanish-language advertising will continue to increase.

The above market opportunity information is based on data provided by the 2019 Hispanic Fact Pack, the BIA/Kelsey’s Investing in Television/Radio Market Report 2019, 4th edition and the Selig Center for Economic Growth publication, The Multicultural Economy, 2019.

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Our Strengths

Strong Presence in the Largest U.S. Hispanic Markets. We operate in six of the eight largest U.S. Hispanic markets: Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago and Houston, as well as also operating in Puerto Rico. We operate three of the top six Spanish-language radio stations in the United States. Our New York station (WSKQ-FM) ranks first among Spanish-language radio stations in terms of highest listenership. The New York and Los Angeles markets, where we consistently have a top-three-rated Spanish-language radio station, have the largest and second largest U.S. Hispanic populations, respectively. Los Angeles and New York are also, respectively, the largest and second largest overall radio markets in the United States as measured by advertising revenue. In addition, MegaTV serves markets representing over 3.1 million Hispanic households.

Strong Portfolio of Branded Media Franchises. Because of our history with Hispanic-focused media, we believe that we have been able to develop strong relationships with the Hispanic audiences in our markets and create strong brand loyalty. Our listeners enjoy music from popular and emerging artists as well as updated local information on weather, news and general entertainment. Our live concerts and events provide our advertisers additional opportunities to reach their target audiences as well as allow us to cross-promote our brands and diversify our revenue base.

Diversification across Media Platforms, Geography and Customers. Our programming reaches audiences across U.S. Hispanic communities and across various media distribution platforms. We sell our advertising time both nationally and locally and generate substantially all of our revenue from the sale of advertising time to a broad and geographically diverse customer base. The diversification of our stations across several local markets helps to mitigate any revenue decline in a specific geographic area. Additionally, in 2019, no single advertiser generated more than 5% of our consolidated revenue. Our customer base includes advertisers in the automotive, retail, telecommunications and healthcare industries, among others. In addition to advertising revenue, we also generate subscription and retransmission fee revenue from MegaTV.

Attractive Business Model. Our strong margins and low levels of capital expenditures enable us to generate high levels of station operating cash flows. We also benefit from an attractive operating cost structure that provides significant operating leverage while allowing us ongoing operating flexibility in light of the limits to our financial flexibility.  

Experienced Management Team. Led by Raúl Alarcón, our Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, our senior management team has, on average, over 20 years of experience in the broadcasting sector. Importantly, the Alarcón family has been involved in Spanish-language radio broadcasting since the 1950s, when the late Mr. Pablo Raúl Alarcón, our former Chairman Emeritus, established his first radio station in Camagüey, Cuba. We believe that our experienced management team gives us a unique understanding of the various Hispanic ethnic and cultural subgroups and allows us to effectively tailor our broadcast programming, websites and concerts accordingly.

Our Continued Recapitalization and Restructuring Efforts

We have not repaid our outstanding Notes since they became due on April 17, 2017, and we continue to evaluate all options available to refinance the Notes.  While we assess how to best achieve a successful refinancing of the Notes, we have continued to pay interest on the Notes, payments that a group of investors purporting to own our Series B preferred stock have challenged through the institution of litigation in the Delaware Court of Chancery as described below.  The complaint filed by these investors revealed a purported foreign ownership of our Series B preferred stock, which we are actively addressing, including before the Federal Communications Commission (the “FCC”) in order to protect our broadcast licenses.  Our refinancing efforts have been made more difficult and complex by the Series B preferred stock litigation and foreign ownership issue. We provide more information about each of these items below.  On December 16, 2019, we announced in a press release that we had received a letter from a bank stating that it was highly confident of its ability to arrange secured debt financing for up to $300 million that, in combination with a possible additional first lien asset-based financing, would be used to repay our outstanding Notes and to make cash purchases of our Series B preferred stock. We cannot assure you that the bank will be successful in raising that financing, that we will be able to raise the additional contemplated first lien asset-based financing or that we will be able to reach agreement that will be acceptable to us. On March 23, 2020, we sold our KTBU-DT FCC license and certain assets used in the transmission of the signal in the Houston, Texas, market. We sold these assets for $15 million, exclusive of closing costs.

Notes

As of the date of this Annual Report, there was $249.9 million in principal amount of Notes outstanding.  As a result, there has been and remains an event of default under the Indenture which gives the holders of our Notes the right to demand repayment of the Notes and, subject to the terms of the Indenture, to foreclose on our assets that serve as collateral for the Notes.  The collateral constitutes substantially all of our assets.  We continue to pay interest on the Notes at their current rate of 12.5% per year on a monthly

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basis.  Since 2017, we have used the proceeds from certain real estate sales and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of our Puerto Rico television spectrum to repay a portion of the Notes.  

The Series B Preferred Stock Litigation

Persons claiming to own 94.16% of our Series B preferred stock filed a complaint against us in the Delaware Court of Chancery, in Cedarview Opportunities Master Fund, L.P., et al. v. Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. (Del.Ct.Ch. C.A. No. 2017-0785-AGB), on November 2, 2017, which was subsequently amended. The complaint, as amended (the “Preferred Holder Complaint”), alleges counts for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and specific performance regarding the Certificate of Designations governing the Series B preferred stock (the “Certificate of Designations”) in connection with a forbearance agreement we entered into with certain Noteholders on May 8, 2017 (the “Forbearance Agreement”) and breach of our Third Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation (the “Charter”) and asked for a declaratory judgment regarding the validity of a provision of the Charter regarding the foreign ownership issues described below.  Specifically, it alleges that the Forbearance Agreement (which expired on May 31, 2017) and certain payments pursuant thereto were barred by the Certificate of Designations due to the existence of a “Voting Rights Triggering Event” under the Certificate of Designations because, among other things, the forbearance agreement allegedly constituted a “de facto” extension or refinancing of the Notes. The Preferred Holder Complaint alleges that SBS breached the Charter by suspending certain rights of the Series B preferred stockholders, and that Section 10.4 of the Charter is overbroad and thus invalid as a matter of Delaware law. The complaint requests relief including, among other things, an order interpreting and enforcing the Certificate of Designations, preventing us from making any additional payments on the Notes and requiring us to redeem the Series B preferred stock at face value plus accrued dividends (or approximately $185.0 million as of December 31, 2019), as well as unspecified money damages and a declaration that Section 10.4 of the Charter is invalid.  This is the fourth lawsuit filed against us by holders or purported holders of our Series B preferred stock, the first three of which we successfully challenged and won. We believe these claims are without merit, and we intend to defend ourselves vigorously.  Our motion to dismiss these claims was granted in part and denied in part on August 27, 2018.  The court dismissed the claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and dismissed the claim for specific performance (insofar as it sought a redemption of the Series B preferred stock) and dismissed the claim for a declaratory judgment regarding the Charter (insofar as it sought a declaration that Section 10.4 of the Charter is invalid on the face). The other claims in the Preferred Holder Complaint were not dismissed. On September 24, 2019, we filed counterclaims in this matter claiming that certain of the plaintiffs are not valid holders of Series B Preferred stock because their purported purchases were attempted in violation of the Charter and were therefore void as a legal matter by operation of the Charter. On December 18, 2019, we filed a motion for summary judgment against the affected plaintiffs with respect to this issue, and that motion remains pending before the court.

Foreign Ownership Issue

We take the position that the ownership of our shares, both common and Series B Preferred Stock, by those stockholders that validly secured their shares in accordance with the requirements of the Charter was validly constituted and does not result in a violation of the Communications Act or the FCC’s implementing rules.  However, if legal recognition is given to the purchase by certain foreign persons and individuals of Series B Preferred Stock in amounts that exceed the limits of the Charter, the Communications Act, and the FCC’s rules, then a violation may exist.  This conclusion would be based on claims made in the Preferred Holder Complaint, the accuracy of which we have not conceded, which asserted that the collective ownership of the outstanding Series B preferred stock by foreign persons (as defined below) exceeded 63 percent of the outstanding Series B preferred stock. As discussed below under “Federal Regulation of Radio and Television Broadcasting – Foreign Ownership,” Section 310(b) of the Communications Act prohibits foreign persons from holding in excess of 25 percent of the equity in the Company absent the affirmative consent of the FCC.  During our review, we also determined that the current claimed ownership of the Series B preferred stock appeared to violate the foreign ownership restrictions set forth in the Charter.

Article X of our Charter contains provisions governing foreign ownership of our capital stock and compliance with Section 310 of the Communications Act. These provisions of our Charter restrict foreign ownership in us to not more than 25 percent of the aggregate number of our shares of capital stock outstanding in any class or series entitled to vote on any matter.  In addition, the last paragraph of Article X of the Charter provides that any transfers of our equity securities that would either violate (or would result in a violation of) the Communications Act or that required prior approval of the FCC are “ineffective.”  As a result, in reviewing the Preferred Holder Complaint, we have taken the position that if this provision is given effect, certain of those transfers, when attempted, appear to have been in contravention of the Charter and the Communications Act, and were therefore void as a legal matter when they were attempted.  In addition, to the extent that those transactions required prior FCC approval or, if given effect, would have placed the Company in violation of the foreign ownership restrictions set forth in the Communications Act, those transactions were ineffective and void by operation of the Charter, and are therefore deemed to have never occurred.

Given the information that was disclosed to us in the Preferred Holder Complaint regarding the purported ownership of a majority of the Series B preferred stock by foreign persons, we were required to take immediate remedial action in order to ensure that

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any violations of the Communications Act and our Charter resulting from that ownership did not adversely affect our FCC broadcast licenses and ability to continue our business operations.  Accordingly, on November 28, 2017, consistent with our obligations and authority provided to us under the Communications Act and by Article X of our Charter, we notified holders of our Series B Preferred Stock that we were suspending all rights, effective immediately, of the holders of the Series B preferred stock, other than their right to transfer their shares to a citizen of the United States.  We added that such suspension of rights would remain in place with respect to each holder of the Series B preferred stock until we had concluded that (1) the shares of such holder should be treated as not owned by aliens or their representatives, as these terms are used under the Communications Act, or (2) the ownership by the purported holders of the Series B preferred stock (including the ownership of any shares by foreign persons) complies with the requirements of the Communications Act and our Charter.  Such suspension of rights was meant from the outset to be a temporary and reasonable measure, intended to elicit the information necessary to determine which Series B preferred stock sales were proper under our Charter. We pledged to restore the suspended rights to each shareholder that demonstrated it was neither an alien nor a representative of an alien or upon a showing that its ownership of Series B preferred stock (including stakes held by any non-U.S. entities) complies with Section 310(b) of the Communications Act and our Charter.

We communicated to these purported holders and their counsel the urgent need for information from them so we could understand the details of the transactions under which these parties claim to have acquired their Series B preferred stock, and the ownership of our equity securities that is claimed by them. On that date, we also filed with the Commission a Current Report on Form 8-K summarizing the information request and the potential consequences of excessive foreign ownership of the Series B preferred stock.  Without this information, we could not determine which holders in fact own Series B preferred stock and which do not because of the effect of the provisions contained in the Charter that protect us against a violation of the Communications Act and the 25 percent limitation on foreign ownership in an entity controlling an FCC licensee in the absence of FCC approval.  We took this action in order to safeguard our most important assets, our FCC broadcast licenses, which would otherwise potentially be at risk if we failed to take appropriate measures to remain in compliance with the Communications Act.  On January 9, 2018, as a follow-up to the November 28, 2017 notice, we issued a second public notice requesting additional information from the holders of the Series B preferred stock.  We sought additional information from the holders of the Series B Preferred stock regarding their purported acquisition and claimed ownership of the Series B Preferred stock.

In our communications, we also announced that we would issue foreign share certificates containing a restrictive legend in accordance with the requirements of the Charter. However, we were unable to do so because of a lack of ownership information from the holders of the Series B Preferred stock. The purported holders of the Series B preferred stock did not fully and adequately respond to our two requests for information (on November 28, 2017 and January 9, 2018) that would allow us to determine which holders should receive foreign share certificates and to reinstitute the rights of all holders of Series B preferred stock that were within legal limits.

Additionally, on November 13, 2017, we filed a notification with the FCC to apprise the FCC of the possible non-compliance with the Communications Act’s limits on foreign ownership.   On December 4, 2017, we also filed a protective petition with the FCC for declaratory ruling (the “Petition”) with respect to the potential excess foreign ownership.  We filed the Petition not because we had concluded that an affirmative FCC public interest ruling regarding recognized foreign ownership was required, but at the suggestion of FCC staff to ensure we had prophylactically availed ourselves of the “safe harbor” protections of Section 1.5004(f)(4) of the FCC’s Rules, in the event such a declaratory ruling ultimately proved necessary. This suggestion came after we had previously notified the FCC of a possible Section 310(b) foreign ownership issue triggered by the filing of the Preferred Holder Complaint.  The FCC responded to the Petition by sending us a letter detailing the information the FCC would need regarding the identities and nature of the purported foreign ownership of the Series B preferred stock to make a determination regarding our Petition and establishing a deadline for the disclosure of that information.  The purported Series B preferred stockholders were therefore required to provide us with sufficient information about the extent and nature of their foreign ownership to enable us to supplement the Petition with this additional information.  On March 23, 2018, counsel for the purported holders of most of the Series B preferred stock filed a letter with the FCC supplying a significant portion of the information requested. We reviewed this information in order to determine whether it was complete, true and correct, as required by the FCC’s rules, and requested some additional information from the Series B preferred stockholders.  The purported Series B preferred stockholders did not provide any additional information regarding the timing of their alleged purchases of Series B preferred stock until December 5, 2018. On that date, such stockholders filed responses to our interrogatories in the Series B Preferred Stock Litigation. These responses contained a significant portion of the pending information that was originally solicited on November 2017 and January 2018, respectively. The new information mainly consisted of the trading information in the Series B preferred stock, including dates of acquisition, the number of shares purportedly acquired in each transaction and, to the extent available, seller information.  

8


 

On April 27, 2018, the Company announced publicly that the purported foreign ownership excess did not exist.  On this date, the Company issued Notices of Ineffective Purported Purchase of Series B Preferred Stock (the “Notices”) to each of West Face Long Term Opportunities Global Master L.P., Stornoway Recovery Fund LP, Stonehill Master Fund Ltd. and Ravensource Fund notifying these investors that their claimed purchases of Series B preferred stock would be treated as void and non-existent because these investors attempted to acquire these shares in transactions that, if given effect, would have violated the Charter. In the Notices, the Company invited these investors to demonstrate facts to the contrary supported by relevant documentation. As of the date of this Annual Report, these investors have not provided the Company with any facts or provided any documentation that would support a different legal conclusion.

As stated above, we take the position that certain of the purported non-U.S. preferred stockholders do not currently hold valid equity interests in us, with the result that there is no foreign ownership excess. For this reason, we did not claim in our Petition or any supplement thereto that it would be in the public interest for the relevant entities to hold aggregate interests exceeding the 25 percent foreign ownership benchmark. As stated in the original Petition, we then recognized that our showing “is not yet complete with respect to the FCC’s ability to render a decision regarding the … public interest inquiry.”  Because the share transfers that gave rise to some or all of the Series B preferred stock ownership claims of several purported non-U.S. preferred stockholders are invalid, there would be no need for such a showing unless a court first determines that the suspect transactions must be honored. Accordingly, both the Company and the purported Series B preferred stockholders have suggested that the FCC should consider simply holding the Petition in abeyance until the Series B Preferred Stock Litigation is resolved.  The underlying issues concerning the impact of the Charter provisions on the validity of certain Series B Preferred stock purchases remain pending before the Delaware Chancery Court.

Separately, on December 6, 2018, we received a letter from the Enforcement Bureau of the Investigations and Hearings Division (the “Bureau”) of the FCC advising us that we were under investigation for potential violations of Section 310(b) of the Communications Act related to excess foreign ownership of broadcast stations.  As part of its investigation, the Bureau requested of us detailed information and supporting documentation about the identities of the Series B preferred stockholders, the potential for a foreign ownership violation, the dates that we became aware of the situation, and the steps we took to address the situation.  We timely filed our response to the Bureau’s letter of inquiry on February 8, 2019.  As of the date of this Annual Report, we have not received a response or any additional inquiries from the Bureau regarding this investigation.

As of the date of this Annual Report, the Company believes that there remain genuine questions regarding valid ownership, or good title, to the Series B preferred stock purportedly held by these foreign investors, who were notified on April 27, 2018.  As a result, we intend to remain vigilant regarding compliance with the Communications Act and our Charter and will continue to evaluate information provided to us by the purported holders of the Series B preferred stock. Because we have not yet received all of the requisite information from the purported holders, we have been unable to effectively determine whether to withdraw the suspension of their rights as owners of such preferred stock or to the extent of any additional remedial action by the Company that may be necessary.   

Continuing Efforts to Repay the Notes

We are continuing our efforts to undertake a recapitalization of the Company, including through the issuance of new debt to raise the necessary funds to repay the Notes, and discussions with respect to the recapitalization are ongoing.  The Series B preferred stock litigation and the foreign ownership issue have complicated our recapitalization efforts.  On December 16, 2019, we announced in a press release that we had received a letter from a bank stating that it was highly confident of its ability to arrange secured debt financing for up to $300 million that, in combination with a possible additional first lien asset-based financing, would be used to repay our outstanding Notes and to make cash purchases of our Series B preferred stock. We cannot assure you that the bank will be successful in raising that financing, that we will be able to raise the additional contemplated first lien asset-based financing or that we will be able to reach agreement that will be acceptable to us.   We believe that the delay in achieving the recapitalization has adversely affected us, including because we have been paying more in interest expense on our outstanding Notes than would necessarily be the case if we refinanced them; we are incurring higher legal costs than otherwise would be the case due to our regulatory, litigation and recapitalization efforts; the trading price of our common stock and preferred stock has been materially adversely affected; our reputation in the corporate community has been similarly negatively affected as a general matter; and time spent on these matters distracts the Company’s management team from devoting their full attention to running the Company’s successful business.  These matters will likely continue to have a material adverse effect on us if they are not successfully resolved.  We face various risks regarding these matters.  See “Special Note Regarding Forward Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Indebtedness and Preferred Stock.”  

9


 

Operating Segments

We report two operating segments: radio and television.

See Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data below.

Radio Overview

We operate radio stations in some of the top Hispanic markets in the United States, including Puerto Rico. We own and operate radio stations in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami and Puerto Rico. The following table sets forth certain statistical and demographic information relating to our radio markets:

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

market radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Percentage of

 

 

 

 

 

Radio

 

 

 

over-the-air

 

 

2018 Hispanic

 

 

2018  total

 

 

total market

 

 

Percentage of

 

market

 

Our radio

 

estimated

 

 

population

 

 

population in

 

 

population

 

 

total U.S.

 

revenue

 

Designated Market

 

gross revenues

 

 

in market

 

 

radio market

 

 

that is

 

 

Hispanic

 

rank

 

Area (DMA)

 

(in millions)

 

 

(in millions)

 

 

(in millions)

 

 

Hispanic

 

 

population

 

1

 

Los Angeles

 

$

656.9

 

 

 

6.2

 

 

 

13.5

 

 

 

45.7

%

 

 

9.7

%

2

 

New York

 

 

509.2

 

 

 

4.9

 

 

 

19.1

 

 

 

25.9

%

 

 

7.8

%

3

 

Chicago

 

 

396.5

 

 

 

2.2

 

 

 

9.5

 

 

 

23.1

%

 

 

3.4

%

8

 

San Francisco

 

 

222.9

 

 

 

1.9

 

 

 

7.8

 

 

 

23.9

%

 

 

3.0

%

10

 

Miami-Ft. Lauderdale

 

 

207.3

 

 

 

2.5

 

 

 

4.7

 

 

 

52.2

%

 

 

3.9

%

35

 

Puerto Rico

 

 

68.9

 

 

 

3.1

 

 

 

3.2

 

 

 

98.0

%

 

 

5.0

%

 

 

Total in our markets

 

$

2,061.7

 

 

 

20.8

 

 

 

57.8

 

 

 

35.9

%

 

 

32.8

%

 

Source:

BIA/Kelsey’s Investing in Radio Market Report 2019, 4th edition

In addition to our owned and operated radio stations, we operate AIRE Radio Networks, with over 275 affiliate radio stations serving 87 of the top 100 U.S. Hispanic markets, including 47 of the top 50 Hispanic markets.  AIRE Radio Networks currently covers 95% of the coveted U.S. Hispanic market and reaches over 15 million listeners in an average week.  

Owned and Operated Radio Station Market Information

The following is a general description of each of our markets. The market revenue information is based on data provided by BIA/Kelsey’s Investing in Radio Market Report 2019, 4th edition, and covers only over-the-air estimated gross revenues.

Los Angeles. In 2018, the Los Angeles market was the largest U.S. radio market in terms of advertising revenue. In 2019, advertising revenues were projected to be approximately $656.9 million. The Los Angeles market experienced an annual radio revenue decrease of 2.5% between 2017 and 2018.

New York. In 2018, the New York market was the second largest U.S. radio market in terms of advertising revenue.  In 2019, advertising revenues were projected to be approximately $509.2 million. The New York market experienced an annual decrease of 1.9% in annual radio revenue between 2017 and 2018.

Chicago. In 2018, the Chicago market was the third largest U.S. radio market in terms of advertising revenue.  In 2019, advertising revenues were projected to be approximately $396.5 million. The Chicago market experienced an annual radio revenue decrease of 2.5% between 2017 and 2018.

San Francisco. In 2018, the San Francisco market was the eighth largest U.S. radio market in terms of advertising revenue.  In 2019, advertising revenues were projected to be approximately $222.9 million. The San Francisco market experienced an annual radio revenue decrease of 7.7% between 2017 and 2018.

Miami-Ft. Lauderdale. In 2018, the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market was the tenth largest U.S. radio market in terms of advertising revenue.  In 2019, advertising revenues were projected to be approximately $207.3 million. The Miami market experienced an annual radio revenue decrease of 1.5% between 2017 and 2018.

10


 

Puerto Rico. In 2018, the Puerto Rico market was the thirty-fifth largest U.S. radio market in terms of advertising revenue.  In 2019, advertising revenues were projected to be approximately $68.9 million. The Puerto Rico market experienced an annual radio revenue decrease of 3.3% between 2017 and 2018.

Owned and Operated Radio Station Programming

We format the programming of each of our radio stations to target a substantial share of the U.S. Hispanic audience in its respective market. The U.S. Hispanic population is diverse, consisting of numerous identifiable groups from many different countries of origin and each with its own musical and cultural heritage. The music, culture, customs and Spanish dialects vary from one radio market to another. We strive to become very familiar with the musical tastes and preferences of each of the various Hispanic ethnic groups and customize our programming to match the local preferences of our target demographic audience in each market we serve. By employing listener study groups and surveys, we can respond immediately, if necessary, to any changing preferences of listeners and/or trends by refining our programming to reflect the results of our research and testing. Our stations formats are described below.

Spanish Tropical. The Spanish Tropical format primarily consists of salsa, merengue, bachata, and Rhythmic Latin music. Salsa is dance music combining Latin Caribbean rhythms with jazz originating from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, which is popular with the Hispanics whom we target in New York, Miami and Puerto Rico. Merengue music is up-tempo dance music originating in the Dominican Republic. Bachata is a softer tempo dance music also originating in the Dominican Republic.

Regional Mexican. The Regional Mexican format consists of various types of music played in different regions of Mexico such as ranchera, norteña, banda and cumbia. Ranchera music, originating from Jalisco, Mexico, is a traditional folkloric sound commonly referred to as mariachi music. Mariachi music features acoustical instruments and is considered the music indigenous to Mexicans who live in country towns. Norteña means northern, and is representative of Northern Mexico. Featuring an accordion, norteña has a polka sound with a distinct Mexican flavor. Banda is a regional format from the state of Sinalóa, Mexico and is popular in California. Banda resembles up-tempo marching band music with synthesizers.

Spanish Adult Contemporary. The Spanish Adult Contemporary format includes soft romantic ballads and Spanish pop music as well as international hits from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Latin America and Spain.

Top 40. The Top 40 format consists of the most popular current Latin and English chart hits.

Latin Rhythmic. The Latin Rhythmic format consists of Reggaeton and Tropi-Pop which is a mix of upbeat pop and tropical music. It is a modern dance genre that has evolved into a mix of Spanish- and English-language dance hall, traditional reggae, Latin pop and Spanish hip-hop and Cubaton.

11


 

The following table lists the programming formats of our radio stations and the target demographic group of each station:

 

Owned and Operated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Target buying

 

 

# of

 

 

# of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

demographic

Market

 

stations

 

 

formats

 

 

FM Station ID

 

Frequency

 

 

Station Name

 

Format

 

group by age

Los Angeles

 

 

2

 

 

 

2

 

 

KLAX

 

 

97.9

 

 

La Raza

 

Regional Mexican

 

18 – 49

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KXOL

 

 

96.3

 

 

Mega

 

Latin Rhythmic

 

18 – 34

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York

 

 

2

 

 

 

2

 

 

WSKQ

 

 

97.9

 

 

Mega

 

Spanish Tropical

 

18 – 49

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WPAT

 

 

93.1

 

 

Amor

 

Spanish Adult Contemporary

 

25 – 54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puerto Rico

 

 

8

 

 

 

4

 

 

WMEG

 

 

106.9

 

 

Mega

 

Top 40

 

18 – 49

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEGM

 

 

95.1

 

 

Mega

 

Top 40

 

18 – 49

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WRXD

 

 

96.5

 

 

Play 96.5

 

Top 40

 

25 – 54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WIOB

 

 

97.5

 

 

Zeta 93

 

Spanish Tropical

 

25 – 54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WZNT

 

 

93.7

 

 

Zeta 93

 

Spanish Tropical

 

25 – 54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WZMT

 

 

93.3

 

 

Zeta 93

 

Spanish Tropical

 

25 – 54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WODA

 

 

94.7

 

 

La Nueva 94

 

Latin Rhythmic

 

18 – 34

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WNOD

 

 

94.1

 

 

La Nueva 94

 

Latin Rhythmic

 

18 – 34

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago

 

 

1

 

 

 

1

 

 

WLEY

 

 

107.9

 

 

La Ley

 

Regional Mexican

 

18 – 49

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miami

 

 

3

 

 

 

3

 

 

WXDJ

 

 

106.7

 

 

El Zol

 

Spanish Tropical

 

18 – 49

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WCMQ

 

 

92.3

 

 

Z 92.3

 

Spanish Adult Contemporary

 

25 – 54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WRMA

 

 

95.7

 

 

Ritmo 95.7

 

Spanish Tropical

 

18 – 49

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Francisco

 

 

1

 

 

 

1

 

 

KRZZ

 

 

93.3

 

 

La Raza

 

Regional Mexican

 

18 – 49

 

Our radio programming capabilities benefit from the integration and synergies of production of programming across the Company. For example, successful programming in one market can be syndicated to another market.

AIRE Radio Networks Programming

AIRE Radio Networks is comprised of top-rated stations and shows attracting a broad range of quality listeners allowing advertisers to efficiently reach their target audience.  AIRE Radio Networks currently covers 95% of the coveted U.S. Hispanic market with over 275 affiliate radio stations, which serve 87 of the top 100 U.S. Hispanic markets, including 47 of the top 50 Hispanic markets.  Each of our targeted networks and syndicated network shows are described below:

Advantage Radio Network (Hispanic Adults 25-54, M-F 6am-7pm). The Advantage Radio Network is a full service music network with strong national coverage and an impressive station lineup delivering high-quality programming of the most popular regional bands and artists.  The Advantage Network features a variety of music styles like Regional Mexican, TropiBanda, Ranchera, Mariachi, Grupero and Norteña reaching Hispanic Americans.  

AIRE Select Network (Hispanic Adults 18-49, M-Sun 6am-12mid).  The AIRE Select Network targets active young Hispanic adults in fast growing Hispanic metro markets. Its concentrated coverage in the Top 10 Hispanic demographic market areas provide advertisers with a multicultural outreach effort targeting the young and growing Hispanic population. AIRE Select is a day specific, as well as a daypartable network.

Mega Network (Hispanic Adults 18-49 M-F 6am-12mid)) The Mega Network consists of highly-rated Spanish-language radio stations in major markets and provides flexible scheduling options to reach the fastest growing population in the U.S.  The Mega Network is the ideal vehicle with music, entertainment, sports and news formats in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston and Chicago to reach advertisers’ business goals.

Impacto Network (Hispanic Adults 18-49, M-Sun 6a-12mid). The Impacto Network is a complete lineup of stations with creative customized options for advertisers to reach this highly desirable demographic: affluent and professional singles and families.  The Impacto Network consists of Spanish CHR (“Contemporary Hit Radio”) and Hits, Tropical/AC and Regional Mexican formats, attractive to a wide range of advertisers.

12


 

Prime Family Weekend Network (Hispanic Adults 18-49, Sat & Sun 6am-12mid). The Prime Family Weekend Network targets Hispanic families in the top markets with disposable incomes and a full range of programming services including hourly news, sports and entertainment features.  The Prime Family Weekend Network dominates with Tropical/AC, Regional Mexican, Spanish CHR/Hits formats, and is concentrated in top markets reaching families during the busy weekend.

Entertainment Weekend Network (Hispanic Adults 18-49, Sat & Sun 6am-12mid).  The Entertainment Weekend Network delivers the coveted 18-49 Demographic, reaching Hispanic Adults through entertainment features, celebrity interviews, music countdowns and specialty segments, which include fitness and financial tips amongst others.  The Entertainment Weekend Network dominates with Regional Mexican, Spanish CHR/Hits formats, and is concentrated in top markets.

El Terrible Morning Show. Thousands of Spanish-speaking radio listeners who enjoy the regional Mexican genre tune in every morning to this fun and diverse show, which brings listeners the latest news, lifestyle, motivation and entertainment.

La Mezcla con DJ Alex Sensation Show.  The “La Mezcla con DJ Alex Sensation Show”(The Mix) is a seamless mix of our listeners’ favorite songs including the Top 40 Latin tracks of the moment.

In addition to these networks and shows, we offer broadcasters two 24 hours / 7 days a week programming formats:  our Regional Mexican and Tropical formats.   Each of our programming formats produces a music format that is simultaneously distributed via XDS (“X-Digital Systems”)with a High Definition quality sound to our affiliate stations.  Technology allows our affiliate stations to offer the necessary local feel and to be responsive to local clients and community needs.  The audience gets the benefit of a national radio station sound along with local content.    

Television Overview and Programming

We have created a unique television format which focuses on entertainment, events and variety with high-quality production. Our programming is formatted to capture shares of the Hispanic audience by focusing on our core strengths as an entertainment company, thus offering a new alternative compared to the traditional Latino channels. The following table sets forth demographic and statistical information with respect to our television markets, excluding cable and satellite providers, such as DirecTV, DirecTV Puerto Rico, AT&T U-Verse, and Verizon Fios:

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

market TV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

over-the-air

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Percentage of

 

 

 

 

 

TV

 

 

 

estimated

 

 

2018 Hispanic

 

 

2018  total

 

 

total market

 

 

Percentage of

 

market

 

Our TV

 

gross

 

 

population

 

 

population in

 

 

population

 

 

total U.S.

 

revenue

 

Designated Market

 

revenues

 

 

in market

 

 

TV market

 

 

that is

 

 

Hispanic

 

rank

 

Area (DMA)

 

(in millions)

 

 

(in millions)

 

 

(in millions)

 

 

Hispanic

 

 

population

 

5

 

Houston (1)

 

$

487.6

 

 

 

2.7

 

 

 

7.4

 

 

 

37.1

%

 

 

4.3

%

7

 

Miami-Ft. Lauderdale

 

 

412.1

 

 

 

2.5

 

 

 

4.8

 

 

 

51.7

%

 

 

3.9

%

32

 

San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

 

152.2

 

 

 

3.1

 

 

 

3.2

 

 

 

98.0

%

 

 

5.0

%

 

 

Total in our markets

 

$

1,051.9

 

 

 

8.3

 

 

 

15.4

 

 

 

54.4

%

 

 

13.2

%

 

(1)

The Company sold its FCC license and certain assets related to the transmission of its KTBU-DT signal on March 23, 2020.

 

Source:

BIA/Kelsey’s Investing in Television Market Report 2019, 4th edition

Television Station Portfolio

The following is a general description of each of our markets as of the year ended December 31, 2019. The market revenue information is based on data provided by BIA/Kelsey’s Investing in Television 2019, 4th edition.

Houston. In 2018, the Houston market was the fifth largest U.S. television market in terms of advertising revenue.  In 2019, advertising revenues were projected to be approximately $487.6 million. The Houston market experienced an annual television revenue increase of 6.1% between 2017 and 2018.

Miami. In 2018, the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market was the seventh largest U.S. television market in terms of advertising revenue.  In 2019, advertising revenues were projected to be approximately $412.1 million. The Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market experienced an annual television revenue increase of 15.9% between 2017 and 2018.

13


 

San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 2018, the San Juan, Puerto Rico market was the thirty-second largest U.S. television market in terms of advertising revenue.  In 2019, advertising revenues were projected to be approximately $152.2 million. The San Juan, Puerto Rico market experienced an annual television revenue increase of 3.5% between 2017 and 2018.

The following table lists the distribution outlets of our MegaTV programming:

 

Market

 

Station ID

 

Programming type

Houston, Texas (1)

 

KTBU

 

Owned & Operated

Miami, Florida

 

WSBS

 

Owned & Operated

San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

WTCV

 

Owned & Operated

Ponce, Puerto Rico

 

WVOZ

 

Owned & Operated

Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

 

WVEO

 

Owned & Operated

DIRECTV

 

Satellite

 

Distribution Agreement

DIRECTV-Puerto Rico

 

Satellite

 

Distribution Agreement

AT&T U-Verse-Nationwide

 

ADS/Cable

 

Distribution Agreement

Verizon Fios (2)

 

ADS/Cable

 

Distribution Agreement

 

(1)

The Company sold its FCC license and certain assets related to the transmission of its KTBU-DT signal on March 23, 2020.

(2)

MegaTV is distributed by Verizon Fios in Queens and Albany, NY.

Television Strategy

Mega TV’s programming is based on a strategy designed to showcase a combination of programs, ranging from televised radio-branded shows to news and general entertainment programs, such as music, celebrity, debate, interviews and personality-based shows. On the forefront of digital platforms, we were the first Spanish-language programmer to broadcast in 100% native High Definition (“HD”) in the United States and one of the first Spanish-language programmers in the United States to launch content on Video On Demand, known as VOD.

As part of our strategy, we have incorporated certain of our radio on-air personalities into our television programming, as well as including interactive elements to complement our Internet websites. We produce over 65 hours of original programming per week. Our television revenue is generated primarily from the sale of local advertising and paid programming. Advertising rates depend primarily on our ability to attract an audience in the demographic groups targeted by our advertisers, the number of stations in the market we compete with for the same audience, and the supply of and demand for television advertising time, as well as other qualitative factors. We also generate revenue from the sale of integrated sponsorships, program syndication and subscriber fees.

Our Miami facility for our media broadcast programming and production is nearly 70,000 square feet and houses the bulk of MegaTV’s national and local market operations. With over 14,000 square feet of HD TV-Studio production space, the building handles the majority of MegaTV’s diverse original HD programming, while also accommodating outside production clients with its wide range of production capabilities, which can include anything from news to late-night variety shows with live bands and studio audiences. MegaTV’s long-term technical design criteria for this facility placed an emphasis on streamlined production workflows and digital media management. Key technical features of this facility include:

integrated HD/standard definition (“SD”) file-based content capabilities throughout our studio, post production and master control areas;

three HD studio production spaces that can be operated independently or combined;

two fully equipped HD control rooms with server, editing and mastering capabilities;

14 HD/SD post production editing suites that include advanced technology in networked solutions;

satellite downlink antenna farm and extensive fiber connectivity for content contribution and distribution; and

multi-path, redundant HD server-based master control system responsible for our distribution feeds.

The Miami facility also includes office space for production and back-office personnel, as well as dressing rooms, make-up rooms and green rooms for our on-air talent and studio guests.

14


 

We also have 3,500 square feet of HD TV-Studio production space in Puerto Rico with a fully equipped HD control room and six edit suites.

Special Events and On-Line Properties

As part of our media operating business, we also operate SBS Entertainment and SBS Interactive. SBS Entertainment is a premier producer of unique entertainment, concerts and special events. We generate special events revenue from ticket sales and event sponsorships, as well as profit-sharing arrangements by producing or co-producing live concerts and live experience events with popular artists, which are promoted by our radio, television and digital media assets. SBS Interactive manages LaMusica.com, Mega.tv, various radio station websites, and the LaMusica Mobile App. All of the digital properties offer bilingual (Spanish-English) content related to Latin music, entertainment, cultural & market trends, lifestyle, and news. LaMusica and our multiple social media networks generate revenue primarily from advertising and sponsorships. In addition, the majority of our social media networks and station websites simultaneously stream our radio stations’ content which has broadened our audience reach. We are developing brand specific digital content strategies for various broadcast programs, on-air personalities and brands, and intend to generate revenue from such strategies. We also leverage many of our special events produced by SBS Entertainment, to produce music based digital content for live streaming and/or taped, on-demand streaming, which can also be developed to generate revenue.

We believe that SBS Entertainment and SBS Interactive, together with our broadcast portfolio, enable our audience to enjoy targeted and culturally relevant entertainment, which include, but are not limited to concert specials, artist interviews, music editorial content, music reviews, and local entertainment calendars, among others. At the same time, our online properties enable our advertisers to reach their targeted Hispanic consumers through an additional, targeted and dynamic medium.

Advertising Revenue

The vast majority of our revenue is derived from cash advertising sales. Advertising revenue has historically been classified into three categories – “national”, “network” and” local”.  “National” generally refers to advertising that is solicited by a representative firm for advertisers out of the Designated Market Area (“DMA”).  Our national sales representative for our radio stations is McGavren Guild Media, LLC.   “Network” advertising revenue is advertising revenue sold to network advertisers expecting to reach 70% plus of the U.S. national radio audience in a specific demographic group. The network advertising buys are sold by our AIRE Radio Networks group.  “Local” refers to advertising purchased by advertisers and agencies in the local market served by a particular station.

Current trends in the media advertising market have changed the long-established model for categorizing advertising revenue. We have expanded the conventional model by offering “integrated sponsorship” or “branded entertainment” opportunities, which are highly sought after and command a higher investment from clients, in order to maximize our advertisers’ opportunities. We expect that our primary source of revenue from our broadcast stations will be generated from the sale of national, local and integrated sponsorship advertising. In addition, we are anticipating that our television, radio and interactive offerings will generate more advertising opportunities by offering multi-media packages.

We believe that the broadcasting industry is one of the most efficient and cost-effective means for advertisers to reach targeted demographic groups, primarily Adults 18-49. Advertising rates charged by a station are based primarily on the station’s ability to attract an audience in a given market and on the attractiveness to advertisers of the station’s audience demographics, as well as the demand on available advertising inventory. Rates also vary depending upon a program’s ratings among the listeners/viewers an advertiser is seeking to attract and the availability of alternative media in the market. Radio advertising rates generally are highest during the morning drive-time hours, which are the peak hours for radio audience listening. Television advertising rates are higher during prime time evening viewing periods. A broadcaster that has multiple stations in a market appeals to national advertisers because these advertisers can reach more listeners and viewers, thus enabling the broadcaster to attract a greater share of the advertising revenue in a given market. In light of these factors, we seek to grow our revenue by taking advantage of our presence in major Hispanic markets as new and existing advertisers recognize the increasing desirability of targeting the growing U.S. Hispanic population.

Each station broadcasts a predetermined number of advertisements per hour with the actual number depending upon the format of a particular station and any programming strategy we are utilizing to attract an audience. We also determine the number of advertisements broadcast hourly that can maximize the station’s revenue without negatively impacting its audience listener/viewer levels. While there may be shifts from time to time in the number of advertisements broadcast during a particular time of the day, the total number of advertisements broadcast on a particular station generally does not vary significantly from year to year.

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It is customary in the radio, television, and interactive industry that the majority of advertising contracts with our advertisers are short-term and generally run for less than three months. This affords broadcasters the opportunity to modify advertising rates as dictated by changes in audience ratings, changes in competitive dynamics and changes in the business climate within a particular market. In each of our broadcasting markets, we employ sales personnel to obtain local advertising revenue. Our local sales force is responsible for maintaining relationships with key local advertisers and agencies and identifying new advertisers. We pay commissions to our local sales staff upon receipt of payment for their respective billings which assist in our collection efforts. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Cancellations, reductions, delays and seasonality in advertising could adversely affect our net revenues.”

Seasonality

Seasonal broadcasting revenue fluctuations are common in the broadcasting industry and are primarily due to fluctuations in advertising expenditures by local, national, and network advertisers. Our net broadcasting revenues vary throughout the year. Historically, our first calendar quarter (January through March) has generally produced the lowest net broadcasting revenue for the year because of routine post-holiday decreases in advertising expenditures.

Competition

The success of our broadcast stations depends significantly upon their audience ratings and their share of the overall advertising revenue within their markets. The radio and television broadcasting industries are highly competitive businesses. Each of our radio stations compete with both Spanish-language and English-language radio stations in their market, as well as other media, such as newspapers, broadcast television, cable television, smart phones, tablets, smart speakers and other devices, magazines, outdoor advertising, direct mail, Internet radio, satellite radio, and transit advertising. Our television operations compete for viewers and revenue with both Spanish-language and English-language television stations in our local markets, as well as nationally broadcast television operations, cable television, interactive and other video media.

Several of the broadcast stations with which we compete are subsidiaries of larger national or regional companies that have substantially greater financial resources than we do and may not be undergoing a recapitalization strategy, such as the one we are pursuing. Factors which are material to our competitive position include:

management experience;

talent and popularity of on-air personalities and television show hosts and actors;

audience ratings, impressions, and our broadcast stations’ rank in their markets;

sales talent and experience;

signal strength and frequency; and

audience demographics, including the nature of the Spanish-language market targeted by a particular station.

Although the broadcast industry is highly competitive, some barriers to entry do exist. These barriers can be mitigated to some extent by changing existing broadcast station formats and programming and upgrading power, among other actions. The operation of a broadcast station requires a license or other authorization from the FCC. The number of AM radio stations that can operate in a given market is limited by the availability of AM radio spectrum in the market. The number of FM radio stations and television stations that can operate in a given market is limited by the availability of those frequencies allotted by the FCC to communities in such market. In addition, the FCC’s multiple ownership rules regulate the number of stations that may be owned and controlled by a single entity in a given market. For a discussion of FCC regulation, see “—Federal Regulation of Radio and Television Broadcasting.”  

The radio industry is also subject to competition from new media technologies that are being developed or introduced, such as the delivery of audio programming by satellite, cable television systems and Internet-based music streaming services. Some radio broadcast stations, including ours, are utilizing digital technology on their existing terrestrial frequencies to deliver audio programming. The FCC also has licensed “low power” radio stations that provide low-cost noncommercial neighborhood service on frequencies which would not interfere with existing stations.

The FCC has authorized HD Radio ® technology which permits a station to transmit radio programming in digital formats using the bandwidth that the radio station is currently licensed to use.  HD Radio ® technology is used to (1) improve sound quality, (2) provide spectrum for enhanced data services and multiple program streams and (3) allow radio stations to time broker unused

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digital bandwidth to third parties, thereby providing new business opportunities for radio broadcasters. We currently utilize HD Radio ® digital technology on some of our stations and will evaluate additional installations over the next few years.

The delivery of information through the presently minimally regulated Internet has also created a new and growing form of competition for both radio and television. Internet broadcasts generally have no geographic limitations and can provide listeners with programming from around the country and the world. We expect that improvements from higher bandwidths, faster download speeds and wider programming selection will continue to make Internet radio and television a more significant competitor in the future.  We continue to develop and expand our own websites and digital content.  Our radio and television stations also compete for audiences and advertising revenues within their respective markets directly with Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

The variety and quality of video and audio content on the internet continues to expand. Internet companies have developed business relationships with companies that have traditionally provided syndicated programming, network television and other content. As a result, additional programming continues to become available through nontraditional methods, which can directly impact the number of TV viewers and radio listeners and thus indirectly impact station rankings, popularity and revenue possibilities from our stations. We cannot assure you that the development or introduction of any new media technology will not have an adverse effect on the radio and television broadcasting industries.

We cannot predict what other matters may be considered in the future by the FCC, nor can we assess in advance what impact, if any, the implementation of any of these proposals or changes may have on our business. See “—Federal Regulation of Radio and Television Broadcasting.”  

Trademarks, Copyrights and Licenses

In the course of our business, we use various trademarks, copyrights, trade names, domain names and service marks, including logos, with our products and services in our programming, advertising and promotions. Trademarks and copyrights are of material importance to our business and are protected by registration or otherwise in the United States, including Puerto Rico. We believe our trademarks, copyrights, trade names, domain names and service marks are important to our business, and we intend to continue to protect and promote them where appropriate and to protect the registration of new trademarks and copyrights, including through legal action. We do not hold or depend upon any material government license, franchise or concession, except that we hold and depend upon the broadcast licenses granted by the FCC and hold certain trademarks granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Environmental Matters

As the owner, lessee or operator of various real properties and facilities, we are subject to various federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations. Historically, compliance with these laws and regulations has not had a material adverse effect on our business. We cannot assure you; however, that compliance with existing or new environmental laws and regulations will not require us to make significant expenditures of funds.

Employees

As of December 31, 2019, we had 357 full-time employees and 94 part-time employees.  In July 2016, SAG-AFTRA was certified as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of a bargaining unit of approximately 30 employees at our Los Angeles-based stations KXOL and KLAX.  In October 2018, SAG-AFTRA was also certified as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of a bargaining unit of approximately 10 employees at our Chicago-based station WLEY.  We have been negotiating with representatives of SAG-AFTRA for initial collective bargaining agreements covering those bargaining units.  To date, we have not yet reached initial collective bargaining agreements with SAG-AFTRA covering either bargaining unit.  

Our business depends upon the efforts, abilities and expertise of our executive officers and other key employees, including on-air talent, as well as our ability to hire and retain qualified personnel. The loss of any of our executive officers and key employees, particularly Raúl Alarcón, Chairman of our Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer and President, could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Antitrust

We have completed, and in the future may complete, strategic acquisitions and divestitures in order to achieve a significant presence with clusters of stations in the top U.S. Hispanic markets. As a result of the industry consolidation resulting from the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the “Act”), the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) and the Department of Justice

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(the “DOJ”), the federal agencies responsible for enforcing the federal antitrust laws, have reviewed certain proposed acquisitions of broadcast stations and station networks. The DOJ can be particularly aggressive when the proposed buyer already owns one or more broadcast stations in the market of the station it is seeking to buy and, following a proposed acquisition, would garner a substantial portion of the advertising revenues in a market. The DOJ has challenged a number of broadcasting transactions. Some of those challenges ultimately resulted in consent decrees requiring, among other things, divestitures of certain stations. As part of its scrutiny of station acquisitions, the DOJ has stated publicly that it believes that commencement of operations under time brokerage agreements, local marketing agreements and other similar agreements customarily entered into in connection with station transfers prior to the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended (the “HSR Act”), could violate the HSR Act. In connection with acquisitions, subject to the waiting period under the HSR Act, so long as the DOJ policy on the issue remains unchanged, we would not expect to commence operation of any affected station under a time brokerage agreement, local marketing agreement or similar agreement until the waiting period has expired or been terminated. Any similar sales of broadcast stations and station networks could also be delayed by FTC, DOJ, or HSR Act approvals.

Federal Regulation of Radio and Television Broadcasting

General

The radio and television broadcasting industry is subject to extensive and changing regulation by the FCC with regard to programming, technical operations, employment, ownership and other business practices. The FCC regulates broadcast stations pursuant to the Communications Act. The Communications Act permits the operation of broadcast stations only in accordance with a license issued by the FCC upon a finding that the grant of a license would serve the public interest, convenience and necessity. The Communications Act provides for the FCC to exercise its licensing authority to provide a fair, efficient and equitable distribution of broadcast service throughout the United States. Among other things, the FCC:

assigns frequency bands for radio and television broadcasting;

determines the particular frequencies, locations and operating power of radio and television broadcast stations;

issues, renews, revokes and modifies radio and television broadcast station licenses;

establishes technical requirements for certain transmitting equipment used by radio and television broadcast stations;

adopts and implements regulations and policies that directly or indirectly affect the ownership, operation, program content and employment and business practices of radio and television broadcast stations;

has the power to impose penalties, including monetary forfeitures and license revocations, for violations of its rules and the Communications Act; and

regulates certain aspects of the operation of cable and direct broadcast satellite systems and certain other electronic media that compete with broadcast stations.

The following is a brief summary of certain provisions of the Communications Act and specific FCC rules and policies. This summary does not purport to be complete and is subject to the text of the Communications Act, the FCC’s rules and regulations, and the rulings of the FCC. You should refer to the Communications Act and these FCC rules, regulations and rulings for further information concerning the nature and extent of federal regulation of broadcast stations. A licensee’s failure to observe the requirements of the Communications Act or FCC rules and policies may result in the imposition of various sanctions, including admonishment, fines, the grant of renewal terms of less than eight years, the grant of a license with conditions or, for particularly egregious violations, the denial of a license renewal application, the revocation of an FCC broadcast license or the denial of FCC consent to acquire additional broadcast properties, all of which could have a material adverse impact on our operations.

FCC Licenses

The Communications Act provides that a broadcast station license may be granted to any applicant if the granting of the application would serve the public interest, convenience and necessity, subject to certain limitations. In making licensing determinations, the FCC considers an applicant’s legal, technical, financial and other qualifications. The FCC grants radio and television broadcast station licenses for specific periods of time and, upon application, may renew them for additional terms. Under the Communications Act, radio and television broadcast station licenses may be granted for a maximum term of eight years.

The FCC classifies each AM and FM radio station. The minimum and maximum facilities requirements for an FM station are determined by its class. Some FM class designations depend upon the geographic zone in which the transmitter of the FM station is located. In general, commercial FM stations are classified as Class A, B1, C3, B, C2, C1, C0 and C, in order of increasing power and antenna height. Class C FM stations are subject to involuntary downgrades to Class C0 in various circumstances if they do not meet certain antenna height specifications. We do not operate any AM radio stations.

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The following table sets forth the technical information and license expiration dates of each of our radio and television stations:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date of

 

license

 

Operation

 

FCC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broadcast station

 

Market

 

acquisition

 

expiration

 

frequency

 

class

 

HAAT

 

 

Power

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(In meters)

 

 

(In kilowatts)

 

KLAX-FM

 

Los Angeles, CA

 

2/24/1988

 

12/1/2021

 

97.9 MHz

 

B

 

 

184

 

 

 

33

 

KXOL-FM

 

Los Angeles, CA

 

10/30/2003

 

12/1/2021

 

96.3 MHz

 

B

 

 

398

 

 

 

7

 

WSKQ-FM

 

New York, NY

 

1/26/1989

 

6/1/2022

 

97.9 MHz

 

B

 

 

415

 

 

 

6

 

WPAT-FM

 

New York, NY

 

3/25/1996

 

6/1/2022

 

93.1 MHz

 

B

 

 

433

 

 

 

5

 

WMEG-FM

 

Puerto Rico

 

5/13/1999

 

2/1/2028

 

106.9 MHz

 

B

 

 

594

 

 

 

25

 

WEGM-FM

 

Puerto Rico

 

1/14/2000

 

2/1/2028

 

95.1 MHz

 

B

 

 

600

 

 

 

25

 

WRXD-FM

 

Puerto Rico

 

12/1/1998

 

2/1/2028

 

96.5 MHz

 

B

 

 

852

 

 

 

12

 

WIOB-FM

 

Puerto Rico

 

1/14/2000

 

2/1/2028

 

97.5 MHz

 

B

 

 

302

 

 

 

50

 

WZNT-FM

 

Puerto Rico

 

1/14/2000

 

2/1/2028

 

93.7 MHz

 

B

 

 

560

 

 

 

28

 

WZMT-FM

 

Puerto Rico

 

1/14/2000

 

2/1/2028

 

93.3 MHz

 

B1

 

 

(69

)

 

 

15

 

WODA-FM

 

Puerto Rico

 

1/14/2000

 

2/1/2028

 

94.7 MHz

 

B

 

 

560

 

 

 

31

 

WNOD-FM

 

Puerto Rico

 

1/14/2000

 

2/1/2028

 

94.1 MHz

 

B

 

 

597

 

 

 

25

 

WLEY-FM

 

Chicago, IL

 

3/27/1997

 

12/1/2020

 

107.9 MHz

 

B

 

 

232

 

 

 

21

 

WRMA-FM

 

Miami, FL

 

3/28/1997

 

2/1/2028

 

95.7 MHz

 

C2

 

 

167

 

 

 

40

 

WCMQ-FM

 

Miami, FL

 

12/22/1986

 

2/1/2028

 

92.3 MHz

 

C2

 

 

188

 

 

 

31

 

WXDJ-FM

 

Miami, FL

 

3/28/1997

 

2/1/2028

 

106.7 MHz

 

C0

 

 

300

 

 

 

100

 

KRZZ-FM

 

San Francisco, CA

 

12/23/2004

 

12/1/2021

 

93.3 MHz

 

B

 

 

415

 

 

 

6

 

WSBS-DT

 

Miami, FL(1)

 

3/1/2006

 

2/1/2021

 

CH. 3

 

DTV

 

 

54

 

 

 

1

 

WSBS-CD

 

Miami, FL

 

3/1/2006

 

2/1/2021

 

CH. 19

 

CA

 

 

236

 

 

 

150

 

KTBU-DT

 

Houston, TX(2)

 

8/1/2011

 

8/1/2022

 

CH. 33

 

DTV

 

 

597

 

 

 

1,000

 

WTCV-DT

 

San Juan, PR

 

1/4/2016

 

2/1/2021

 

CH. 21(4)

 

DTV

 

 

290

 

 

 

4

 

WVEO-DT

 

Aguadilla, PR(3)

 

1/4/2016

 

2/1/2021

 

CH. 17(4)

 

DTV

 

 

372

 

 

 

42

 

WVOZ-DT

 

Ponce, PR(3)

 

1/4/2016

 

2/1/2021

 

CH. 36(4)

 

DTV

 

 

247

 

 

 

50

 

 

(1)

TV Station WSBS-DT is licensed to Key West and is part of the Miami DMA (designated market area, as defined by Nielsen Media Research).

(2)

TV Station KTBU-DT is licensed to Conroe, Texas and is part of the Houston DMA. The Company sold the FCC license and certain assets related to the transmission of its KTBU-DT signal on March 23, 2020.

(3)

TV Stations WVEO-DT and WVOZ-DT are operated as satellites of TV Station WTCV-DT pursuant to a satellite waiver.

(4)

WTCV-DT has moved from CH. 32 to CH. 21 and is now operating pursuant to a Channel Sharing Agreement with Station WJPX, San Juan, PR.  WVOZ-DT has moved from CH. 47 to CH. 36 and is now operating pursuant to a Channel Sharing agreement with Station WKPV(DT), Ponce, PR.  WVEO-DT is now operating pursuant to a Channel Sharing Agreement with Station WIRS(DT), Yauco, PR.  

 

License Grant and Renewal

Pursuant to the Communications Act, the FCC renews broadcast licenses without a hearing upon a finding that:

the station has served the public interest, convenience and necessity;

there have been no serious violations by the licensee of the Communications Act or FCC rules and regulations; and

there have been no other violations by the licensee of the Communications Act or FCC rules and regulations which, taken together, indicate a pattern of abuse.

After considering these factors, the FCC may grant the license renewal application with or without conditions, including renewal for a term less than the maximum term otherwise permitted by law, or hold an evidentiary hearing.

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The Communications Act authorizes the filing of petitions to deny a license renewal application during specific periods of time after a renewal application has been filed. Interested parties, including members of the public, may use these petitions to raise issues concerning a renewal applicant’s qualifications. If a substantial and material question of fact concerning a renewal application is raised by the FCC or other interested parties, or if for any reason the FCC cannot determine that granting a renewal application would serve the public interest, convenience and necessity, the FCC will hold an evidentiary hearing on the application. If, as a result of an evidentiary hearing, the FCC determines that the licensee has failed to meet the requirements specified above and that no mitigating factors justify the imposition of a lesser sanction, then the FCC may deny a license renewal application. Generally, our licenses have been renewed without any material conditions or sanctions being imposed, but we cannot assure you that the licenses of each of our stations will continue to be renewed or will continue to be renewed without conditions or sanctions. The most recent renewal cycle began in June 2019 and concludes in April 2023.

Transfers and Assignments of License

The Communications Act requires prior approval by the FCC for the assignment of a broadcast license or the transfer of control of a corporation or other entity holding a license. In determining whether to approve an assignment of a radio broadcast license or a transfer of control of a broadcast licensee, the FCC considers, among other things:

the financial and legal qualifications of the prospective assignee or transferee, including compliance with FCC restrictions on non-U.S. citizens or entity ownership and control;

compliance with FCC rules limiting the common ownership of attributable interests in broadcast properties;

the history of compliance with FCC operating rules; and

the character qualifications of the transferee or assignee and the individuals or entities holding attributable interests in them.

To obtain the FCC’s prior consent to assign or transfer a broadcast license, appropriate applications must be filed with the FCC. If the assignment or transfer results in a substantial change in ownership or control, the application must be placed on public notice for a period of 30 days during which petitions to deny the application may be filed by interested parties, including members of the public. Informal objections may be filed any time up until the FCC acts upon the application. If the FCC grants an assignment or transfer application, interested parties have 30 days from public notice of the grant to seek reconsideration of that grant. The FCC has an additional ten days to set aside such grant on its own motion. When ruling on an assignment or transfer application, the FCC is prohibited from considering whether the public interest might be served by an assignment or transfer to any party other than the assignee or transferee specified in the application.

Foreign Ownership

Under the Communications Act, a broadcast license may not be granted to or held by any corporation that has more than 20% of its capital stock directly owned or voted by non-U.S. citizens, whom the FCC refers to as “aliens,” or entities or their representatives, by foreign governments or their representatives, or by non-U.S. corporations (which we collectively refer to as “foreign persons” in this Annual Report). Furthermore, the Communications Act provides that no FCC broadcast license may be granted to or held by any corporation directly or indirectly controlled by any other corporation of which more than 25 percent of the capital stock is owned or voted by foreign persons, if the FCC finds the public interest will be served by the refusal or revocation of such license. The FCC has interpreted this provision of the Communications Act to require an affirmative public interest finding before a broadcast license may be granted to or held by any such entity. These restrictions apply in modified form to other forms of business organizations, including partnerships and limited liability companies. Thus, the licenses for our stations could be revoked if more than 25 percent of our outstanding capital stock is issued to or for the benefit of foreign persons.  In November 2013, the FCC confirmed that it will consider on a case-by-case basis petitions for approval of foreign ownership that exceeds the 25 percent threshold and, in September 2016, the FCC adopted specific rules and procedures for the filing and review of such requests.  In the September 2016 decision, the FCC confirmed that it will allow companies to seek approval of up to 100% foreign ownership.  The FCC also adopted a methodology for determining the citizenship of the beneficial owners of publicly held shares that companies may use to ascertain compliance with the foreign ownership rules.  Our Charter provides that the transfer or conversion of our capital stock, whether voluntary or involuntary, shall not be permitted, and shall be ineffective, if such transfer or conversion would violate (or would result in violation of) the Communications Act or any of the rules or regulations promulgated thereunder or require the prior approval of the FCC, unless such prior approval has been obtained.

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The Company takes the position that the current validly constituted ownership of the Company’s shares, both common and Series B Preferred Stock, was validly constituted and does not give rise to a violation of the Communications Act or the FCC’s implementing rules.  However, in reviewing the Preferred Holder Complaint, which was originally filed against us on November 2, 2017, as summarized under “—Our Continued Recapitalization and Restructuring Efforts—The Series B Preferred Stock Litigation,” we noted that if the alleged facts set forth in the Preferred Holder Complaint were correct, which we have not conceded, and the collective ownership of the outstanding Series B preferred stock by foreign persons exceeded 63 percent of the outstanding Series B preferred stock as stated in the Preferred Holder Complaint, then foreign persons would own well in excess of 25 percent of our equity in violation of Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act.  In addition, the last paragraph of Article X of the Charter provides that any transfers of the Company’s equity securities that would either violate (or would result in a violation of) the Communications Act or that required prior approval of the FCC are ineffective.  As a result, in reviewing the Preferred Holder Complaint, we take the position that if this provision is given effect, certain of those transfers, when attempted, appear to have been in contravention of the Charter and the Communications Act, and were therefore void as a legal matter when they were attempted.  In addition, to the extent that those transactions required prior FCC approval or, if given effect, would have placed the Company in violation of the foreign ownership restrictions set forth in the Communications Act, those transactions were ineffective and void by operation of the Charter, and are therefore deemed to have never occurred.

Given the information that was disclosed to us in the Preferred Holder Complaint regarding the purported ownership of a majority of the Series B preferred stock by foreign persons, we were required to take immediate remedial action in order to ensure that any violations of the Communications Act and our Charter resulting from such ownership of the Series B preferred stock did not adversely affect our FCC broadcast licenses and ability to continue our business operations.  For additional information regarding the remedial actions we have taken or are currently taking, see “—Our Continued Recapitalization and Restructuring Efforts—Foreign Ownership Issue.”

Ownership Attribution

The FCC generally applies its broadcast ownership limits to “attributable” interests held by an individual, corporation, partnership or other association or entity, including limited liability companies. In the case of a corporation holding broadcast licenses, the interests of officers, directors and those who, directly or indirectly, have the right to vote 5% or more of the stock of a licensee corporation are generally deemed attributable interests, as are officer positions and directors of a corporate parent of a broadcast licensee. The FCC treats all partnership interests as attributable, except for those limited partnership interests that under FCC policies are considered insulated from material involvement in the management or operation of the media-related activities of the partnership. The FCC currently treats limited liability companies like limited partnerships for purposes of attribution. Stock interests held by insurance companies, mutual funds, bank trust departments and certain other passive investors that hold stock for investment purposes only become attributable with the ownership of 20% or more of the voting stock of the corporation holding broadcast licenses.

To assess whether a voting stock interest in a direct or an indirect parent corporation of a broadcast licensee is attributable, the FCC uses a “multiplier” analysis in which non-controlling voting stock interests are deemed proportionally reduced at each non-controlling link in a multi-corporation ownership chain. A time brokerage agreement with another radio or television station in the same market creates an attributable interest in the brokered radio or television station, as well as for purposes of the FCC’s local radio and television station ownership rules, if the agreement affects more than 15% of the brokered radio or television station’s weekly broadcast hours. Similarly, a radio station licensee’s right under a joint sales agreement (“JSA”) to sell more than 15% per week of the advertising time on another radio station in the same market constitutes an attributable ownership interest in such station for purposes of the FCC’s ownership rules.  New television JSAs are currently attributable.

Debt instruments, nonvoting stock, stock options or other nonvoting interests with rights of conversion to voting interests that have not yet been exercised, insulated limited partnership interests where the limited partner is not materially involved in the media-related activities of the partnership, and minority voting stock interests in corporations where there is a single holder of more than 50% of the outstanding voting stock whose vote is sufficient to affirmatively direct the affairs of the corporation generally do not subject their holders to attribution, unless such interests implicate the FCC’s equity-debt-plus (or “EDP”) rule. Under the EDP rule, a major programming supplier or a same-market media entity will have an attributable interest in a station if the supplier or same-market media entity also holds debt or equity, or both, in the station that is greater than 33% of the value of the station’s total debt plus equity. For purposes of the EDP rule, equity includes all stock, whether voting or nonvoting, and interests held by limited partners or limited liability company members that are not materially involved. A major programming supplier is any supplier that provides more than 15% of the station’s weekly programming hours.

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Multiple Ownership

The Communications Act and FCC rules generally restrict ownership, operation or control of, or the common holding of attributable interests in broadcast stations above certain limits serving the same local market. The FCC is required to review quadrennially the media ownership rules and to modify, repeal or retain any rules as it determines to be in the public interest. The FCC’s currently effective multiple ownership rules are briefly summarized below.

Local Radio Ownership

Although current FCC rules allow one entity to own, control or hold attributable interests in an unlimited number of AM and FM radio stations nationwide, the Communications Act and the FCC’s rules limit the number of radio broadcast stations in local markets (generally defined as those counties in the Nielsen® Metro Survey Area, where they exist) in which a single entity may own an attributable interest as follows:

In a radio market with 45 or more full-power commercial and noncommercial radio stations, a party may own, operate or control up to eight commercial radio stations, not more than five of which are in the same service (AM or FM).

In a radio market with between 30 and 44 (inclusive) full-power commercial and noncommercial radio stations, a party may own, operate or control up to seven commercial radio stations, not more than four of which are in the same service (AM or FM).

In a radio market with between 15 and 29 (inclusive) full-power commercial and noncommercial radio stations, a party may own, operate or control up to six commercial radio stations, not more than four of which are in the same service (AM or FM).

In a radio market with 14 or fewer full-power commercial and noncommercial radio stations, a party may own, operate or control up to five commercial radio stations, not more than three of which are in the same service (AM or FM), except that a party may not own, operate, or control more than 50% of the radio stations in such market.

To apply these tiers, the FCC currently relies on Nielsen Metro Survey Areas, where they exist. In other areas, the FCC relies on an interim contour-overlap methodology. For radio stations located outside Nielsen® Metro Survey Areas, the market definition is based on technical service areas. The market definition used by the FCC in applying its ownership rules may not be the same as that used for purposes of the HSR Act.

Local Television Ownership

Under the ownership rules currently in place, the FCC generally permits an owner to have only one television station per market. A single owner is permitted to have two stations with overlapping signals only if one of the two commonly owned stations is not ranked in the top four based upon audience share and at least eight independent owners of television stations would remain in the market following a combination. The rules also permit the ownership, operation or control of two television stations in a market as long as the stations’ Noise Limited Service contours do not overlap. The FCC will consider waiving these ownership restrictions in certain cases involving failing or failed stations or stations which are not yet built. The FCC also grants satellite waivers when one or more television stations operate as satellites of another station.  We currently operate WTCV as a parent station and WVEO and WVOZ-TV as satellite stations in the Puerto Rico designated market area pursuant to a satellite waiver. Under the rule, the licensee of a television station that provides more than 15% of another in-market station’s weekly programming will be deemed to have an attributable interest in the other station.  New television JSAs are currently attributable.  

RadioTelevision Cross Ownership Rule  

The radio television cross ownership rule generally allows common ownership of one or two television stations and up to six radio stations, or, in certain circumstances, one television station and up to seven radio stations, in any market where at least 20 independent voices would remain after the combination; two television stations and up to four radio stations in a market where at least 10 independent voices would remain after the combination; and one television and one radio station notwithstanding the number of independent voices in the market.  A “voice” generally includes independently owned, same market commercial and noncommercial broadcast television and radio stations, newspapers of certain minimum circulation, and one cable system per market.

Newspaper Broadcast Cross Ownership Rule

Under the currently effective newspaper broadcast cross ownership rule, unless grandfathered or subject to waiver, no party can have an attributable interest in both a daily English language newspaper and either a television or radio station in the same market.  

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Television National Audience Reach Limitation

Under the Communications Act, one party may not own TV stations which collectively reach more than 39% of all U.S. TV households. For purposes of calculating the total number of TV households reached by a station, the FCC previously applied a “UHF discount” pursuant to which a UHF TV station was attributed with only 50% of the TV households in its market.  In September 2016 the FCC eliminated the UHF discount.  The FCC provided limited grandfathering for TV station owners that exceed the 39% cap without the UHF discount.  Grandfathering will expire if combinations are assigned or transferred to a third party.  In December 2017, the FCC opened a rule making to review the national television audience reach cap and the 50% discount that was given to UHF stations in determining compliance with the national audience cap.

Programming and Operations

The Communications Act requires broadcasters to serve the public interest. A broadcast license is required to present programming in response to community problems, needs and interests and to maintain certain records demonstrating its responsiveness. The FCC will consider complaints from listeners about a broadcast station’s programming when it evaluates the licensee’s renewal application, but listeners’ complaints also may be filed and considered at any time. Stations also must pay regulatory and application fees, and follow various FCC rules that regulate, among other things, political advertising, equal employment opportunity, technical operation, the broadcast of obscene, indecent or profane programming, sponsorship identification, the broadcast of contest and lottery information and the conduct of contests.

The FCC requires that licensees not discriminate in hiring practices on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or gender. It also requires stations with at least five full-time employees to disseminate information about all fulltime job openings and undertake outreach initiatives from an FCC list of activities such as participation in job fairs, internships or scholarship programs. Stations must retain records of their outreach efforts and keep an annual Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) report in their public inspection files and post an electronic version on their websites.  In April 2017, the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling permitting broadcast stations to use online job postings as their sole means of recruiting, so long as online postings reach all segments of a broadcasters’ community.  

Certain FCC rules affecting programming and operations are briefly summarized below.

Indecency and Profanity

Provisions of federal law regulate the broadcast of obscene, indecent, or profane material. The FCC’s rules prohibit the broadcast of obscene material at any time and indecent or profane material between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Broadcasters risk violating the prohibition against broadcasting indecent or profane material because the vagueness of the FCC’s indecency/profanity definition makes it difficult to apply, particularly with regard to spontaneous, live programming. In recent years, the FCC has increased its enforcement efforts of these indecency and profanity regulations, and has threatened to initiate license revocation proceedings against broadcast licenses for “serious” indecency or profanity violations. The FCC has substantially increased its monetary penalties for violations of these regulations. Legislation enacted in 2006 provides the FCC with authority to impose fines of up to $414,454 per indecent or profane utterance with a maximum forfeiture exposure of $3,825,726 for any continuing violation arising from a single act or failure to act. In the ordinary course of business, we have received complaints or the FCC has initiated inquiries about whether a limited number of our radio stations have broadcast indecent programming.  The FCC inquiries with respect to indecency have been pending for several years and are not expected to have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results or financial condition.

In July 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (“Second Circuit”) issued a decision in which it vacated the FCC’s indecency policy as unconstitutional. In June 2012, the Supreme Court issued a decision which held that the FCC could not fine ABC and FOX for the specific broadcasts at issue in the case because the FCC had not provided them with sufficient notice of its intent to issue fines for the use of fleeting expletives. The Court also held that the FCC’s indecency standards did not violate the First Amendment. In April 2013, the FCC requested comments on its indecency policy, including whether it should ban the use of fleeting expletives or whether it should only impose fines for broadcasts that involve repeated and deliberate use of expletives. The FCC has advised that it will continue to pursue enforcement actions in egregious cases while it conducts its review of its indecency policies generally and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability in 2015 for the then-maximum forfeiture amount of $325,000 against a television station for violation of its indecency policy. We cannot predict whether Congress will consider or adopt further legislation in this area.

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Simulcasting

The FCC rules prohibit a licensee from simulcasting more than 25% of its programming on another radio station in the same broadcast service (that is, AM/AM or FM/FM). The simulcasting restriction applies if the licensee owns both radio broadcast stations or owns one and programs the other through a local marketing agreement, provided that the contours of the radio stations overlap in a certain manner. In November 2019, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on whether to modify or eliminate this rule.  The time period for filing comments on the rulemaking concluded in February 2020 and the matter remains pending before the Commission.

Time Brokerage and Joint Sales Agreements

Occasionally, stations enter into time brokerage agreements or local marketing agreements. Separately owned and licensed stations may agree to function cooperatively in programming, advertising sales and other matters, subject to compliance with the antitrust laws and the FCC’s rules and policies, including the requirement that the licensee of each station maintain independent control over the programming and other operations of its own station. Over the past few years, a number of stations have entered into cooperative arrangements commonly known as JSAs.  The FCC has determined that where two radio stations are both located in the same market and a party with a cognizable interest in one such station sells more than 15% of the advertising per week of the other station, that party shall be treated as if it has an attributable interest in that brokered station.   As noted in the Section titled “Local Television Ownership,” above, new television JSAs are currently attributable.

RF Radiation

In 1985, the FCC adopted rules based on a 1982 American National Standards Institute, or “ANSI,” standard regarding human exposure to levels of radio frequency, or “RF,” radiation. These rules require applicants for renewal of broadcast licenses or modification of existing licenses to inform the FCC at the time of filing such applications whether an existing broadcast facility would expose people to RF radiation in excess of certain limits. In 1992, ANSI adopted a new standard for RF radiation exposure that, in some respects, was more restrictive in the amount of environmental RF radiation exposure permitted. The FCC adopted more restrictive radiation limits that became effective October 15, 1997 and which are based in part on the revised ANSI standard. The FCC recently concluded a multi-year follow up proceeding in which it concluded in an order issued in November 2019 that no further changes to its RF exposure rules were warranted.

Terrestrial Digital Radio

The FCC has approved a technical standard for the provision of “in band, on channel” terrestrial digital radio broadcasting by existing radio broadcasters and has allowed radio broadcasters to convert to a hybrid mode of digital/analog operation on their existing frequencies. Digital radio provides additional spectrum segmentation for enhanced data services and additional program streams to complement the existing programming service, which permits new business and multicasting opportunities for radio broadcasters. In January 2010, the FCC adopted procedures that allow FM radio stations to significantly increase their digital power levels above those originally permitted in order to improve the digital service these stations provide.

Low Power Radio Broadcast Service

The FCC established two classes of a low power radio service, both of which operate in the existing FM radio band: a primary class with a maximum operating power of 100 watts and a secondary class with a maximum power of 10 watts. These low power radio stations have limited service areas of 3.5 miles and 1 to 2 miles, respectively, and are required to operate on a noncommercial basis. Implementation of a low power radio service provides an additional audio programming service that could compete with our radio stations for listeners, but we cannot predict the effect upon us.

Change of Community

The FCC has adopted rules concerning the FM Table of Allotments to allow radio broadcasters to change their community of license more easily. We have evaluated our current licenses to see if a community of license change would be beneficial. We are aware that competitors may use this rule revision to improve their facilities, and other radio operators may use this rule in a way that would make them newly attractive acquisition targets for us.

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Cable and Satellite Carriage of Television Broadcast Stations

The Communications Act and implementing FCC regulations govern the retransmission of commercial television stations by cable television systems and direct broadcast satellite, or “DBS,” operators. Every three years, each station must elect, with respect to cable systems and DBS operators within its designated market area, or “DMA,” either “must carry” status, pursuant to which the cable system’s or DBS operator’s carriage of the station is mandatory, or “retransmission consent,” pursuant to which the station gives up its right to mandatory carriage in order to negotiate consideration in return for consenting to carriage. We have elected “must carry” with respect to our full power television stations, except in cases where the station is already carried pursuant to a retransmission consent or other affiliation agreement. These “must carry” rights are not absolute, and under some circumstances, a cable system or DBS operator may be entitled not to carry a given station. For example, DBS operators are required to carry the signals of all local television broadcast stations requesting carriage only in local markets in which the DBS operator carries at least one signal pursuant to the statutory local-to-local compulsory copyright license.

Neither cable systems nor DBS operators are required to carry more than a station’s primary video programming channel. Consequently, the multicast programming streams provided by our Houston television station are not entitled to mandatory carriage pursuant to the digital must-carry rules. In 2011, the FCC released a rulemaking seeking comment on a series of proposals to streamline and clarify the rules concerning retransmission consent negotiations.  This proceeding ended without the adoption of additional rules.   In a separate proceeding, the FCC has requested comment on whether the definition of MVPD should be expanded to include entities that make available multiple channels of video programming to subscribers through Internet connections. This proceeding remains pending.

Digital Television Services

As of June 12, 2009, all full-power broadcast television stations were required to cease broadcasting analog programming and convert to all digital broadcasts. The transition to digital television has improved the technical quality of television signals and provides broadcasters the flexibility to offer new services, including high-definition television, broadband data transmission and additional video streams. Our full-power television and Class A television stations have completed construction of their DTV facilities and are currently broadcasting solely on their digital channels. Our full-power television station in Houston also broadcasts several additional video streams and our Class A television station in Miami broadcasts one additional video stream. Under current FCC rules, when “must carry” rights apply, cable systems and DBS operators are required to carry only one channel of the digital signal of our television stations, despite the capability of digital broadcasters to broadcast multiple program streams within one station’s digital allotment.

To the extent a station has “excess” digital capacity (i.e., digital capacity not used to transmit free, over the air video programming), it may elect to use that capacity in any manner consistent with FCC technical requirements, including for data transmission, interactive or subscription video services, or paging and information services. If a station uses its digital capacity to provide any such “ancillary or supplementary” services on a subscription or otherwise “feeable” basis, it must pay the FCC an annual fee equal to 5% of the gross revenues realized from such services.

In 2017, the FCC adopted rules authorizing the deployment of the Next Generation broadcast television transmission standard, also called ATSC 3.0. ATSC 3.0 is an Internet Protocol-based broadcast transmission platform that merges the capabilities of over-the-air broadcasting with the broadband viewing and information delivery methods of the Internet, using the same 6 MHz channels presently allocated for digital television service. Stations are not obligated to use ATSC 3.0; use of the new standard is voluntary. We cannot predict what impact the new standard will have on our business.

Children’s Television Programming

The FCC has adopted rules on children’s television programming pursuant to the Children’s Television Act of 1990. The rules limit the amount and content of commercial matter that may be shown on television stations during programming designed for children 12 years of age and younger and require stations to broadcast on their main program stream three hours per week of educational and informational programming (“E/I programming”) designed for children 16 years of age and younger. These rules also limit the display during children’s programming of Internet addresses of websites that contain or link to commercial material or that use program characters to sell products.   In July 2019, the FCC adopted an Order revising the children’s television programming rules in a number of respects, including eliminating the requirement to air children’s programming on multicast streams, expanding the daily window in which programming can air, and switching from a quarterly reporting requirement to an annual reporting requirement.

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Sponsorship Identification

Both the Communications Act and the FCC rules generally require that, when payment or other consideration has been received or promised to a broadcast licensee for the airing of program material, the station must disclose that fact and identify who paid or promised to provide the consideration at the time of the airing. In the past, the FCC has initiated inquiries against several media companies, including our company, concerning sponsorship identification practices with respect to the music recording industry. The FCC has also initiated inquiries against several dozen television stations seeking to determine whether their broadcast of “video news releases” (each, a “VNR”) violated the sponsorship identification rules by failing to disclose the source and sponsorship of the VNR materials. At least two television broadcast licensees were issued fines by the FCC for violations of the sponsorship ID rules related to VNRs. VNRs are news stories and feature materials produced by government agencies and commercial entities, among others, for use by broadcasters. An FCC commissioner has recently commenced an informal inquiry into recording industry practices with respect to payola in the radio industry.  In addition, the FCC has recently increased its enforcement of certain regulations, including regulations requiring a radio station to include an on-air announcement which identifies the sponsor of all advertisements and other matter broadcast by any radio station for which any money, service or other valuable consideration is received. Whether any new regulations are ultimately adopted and, if so, the effect of such rules on our operations cannot currently be determined.

Closed Captioning and Video Description Rules

FCC rules require the majority of programming broadcast by television stations to contain closed captions. In January 2012, the FCC adopted rules to require that television programming broadcast or transmitted with captioning include captioning if subsequently made available online, for example, by streaming content on broadcasters’ websites. In 2014, the FCC adopted an Order expanding the IP captioning rules to brief segments or clips of video programs that are carried on the Internet. In 2016, the FCC adopted additional rules with respect to the provision and quality of closed captions. The rules were phased in between January 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017. The rules allow a video programming owner to file a petition for exemption from the rules. We have filed a petition for exemption from the rules based upon a showing of undue burden. During the pendency of an undue burden determination, the video programming subject to the request for exemption is considered exempt from the closed captioning requirement.

FCC rules also require, in part, that affiliates of the top-four national broadcast networks in the top 60 markets provide a minimum of 50 hours of video-described primetime and/or children’s programming each calendar quarter.

Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation

Rules enacted by the FCC that require our television broadcast stations to transmit commercials and adjacent programming at the same volume went into effect in December 2012.

Recordkeeping

The FCC rules require broadcast stations to maintain various records regarding operations, including equipment performance records and a log of a station’s operating parameters. The FCC has recently increased enforcement of requirements regarding online public inspection files, which are now maintained on an FCC website and are therefore widely accessible by members of the public and the FCC.

Regulation of the Internet

Internet services including websites of our broadcast stations are subject to regulation relating to the privacy and security of personally identifiable user information and acquisition of personal information from children under 13, including the federal Child Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and the federal Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (“CAN-SPAM”).  The State of California has recently enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a privacy law which creates wide-ranging consumer rights with respect to the access to, deletion of and sharing of personal information. In addition, a majority of states have enacted laws that impose data security and security breach obligations. Additional federal, state, territorial laws and regulations may be adopted with respect to the Internet or other online services, covering such issues as user privacy, child safety, data security, advertising, pricing, content, copyrights and trademarks, access by persons with disabilities, distribution, taxation and characteristics and quality of products and services.

Repurposing of Broadcast Spectrum for Other Uses by the FCC

In February 2012, the FCC was authorized to conduct voluntary “broadcast incentive auctions” in order to reallocate certain spectrum currently occupied by television broadcast stations to mobile wireless broadband services, to “repack” television stations into a smaller portion of the existing television spectrum band, and to require television stations that did not relinquish spectrum in the

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reverse auction to modify their transmission facilities, subject to reimbursement for reasonable relocation costs up to a nationwide total of $1.75 billion.

The FCC has adopted rules concerning the incentive auction and the repacking of the television band and concluded the broadcast incentive auction. Under the auction rules implemented by the FCC, television stations were given an opportunity to offer spectrum for sale to the government in a “reverse” auction while wireless providers could bid to acquire spectrum from the government in a related “forward” auction. We participated in the auction for stations in Miami, Houston, and multiple stations in Puerto Rico.  However, because the price to sell our spectrum fell below the value we ascribe to it, we only sold the spectrum of one television station in Puerto Rico in the auction.

Following completion of the incentive auction, the FCC is now “repacking” the remaining television broadcast spectrum, which requires certain television stations that did not participate or were not selected in the reverse auction to modify their transmission facilities, including requiring such stations to operate on other channels. Our Miami, Houston, and one of our Puerto Rico TV Stations had their channel designation reassigned. The original reimbursement limit across all stations nationwide was $1.75 billion.  However, in March 2018, Congress authorized an additional $1 billion to be used for reimbursements related to repacking and directed that of that amount not more than $50 million could be used to reimburse FM stations that share towers with television stations being repacked and that are required to modify their facilities on a temporary or permanent basis to accommodate changes made by the television stations.  In 2019, the FCC adopted procedures to reimburse FM stations as well as to low power television and television translator stations that will be displaced.   

We have filed cost estimates related to the repacking of our TV stations and our channel reassignments and are submitting invoices for reimbursement as they are received.  We are not aware that any of our FM stations will be impacted by facilities modifications unlike what our television stations being repacked will be required to implement.  When repacking, the FCC makes reasonable efforts to preserve a station’s coverage area and population served. In addition, the FCC is prohibited from requiring a station to move involuntarily from the UHF band, the band in which most of our television broadcast licenses operate, to the VHF band or from the high VHF band to the low VHF band. The impact of the repacking of our broadcast television spectrum on our business cannot be predicted at this time.  

Laws Affecting Intellectual Property

Laws affecting intellectual property are of significant importance to us to protect our brands and copyrights. Protection of brands requires the vigilance and action by the brand owner. We seek trademark registrations for significant brand assets and enforce our brand rights against infringing parties through legal actions, including enforcement actions in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Unauthorized distribution or reproduction of content, especially in digital formats such as unlicensed live simultaneous or stored streaming of audio recordings and peer-to-peer file “sharing,” are threats to a copyright owner’s ability to protect and exploit its property. We monitor legal changes that might impact the exclusive rights we have in broadcasts, streams and recorded content. Our digital delivery services and commercial arrangements with digital content providers help reduce the risks associated with unauthorized access to our content. We are also engaged in enforcement and other activities to protect our intellectual property.  

Proposed and Recent Changes

Congress and the FCC continually consider new laws, regulations and policies regarding a wide variety of matters that could, directly or indirectly, affect our operations, ownership and profitability; result in the loss of audience share and advertising revenue; or affect our ability to acquire additional broadcast stations or to finance such acquisitions. We can neither predict what matters might be considered nor judge in advance what impact, if any, the implementation of any of these proposals or changes might have on our business. Such matters may include:

changes to the license authorization and renewal process;

proposals to improve record keeping, including enhanced disclosures of stations’ efforts to serve the public interest;

changes to the FCC’s equal employment opportunity regulations and other matters relating to the involvement of minorities and women in the broadcasting industry;

changes to rules relating to political broadcasting including proposals to grant free air time to candidates, and other changes regarding political and nonpolitical program content, funding, political advertising rates, sponsorship disclosures, and political file record-keeping obligations;

proposals to restrict or prohibit the advertising of beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages;

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proposals to restrict or prohibit the advertising of on-line casinos or on-line sports-betting services;

proposals regarding the regulation of the broadcast of indecent or violent content;

technical and frequency allocation matters, including increased protection of low power FM stations from interference by full-service stations and changes to the method used to allot FM radio frequencies; changes in broadcast, multiple ownership, foreign ownership, cross-ownership and ownership attribution policies;

proposals to alter provisions of the tax laws affecting broadcast operations and acquisitions;

proposals to regulate or prohibit payments to stations by independent record promoters, record labels and others for the inclusion of specific content in broadcast programming;

proposals to impose spectrum use fees or other fees on FCC licensees;

changes to allow satellite radio operators to insert local content into their programming service;

service and technical rules for digital radio, including possible additional public interest requirements for terrestrial digital audio broadcasters; and

proposals to require radio broadcasters to pay royalties to musicians and record labels for the performance of music played on the stations.

Available Information

Our executive offices are located at 7007 NW 77th Avenue, Miami, Florida 33166 and our telephone number is 305-441-6901. You can find more information about us at our Internet website located at www.spanishbroadcasting.com and the investor relations section of our website is located at www.spanishbroadcasting.com/investor-relations. This Annual Report, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, our current reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act are available free of charge on our Internet website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish such material to, the SEC. The SEC maintains an Internet site (http://www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC.

The information on our Internet website (including any other reference to such address in this Annual Report) is an inactive textual reference only, meaning that the information contained on or accessible from the website is not, and shall not be deemed to be  part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and is not incorporated by reference in this report or any other filings we make with the SEC.

Item 1A. Risk Factors

The following discussion of risk factors contains “forward-looking statements,” as discussed in “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.” These risk factors are important to understanding this Annual Report, our business and our other filings with the Commission. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below and the other information in connection with evaluating our business and the forward-looking statements in this Annual Report and our other filings with the Commission. These are not the only risks we face. Additional risks and uncertainties that we are not aware of or that we currently deem immaterial also may impair our business. If any of the following risks actually occur, our business, financial condition and operating results could be materially adversely affected and the trading price of our common stock, preferred stock and debt could decline.

The following information should be read in conjunction with Part II, Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” (“MD&A”), and the consolidated financial statements and related notes in Part II, Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Annual Report.  

Our business routinely encounters and addresses risks, some of which will cause our future results to be different – sometimes materially different – than we presently anticipate. A discussion about important operational risks that our business encounters can be found in the MD&A section and in the business descriptions in Part I, Item 1. “Business” of this Annual Report. Below, we describe certain important operational and strategic risks. Our reactions to material future developments as well as our competitors’ reactions to those developments will affect our future results.

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Risks Related to Our Indebtedness and Preferred Stock

Failure to repay our Notes

The Notes became due on April 17, 2017. Because we did not have sufficient cash on hand and did not generate sufficient cash from operations, the FCC spectrum auction and asset sales, we did not repay the Notes at their maturity. As of the date of the filing of this Annual Report, approximately $249.9 million in aggregate principal amount of the Notes remains outstanding. While we continue to evaluate all options to effect a successful consensual recapitalization or restructuring of our balance sheet, including a refinancing of the Notes, these efforts have been made more difficult and complex by the ongoing litigation with certain purported holders of our Series B Preferred Stock and uncertainty regarding the resolution of the foreign ownership issue, as described under Part I, Item 1. “Business—Our Continued Recapitalization and Restructuring Efforts.” We face various risks in our efforts to refinance the Notes, which are beyond our control, including the inherent difficulty and uncertainty in negotiations with the Noteholders, the availability of the capital markets to allow us access to fresh capital to repay the Notes on attractive terms or at all, and the possibility of an attempt by the Series B preferred stockholders to block our refinancing efforts, among others.  In addition, we face several negative effects of the Notes not being refinanced which will continue, and may be exacerbated, the longer it takes to effect that refinancing, as described under Part I, Item 1. “Business—Our Continued Recapitalization and Restructuring Efforts—Continuing Efforts to Refinance the Notes.”  

We cannot assure you that we will be successful in our recapitalization and restructuring efforts. Our failure to repay the Notes at their maturity resulted in an event of default under the Indenture and the Noteholders are able to exercise various remedies against us, including foreclosing on our assets that constitute collateral under the Indenture. The collateral constitutes substantially all of our assets and includes the equity of our subsidiaries that own our FCC licenses, our contractual rights and economic interests in such FCC licenses, and a significant portion of our operating cash. In the event we are unsuccessful in these efforts and one or more Noteholders seek to exercise remedies against us or our assets, we may be required to seek protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, among other things, in order to maximize the value of our company for all of our constituents.  While we believe that a Chapter 11 filing may create an avenue to successfully execute on our recapitalization and restructuring strategy, such a filing may also have several negative consequences to our business, including the costs and negative publicity that surrounds such a filing, reduced advertising revenue due to the uncertainty surrounding the filing, the potential need to sell assets (including the equity of our subsidiaries that own our FCC licenses) under distressed circumstances and the risk that we are unable to execute on a successful plan of reorganization and restructuring.

In addition, with respect to the announcement on our December 16, 2019 press release, which we summarized above under “Our Continuing Recapitalization and Restructuring Efforts,” we cannot assure you that the bank will be successful in raising that financing, that we will be able to raise the additional contemplated first lien asset-based financing or that we will be able to reach agreement that will be acceptable to us.

We face several risks relating to the existence of the Voting Rights Triggering Event.

As a result of our not having sufficient funds legally available to repurchase all of our Series B preferred stock for which repurchases were requested on October 15, 2013, a “Voting Rights Triggering Event” occurred (the “Voting Rights Triggering Event”) under the Certificate of Designations under which the Series B preferred stock was issued. For more information regarding the Voting Rights Triggering Event, see Note 10 to our 2019 financial statements that are included elsewhere in this Annual Report. As a result, the holders of the Series B preferred stock have the right to elect two members to our Board of Directors until that event is remedied or the Series B preferred stock is redeemed, waived or amended.  Although these directors were elected to the Board of Directors at our Annual Meeting held on June 6, 2014, they both subsequently resigned from their director positions on August 17, 2017.  Following these resignations, the holders of the Series B preferred stock to date have not exercised their right to elect two new members to our Board of Directors and those two director positions remain unfilled.

Until the Voting Rights Triggering Event is remedied, our business is subject to significant restrictions, unless such restrictions are waived or amended or our Series B preferred stock is refinanced on different terms. Waiving or amending the restrictions described below would require the consent of each holder of Series B preferred stock affected. Under these restrictions, among other things:

we are unable to incur any new indebtedness, including indebtedness to refinance the Notes; and

our ability to make investments or make restricted payments is significantly limited.

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Our ability to undertake certain mergers and consolidations requires the approval of a majority of the shares of the then outstanding Series B preferred stock, provided that, after such merger or consolidation no Voting Rights Triggering has occurred or is continuing.

These restrictions could have a material adverse effect on our ability to refinance the Notes and our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The Voting Rights Triggering Event continues until (i) all dividends in arrears shall have been paid in full and (ii) all other failures, breaches or defaults giving rise to such Voting Rights Triggering Event are remedied or waived by the holders of at least a majority of the shares of the then outstanding Series B preferred stock. We do not currently have sufficient funds legally available to be able to satisfy the conditions for terminating the Voting Rights Triggering Event.

In addition, we are currently engaged in litigation with a group of the purported holders of our Series B preferred stock, as summarized above under Part I, Item 1. “Business— Our Continued Recapitalization and Restructuring Efforts —The Series B Preferred Stock Litigation.”  

The failure to repay our Notes and our obligations under our Series B preferred stock adversely affects our financial condition and raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.

Our consolidated debt is substantial and we are highly leveraged, which adversely affects our financial condition and limits our ability to grow and compete. In addition, the existence of the Voting Rights Triggering Event hampers our operations, and may give the Series B preferred stockholders a basis to block our ability to refinance the Notes. These factors, as well as the risks summarized in the two preceding risk factors, are considerations that lead to our conclusion that, as an accounting matter, there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.

Upon a change of control, we must offer to repurchase all of the Notes and our Series B preferred stock.

The terms of our Notes and Series B preferred stock require us, in the event of a change of control, to offer to repurchase all or a portion of a holder’s (i) Notes at an offer price in cash equal to 101% of the principal amount plus accrued and unpaid interests to but excluding the purchase date and (ii) shares at an offer price in cash equal to 101% of the liquidation preference of the shares, plus an amount in cash equal to all accumulated and unpaid dividends on those shares up to but excluding the date of repurchase. We do not currently have cash to purchase the Notes or the Series B preferred stock and we will not likely have in the future sufficient funds legally available to make Series B preferred stock purchases. If we are required to purchase Notes in a change of control purchase offer and we do not do so, then we would be in default under the Indenture, which could lead, after a 30 day grace period, to an event of default under the Indenture and then the right of Noteholders to exercise various remedies against us, including a foreclosure on our assets that constitutes collateral for the Notes. Substantially all of our assets constitute collateral under the Notes.  

We have not generated sufficient cash to repay our Notes and our liabilities under our Series B preferred stock, and we may be forced to take other actions to satisfy our obligations under our Notes and Series B preferred stock, which may not be successful.

Our cash flows, capital resources and cash raised from the FCC spectrum auction and asset sales were insufficient to repay our Notes at their maturity and satisfy our obligations under our Series B preferred stock. As a result, we need to refinance the Notes or seek their repayment from a combination of sources, which has not yet occurred and at this time we cannot accurately predict when will we be able to do so, if at all. One consequence of this is that we have been forced to reduce or delay investments, acquisitions, the growth of our business generally and capital expenditures and will continue to be in that position until we address the Notes’ maturity. Our monthly cash balances are also significantly less due to the change to pay interest on the Notes on a monthly basis rather than on a semi-annual basis. We face various risks relating to our attempts to sell certain of our assets to raise cash to repay our Notes, including whether we will be able to effect any such sales on attractive terms or at all, the timing of any such sales, their impact on our cash flow and the risks of receiving FCC approval, which we may not be able to obtain. We may not be able to effect any such measures, if necessary, on commercially reasonable terms or at all, and, even if successful, those actions may not allow us to repay our Notes or satisfy our obligations with respect to our Series B preferred stock.

An additional potential consequence is that, if we refinance the Notes, holders of the Series B preferred stock may at the time claim that such refinancing is prohibited by the Certificate of Designations under which the Series B preferred stock was issued. We cannot assure you that we will be able to find sources of cash to pay the Notes. See “—Failure to repay our Notes.”

In addition, we conduct a substantial portion of our operations and own substantive assets through our subsidiaries. Accordingly, repayment of our Notes and satisfying our obligations under our Series B preferred stock is dependent on the generation of cash flow by our subsidiaries and their ability to make such cash available to us, by dividend, debt repayment or otherwise. Our subsidiaries may not be able to, or may not be permitted to, make distributions to enable us to make payments in respect of our Notes. Each subsidiary

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is a distinct legal entity, and under certain circumstances, legal, tax and contractual restrictions may limit our ability to obtain cash from our subsidiaries. While the Indenture limits the ability of our subsidiaries to incur consensual restrictions on their ability to pay dividends or make other intercompany payments to us, these limitations are subject to qualifications and exceptions. In the event that we do not receive distributions from our subsidiaries, we may be unable to make required payments on the Notes.

Our inability to generate sufficient cash flows or sell assets to repay our Notes, or to refinance our Notes and satisfy our obligations under the Series B preferred stock on commercially reasonable terms or at all, would materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

We are highly leveraged and our substantial level of indebtedness adversely affects our financial condition and prevents us from fulfilling our financial obligations.

As of December 31, 2019, we had $249.9 million of total debt outstanding which does not include the $185.0 million outstanding under the Series B preferred stock (comprised of approximately $90.5 million in liquidation preference and approximately $94.5 million in accrued dividends). Such amount outstanding under our Series B preferred stock is accounted for as a liability under generally accepted accounting principles in the United States. Our high indebtedness has had and will continue to have significant effect on our business. Our indebtedness, the terms of the Indenture and the existence of a Voting Rights Triggering Event have had and will continue to have several negative effects on us and creates several risks, including the following:

we did not repay the Notes at their maturity, as a result of which there was and continues to be an event of default under the Indenture;

requires us to use a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to pay interest at a rate of 12.5% per year on our Notes, which reduces the funds available for the implementation of our strategy, particularly regarding acquisitions and investments and more generally for working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes;

limits our ability to obtain additional financing for acquisitions and investments, working capital, capital expenditures, or general corporate purposes, which may limit the ability to execute our business strategy;

prevents us from raising the funds necessary to repurchase Notes tendered to us if there is a change of control or other event requiring such a repurchase, and any failure to repurchase Notes tendered for repurchase would constitute a default under the Indenture;

heightens our vulnerability to downturns in our business, our industry or in the general economy and restrict us from exploiting business opportunities or making acquisitions;

places us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that may have proportionately less debt and are not in default as we are;

limits management’s discretion in operating our business; and

limits our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business, the industry in which we operate or the general economy, or unexpected crises such as the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Each of these factors may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. We do not currently have sufficient cash on hand and we did not generate sufficient cash from operations or the sale of assets or as a result of the Broadcast Incentive Auction to pay the Notes at maturity. See “—Failure to repay our Notes”.

 

The terms of the Indenture and the Certificate of Designations for the Series B preferred stock restrict our current and future operations.

The terms of the Indenture and the Certificate of Designations for the Series B preferred stock contain restrictive covenants that impose significant restrictions on us and may limit, or prevent, our ability to engage in acts that may be in our long-term best interest, including restrictions or prohibitions on our ability to:

incur or guarantee additional indebtedness, including indebtedness to refinance the Notes;

pay dividends or make other distributions, repurchase or redeem our capital stock and make certain restricted investments and make other restricted payments;

sell assets;

incur liens;

enter into transactions with affiliates;

enter into sale and leaseback transactions;

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alter the businesses we conduct;

enter into agreements restricting our subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends, make loans and sell assets to the Company and other restricted subsidiaries;

enter into change of control transactions;

manage our FCC licenses and broadcast license subsidiaries; and

consolidate, merge or sell all or substantially all of our assets.

As a result of these restrictions, we are:

limited in how we conduct our business;

unable to satisfy our current obligations;

unable to raise additional debt or equity financing; and

unable to compete effectively or to take advantage of new business opportunities, including acquisition opportunities.

These restrictions negatively affect our ability to grow in accordance with our plans, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.

Risks Related to Our Business

We face several risks regarding the foreign ownership issue.

In light of the foreign ownership issue we summarize above under Part I, Item I, “Business—Our Continued Recapitalization and Restructuring Efforts—Foreign Ownership Issue” and Part I, Item I, “Federal Regulation of Radio and Television Broadcasting—Foreign Ownership,” under the Communications Act, FCC regulations and our Charter, we face several risks.  As a general matter and because of this foreign ownership issue, we have taken the following steps:

As a publicly traded company we review Commission filings by third parties regarding the ownership of our securities, though we are dependent in this regard on timely disclosures by third parties and may not be able to determine with certainty the exact amount of our stock that is held by foreign persons or entities at any given time.

On November 28, 2017, we notified the purported holders of our Series B preferred stock that we had suspended all of their rights, effective immediately, other than their right to transfer such shares to a citizen of the United States, due to the potential violation of Section 310 of the Communications Act and our Charter resulting from the ownership of a majority of our outstanding Series B preferred stock by foreign persons.  

We filed Current Reports on Form 8-K on November 28, 2017 and March 26, 2018 with the Commission to publicize and explain the foreign ownership issue and the suspension of rights, among other things.

In order to comply with the FCC’s rules establishing procedures to remediate inadvertent noncompliance with the foreign ownership rules, and upon the advice of FCC staff, we also filed a petition for declaratory ruling on December 4, 2017 which we summarize above under “Federal Regulation of Radio and Television Broadcasting – Foreign Ownership.” This petition is currently in abeyance pending resolution of the Series B Preferred Stock Litigation.

On April 27, 2018, we issued Notices of Ineffective Purported Purchase of Series B Preferred Stock to four investors notifying them that their claimed ownership of our outstanding Series B preferred stock shall, after the date of these notices, be treated as void and non-existent, unless and until these investors can demonstrate facts to the contrary supported by relevant documentation, because they attempted to acquire these shares in transactions that, if given effect, would have violated the limitations in our Charter regarding foreign ownership, as summarized under Part I, Item 1, “Business—Our Continued Recapitalization and Restructuring Efforts—Foreign Ownership Issue.”  As of the date of this Annual Report, these investors have not provided us with any facts or provided any documentation that would support a different legal conclusion.  

We took these actions in order to safeguard our most important assets, our FCC broadcast licenses, which would otherwise potentially be at risk if we failed to take appropriate measures to remain in compliance with the Communications Act.

On December 6, 2018, we received a letter from the Enforcement Bureau of the Investigations and Hearings Division (the “Bureau”) of the FCC advising us that we were under investigation for potential violations of Section 310(b) of the Communications Act, related to excess foreign ownership of broadcast stations.  As part of its investigation, the Bureau requested of the company detailed information and supporting documentation about the identities of the Series B preferred stockholders, the potential for a

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foreign ownership violation, the dates that the Company became aware of the situation, and the steps the Company took to address the situation.  We timely filed our response to the Bureau’s letter of inquiry on February 8, 2019. As of the date of this Annual Report, we have not received a response or any additional inquiries from the Bureau regarding this investigation.    

A failure to comply with applicable restrictions on ownership by foreign persons could result in an order to divest the non-compliant ownership, fines, denial of license renewal and/or spectrum license revocation proceedings, any of which would likely have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.  An FCC ruling denying the relief we requested in our petition for a declaratory ruling could require that we initiate legal proceedings to enforce the protective provisions set forth in our Charter to comply with the foreign ownership provisions of our Charter and the Communications Act, which may take many forms.  Further, the FCC could impose a monetary penalty against us and other significant enforcement penalties if the FCC concludes that we were not in compliance with the Communications Act.  Any of these would likely have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We have experienced net losses in the past and, to the extent that we experience net losses in the future, our ability to raise capital may be adversely affected.

We have historically experienced pre-tax net losses in the past. Failure to achieve sustained profitability may adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital and our ability to meet our obligations. Our inability to obtain financing in adequate amounts and on acceptable terms necessary to operate our business, repay our Notes, redeem or refinance our Series B preferred stock or finance future acquisitions negatively impacts our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and raises substantial doubts about our ability to continue as a going concern.

We face several risks relating to our NOL carry-forwards.

We face several risks to our federal and state NOL carry-forwards that were generated from prior period losses. As of December 31, 2019, these NOL carry-forwards amounted to $92.1 million and $91.3 million, respectively, after giving effect to the increases described in Note 13 (Income Taxes) to the Consolidated Financial Statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report.

NOL carryforwards generated after 2018 can be carried forward indefinitely. Pre-tax reform NOL carry-forwards may expire unused and be unavailable to offset future income tax liabilities. They expire in 2019 through 2037. Based on current information and expectations, it is more likely than not that the Company will not realize the use of all these NOL carry-forwards in the future because it may not generate future taxable income sufficient to use them all prior to expiration. As such, at December 31, 2019, the Company has provided a valuation allowance on substantially all of these NOL carry-forward deferred tax assets. See Note 13 (Income Taxes) to the Consolidated Financial Statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report.

We face the risk that current and future NOL carry-forwards will become subject to limitation under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (“Section 382”), and related Treasury Regulations.  As a general matter, our ability to utilize NOL carry-forwards or other tax attributes in any taxable year may be limited if we experience an ownership change for purposes of Section 382. A Section 382 ownership change generally occurs if one or more stockholders or groups of stockholders who own at least 5% of our stock increase their ownership by more than 50 percentage points over their lowest ownership percentage within a rolling three-year testing period. Similar rules may apply under state tax laws. In 2017, we determined that we underwent ownership changes in 2013 and 2017, which reduced available NOL carry-forwards, as described in Note 13 to the Consolidated Financial Statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report. We may undergo further, future ownership changes for purposes of Section 382.  The risk of such ownership changes is beyond the ability of the Company to control. Such ownership changes could result from future issuances by the Company or sales of our capital stock by and among third parties, including transfers of our Series B preferred stock. The foreign ownership issue regarding our Series B preferred stock, which we describe under “Part 1. Item 1, Business—Our Continued Recapitalization and Restructuring Efforts—Foreign Ownership Issue,” could well make the determination of an ownership change” for purposes of Section 382 more complex and difficult to make. It is possible that any ownership change could materially reduce our ability to use our NOL carry-forwards or other tax attributes to offset taxable income, which could require us to pay more income taxes than if we were able to fully utilize our NOL carry-forwards.

Finally, we face several risks regarding the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Legislation”).  The impact included a provision to reduce the federal corporate income tax rate to 21% and restrictions on our ability to deduct interest expense and to use future generated NOLs to offset future generated income, among other things. Accordingly, the Tax Legislation, as well as any additional tax reform legislation in the United States or elsewhere or future regulations or interpretations of the Tax Legislation, could affect our business and financial condition by, among other things, decreasing the value of our NOL carry-forwards. In addition, assessing the overall impact of this and other legislation on the value of our NOL carry-forwards is difficult to do for several reasons, including due to the difficulty of making projections of future taxable income.

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The risks we summarize above are beyond our ability to control and could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial condition and business.

Our industry is highly competitive, and we compete for advertising revenue with other broadcast stations, as well as other media, many operators of which have greater resources than we do.

Our industry is highly competitive, and the success of our stations is primarily dependent upon their share of overall advertising revenues within their markets, especially in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. Our broadcast stations compete in their respective markets for audiences and advertising revenues with other broadcast stations of all formats, as well as with other media, such as newspapers, magazines, television, satellite radio, cable services, outdoor advertising, direct mail, Internet radio, smart phones, tablets and other wireless media, the Internet and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. In addition, any changes in the methods used to determine ratings could result in a downward adjustment in our ratings, which could adversely affect our advertising sales in the markets in which we operate.

Although we believe that each of our broadcast stations is able to compete effectively in its respective market, our stations may be unable to maintain or increase their current audience ratings and advertising revenues. Specifically, radio stations can change formats quickly. Any other radio station currently broadcasting could shift its format to duplicate the format of, or develop a format which is more popular than, any of our stations. If a station converts its programming to a format similar to that of one of our stations, or if one of our competitors strengthens its operations, the ratings and station operating income of our station in that market could be adversely affected. Further, we could also lose some of our on-air personalities, which may adversely affect our competitive position in those markets. In addition, other radio companies which are larger and have greater financial and other resources than we have may also enter markets in which we operate. A bankruptcy filing could also have an adverse impact on our advertising revenue as advertisers may decide to advertise with our competitors due to any ongoing business uncertainty that may result from such bankruptcy filing. See “—Failure to repay our Notes.”  

Any of these events could cause our stations’ audience ratings, market shares and advertising revenues to decline and any adverse change in a particular market could have a material adverse effect on the financial condition of our business as a whole.

COVID-19 will likely have a negative effect on our business, financial position, results of operations, liquidity or cash flows but it is difficult to predict that impact with certainty.

 

Given the nature of our business, COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, will likely have a negative effect on our business, though it is difficult to predict with certainty or precision the degree of impact.  Advertising revenue, and in particular cash advertising sales, makes up the majority of our revenue, and, like other radio and TV broadcast companies and similar businesses that depend on advertising spend, we expect to experience a decline in this revenue stream due to COVID-19. In response to this current health crisis, governmental authorities have imposed certain restrictions, including travel bans and recommendations on the limitation of social gatherings. The health dangers of COVID-19, the length of time it will last, the impact these things will have on the general economy and in the markets in which operate are unknowns at this time, and may be unknown for some time to come. While we believe that our radio and TV businesses will prove ultimately resilient in the face of a possible recession, the factors mentioned in the last sentence make it difficult to predict with certainty or precision the negative impact of COVID-19 on our business, financial position, results of operations, liquidity or cash flows, and that impact could be material.

A large portion of our net revenue and operating income currently comes from our New York, Los Angeles and Miami markets.

Our New York, Los Angeles and Miami markets accounted for more than 65% of our net revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019. Therefore, any volatility in our revenues or operating income attributable to stations in these markets could have a significant adverse effect on our consolidated net revenue or operating income. A significant decline in net revenue or operating income from our stations in any of these markets could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.  The recent uncertainty surrounding the public health concerns over the global outbreak of COVID-19 have caused significant disruptions in these markets and uncertainty in their economic outlook.

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Since our revenues are concentrated in these markets, an economic downturn, increased competition or another significant negative event in any of these markets , including the recent outbreak of COVID-19, could reduce our revenues and results of operations more dramatically than other companies that do not depend as much on these markets.

Cancellations, reductions, delays and seasonality in advertising could adversely affect our net revenues.

We do not generally obtain long-term commitments from our advertisers. As a result, our advertisers may cancel, reduce or postpone orders. Cancellations, reductions or delays in purchases of advertising time could adversely affect our net revenue, especially if we are unable to replace these purchases. The recent uncertainty surrounding the public health concerns over the global outbreak of COVID-19 have caused significant disruptions and uncertainty in the financial markets and global economic outlook. These economic conditions, including lower economic growth rates, may remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. We believe that as a result, our customers may alter their purchasing activities in response to the current and future economic environments, and, among other things, our customers may change or scale back future purchases of advertising leading to increased cancellations, reductions or postponed orders. Our expense levels are based, in part, on expected future net revenues and are relatively fixed once set. Therefore, unforeseen decreases in advertising sales could have a material adverse impact on our net revenues and operating income.

In addition, we experience fluctuations in our broadcasting revenue primarily due to seasonal variations in advertising expenditures by local, regional and national advertisers, causing our net broadcasting revenues to vary throughout the year. Historically, our first calendar quarter (January through March) has generally produced the lowest net broadcasting revenue for the year because of routine post-holiday decreases in advertising expenditures.

The effects of such seasonality, combined with any other changes in our broadcasting revenue, make it difficult to estimate future operating results based on the previous results of any specific quarter and may adversely affect operating results.

The success of our radio stations depends on the popularity and appeal of our content, which is difficult to predict.

We format the programming of each of our radio stations to capture a substantial share of the U.S. Hispanic audience in their respective markets. The U.S. Hispanic population is diverse, consisting of numerous identifiable groups from many different countries of origin and each with its own musical and cultural heritage. Various factors could impact the popularity of our content, including shifts in population, station listenership, demographics, audience tastes and fluctuations in preferred advertising media. The success of our radio stations depends on our ability to consistently create, acquire, market and broadcast content that meets the changing preferences of this broad consumer market. If we are not successful at maintaining and growing the popularity of our content, our operating results may be adversely affected.

The success of our television operation depends upon our ability to attract viewers and advertisers to our broadcast television operation.

In 2019, our television segment was profitable and we recorded positive consolidated operating income for our television segment under our Indenture, however, we may not achieve profitability in the future. We cannot assure you that we will be able to attract viewers and advertisers to our broadcast television operation. If we cannot attract viewers, our television operation may suffer from low ratings, which in turn may deter potential advertisers. The inability to successfully attract viewers and advertisers may adversely affect our revenue and operating results for our television operation. Television programming is a highly competitive business. Television stations compete in their respective markets for audiences and advertising revenues with other stations and larger, more established networks. As a result of this competition, our rating share may not grow, and an adverse change in our local markets could have a material adverse impact on the revenue of our television operation.

The success of the television operation is largely dependent on certain factors, such as the extent of distribution of the developed programming, the ability to attract viewers and advertisers, the ability to acquire programming, and the market and advertiser acceptance of our programming. We may not be successful in our initiatives, and our initiatives may fail to generate revenues and may ultimately be unprofitable.

The loss of distribution agreements could materially adversely affect our results of operations.

Our MegaTV television operation has entered into station distribution agreements that allow us to serve markets representing over 3.1 million Hispanic households. If our distribution agreements are terminated or not extended, our ability to reach our viewers and receive licensing fees may be adversely affected, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Although we expect to renew these agreements or make other arrangements to reach viewers, there is no assurance that we will be able to do so. We receive advertising inventory from our affiliated stations, either in the form of stand-alone advertising time within a specified time period or commercials inserted by MegaTV into its programming. In addition, primarily with respect to Multichannel Video Programming Distributors, we receive a fee for providing such programming. The loss of distribution agreements

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of our MegaTV television operation could adversely affect our results of operations by reducing the reach of our network programming and, therefore, its attractiveness to advertisers. Renewal on less favorable terms may also adversely affect our results of operations through the reduction of advertising revenue and fees.

Our business is affected by natural catastrophes that can disrupt our operations, including by causing failure or destruction of satellites and transmitter facilities that we depend upon to distribute our programming.

We use studios, satellite systems, transmitter facilities and the Internet to originate and/or distribute our station and network programs and commercials to affiliates. We rely on third-party contracts and services to operate our origination and distribution facilities. These third-party contracts and services include, but are not limited to, electrical power, satellite transponders, uplinks and downlinks and telecom circuits. Distribution may be disrupted due to one or more third parties losing their ability to provide particular services to us, which could adversely affect our distribution capabilities. A disruption can be caused as a result of any number of events such as local disasters (accidental or environmental), including hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, flooding or other severe weather, various acts of terrorism, power outages, major telecom connectivity failures or satellite failures. Our ability to distribute programming to station audiences and/or network affiliates may be disrupted for an undetermined period of time until alternate facilities are engaged and put on-line. Furthermore, until third-party services resume, the inability to originate or distribute programming could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and cash flows.

We may incur property and other losses that are not adequately covered by insurance.

Although we maintain insurance that we believe is customary and appropriate for our business, we cannot assure you that insurance will be available or adequate to cover all losses and damage to which our business or our assets might be subjected. The lack of adequate insurance for certain types or levels of risk could expose us to significant losses in the event that a catastrophe occurred for which we are uninsured or underinsured. Any losses we incur that are not adequately covered by insurance may decrease our future operating income, require us to find replacements or repairs for destroyed property and reduce the funds available for payments of our obligations. We renew our insurance policies on an annual basis. The cost of coverage may become so high that we may need to further reduce our policy limits, further increase our deductibles, or agree to certain exclusions from our coverage.

We must respond to rapid changes in technology, content creation, services and standards in order to remain competitive.

Video, telecommunications, radio and data services technologies used in the entertainment industry are changing rapidly. Advances in technologies or alternative methods of product delivery or storage, or certain changes in consumer behavior driven by these or other technologies and methods of delivery and storage, could have a negative effect on our businesses. Examples of the foregoing include the convergence of television broadcasts and online delivery of programming to televisions and other devices, video-on-demand platforms, tablets, satellite radio, user-generated content sites, Internet and mobile distribution of video content via streaming and downloading, and place-shifting of content from the home to portable devices on which content is viewable outside the home. For example, devices that allow users to view or listen to television or radio programs on a time-delayed basis; technologies, such as DVRs, that enable users to fast-forward or skip advertisements or increase the sharing of subscription content; systems that allow users to access our copyrighted product over the Internet or other media; and portable digital devices and systems that enable users to view programming or store or make portable copies of programming, may cause changes in consumer behavior that could affect the attractiveness of our offerings to advertisers and adversely affect our revenues. Also, the growing uses of user-generated content sites and live and stored video streaming sites, which deliver unauthorized copies of copyrighted content, including those emanating from other countries in various languages, may adversely impact our businesses. In addition, further increases in the use of Internet-connected television or other digital devices, which allow users to consume content of their own choosing, in their own time and remote locations while avoiding traditional commercial advertisements or subscription payments, could adversely affect our radio and television broadcasting advertising and subscription revenues. Users who reduce, cancel or never had cable television subscription services are also known as “cord-cutters” or “cord-nevers”. Cable providers and DBS operators are developing new techniques that allow them to transmit more channels on their existing equipment to highly targeted audiences, reducing the cost of creating channels and potentially leading to the division of the television marketplace into more specialized niche audiences. More television and video programming options increase competition for viewers and competitors targeting programming to narrowly defined audiences may gain an advantage over us for television advertising and subscription revenues. Television manufacturers, cable providers and others are developing and offering technology to enable viewers to locate digital copies of programming from the Internet to view on television monitors or other devices, which could diminish viewership of our programming. Generally, changing consumer behavior may impact our traditional distribution methods, for example, by reducing viewership of our programming, which could have an adverse impact on our revenues and profitability. Anticipating and adapting to changes in technology on a timely basis and exploiting new sources of revenue from these changes will affect our ability to continue to increase our revenue.  Our inability to successfully implement our recapitalization strategy may adversely affect our ability to respond and adapt to changes in technology on a timely basis or at all.  

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Cybersecurity risks could affect our operations and adversely affect our business.

We are dependent on the security and reliability of information and communications technology, systems, networks and the Internet. We rely on our information technology systems and those of third-party providers to manage our business data, communications, advertising content, order entry, and other business processes.  Additionally, our information technology systems and processes need to support the future growth of our business and require modifications or upgrades, from time to time. Such use and development exposes us to potential computer system and network failures and cyber incidents, resulting from deliberate attacks or unintentional events caused by circumstances beyond our control, including power outages, catastrophic events and natural disasters. We therefore face the risk of an event or attack, resulting in remediation costs, increased cyber security protection costs, lost revenue, legal risks and reputational damage. Despite our security measures, we have been the target of cyber-attacks, including phishing attacks, ransomware attacks, and future attacks are likely to occur including network and information systems-related events, such as computer hackings, cyber threats, security breaches, viruses or other destructive or disruptive software, process breakdowns, or malicious other activities. While no cyber-attack has had a material impact on the Company thus far, if successful, these attacks could also result in unauthorized access and disclosure of nonpublic corporate or personal information and other sensitive information, the adverse disruption of our services and operations, misstated financial information, liability for stolen assets or information and financial consequences which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.    

Our business is dependent upon the performance of key employees, on-air talent and program hosts. Cost increases in the retention of such employees may adversely affect our profits.

Our business depends upon the efforts, abilities and expertise of our executive officers and other key employees, including on-air talent, and our ability to hire and retain qualified personnel. We employ or independently contract with several on-air personalities and hosts with significant loyal audiences in their respective markets. Although we have entered into long-term agreements with some of our key on-air talent and program hosts to protect our interests in those relationships, these key on-air personalities and program hosts may not remain with us or may not retain their audiences. Competition for these individuals is intense, and many of our key employees are at-will employees who are under no legal obligation to remain with us. Our competitors may choose to extend offers to any of these individuals on terms which we may be unwilling to meet. In addition, any or all of our key employees may decide to leave for a variety of personal or other reasons beyond our control. Furthermore, the popularity and audience loyalty of our key on-air talent and program hosts is highly sensitive to rapidly changing public tastes. A loss of such popularity or audience loyalty is beyond our control and could limit our ability to generate ratings and revenues.

The loss of any of our executive officers and key employees, particularly Raúl Alarcón, Chairman of our Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer and President, could have a material adverse effect on our business. We do not maintain key man life insurance on any of our personnel.

We produce and acquire programming and content and incur costs for all types of creative talent, including on-air talent, programming and production personnel. An increase in the costs of such programming and content or in the costs for creative talent may lead to decreased profitability.

Impairment of our goodwill and other intangible assets deemed to have indefinite useful lives can cause our net income or net loss to fluctuate significantly.

As of December 31, 2019, we had approximately $344.1 million of unamortized intangible assets, including goodwill of $32.8 million and FCC broadcast licenses of $311.3 million on our consolidated balance sheet. These unamortized intangible assets represented approximately 73% of our total assets. Accounting standards require that goodwill and other intangible assets deemed to have indefinite useful lives, such as FCC broadcast licenses, are not amortized. Accounting standards require that goodwill and certain intangible assets be tested at least annually for impairment. If we find that the carrying value of goodwill or FCC broadcast licenses exceeds their fair value, we will reduce the carrying value of the goodwill or intangible asset to the fair value and will recognize an impairment loss in our results of operations.

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We currently account for our FCC broadcast licenses as indefinite-lived assets. In the event we are no longer able to conclude that our FCC broadcast licenses have indefinite lives, we may be required to amortize such licenses. The amortization of our FCC broadcast licenses would affect our earnings and earnings per share.

The impairment tests require us to make estimates of the fair value of our intangible assets, which is determined by using a discounted cash flow methodology. Since a number of factors may influence the fair value of our intangible assets, we are unable to predict whether impairments of goodwill or other indefinite lived intangibles will occur in the future. From time to time in the past, we have incurred significant impairment charges, which have materially adversely affected our results of operations.

Any future impairments would result in our recognizing a corresponding operating loss, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Piracy of our programming and other content, including digital and Internet piracy, may decrease revenue received from the exploitation of our programming and other content and adversely affect our business and profitability.

Piracy of programming is prevalent in many parts of the world and is made easier by technological advances allowing conversion of programming and other content into digital formats, which facilitates the creation, transmission and sharing of high quality unauthorized copies of our content. We believe that the proliferation of unauthorized copies and piracy of these products has an adverse effect on our business and profitability because these products reduce the revenue that we potentially could receive from the legitimate sale and distribution of our media content.

Damage to our brands or reputation could adversely affect our company.

Our brands and our reputation are among our most important assets. Our ability to attract and retain advertisers for our broadcast stations depends, in part, upon the external perceptions of our company, our ability to produce attractive programming, the strength of our audience and our integrity. Damage to our brands or reputation or negative publicity or perceptions about us, either through infringement of our brands, intellectual property or otherwise, could cause a loss of consumer or advertiser confidence in our company and may adversely affect our financial condition.

Our business may be adversely affected by legal or governmental proceedings brought by or on behalf of our employees.

In recent years, a number of employers, including us, have been subject to lawsuits, including alleging violations of federal and state law regarding workplace, wage-hour and employment discrimination matters, class action lawsuits, and a number of these lawsuits have resulted in the payment of substantial damages by the defendants. We could also face potential liability if we are found to have misclassified certain employees as exempt from the overtime requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state labor laws, or for having classified certain personnel as contractors and not as employees under applicable law. We have had and now have some employment-related administrative proceedings and lawsuits pending against us, although none involving class allegations and none that we believe to be material.

Raúl Alarcón, the Chairman of our Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer and President, has majority voting control of our common stock and 100% voting control of our Series C preferred stock and this control may discourage or influence certain types of transactions or strategic initiatives.

Raúl Alarcón, Chairman of our Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer and President, beneficially owns shares of common stock representing approximately 85% of the combined voting power of our outstanding shares of common stock as of December 31, 2019. Such combined voting power includes Mr. Alarcón’s voting control over 380,000 shares of Series C preferred stock (convertible into 760,000 shares of Class A common stock) pursuant to his capacity as trustee for the AAA Trust. As a result, Mr. Alarcón generally has the ability to control the outcome of all matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of our entire Board of Directors, mergers and acquisitions and sales of all or substantially all of our assets, and our recapitalization strategy. Mr. Alarcón’s voting power may allow him to have a greater influence on our corporate strategy than other equity holders.

We cannot assure you that Mr. Alarcón will maintain all or any portion of his ownership or that he would continue as an officer or director if he sells a significant part of his stock. Further, the disposition by Mr. Alarcón of a sufficient number of shares could result in a change in control of our company, which could trigger a variety of federal, state and local regulatory consent requirements and potentially limit our utilization of NOLs for income tax purposes, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and the secondary market prices of our securities.

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Because our stock currently trades below $5.00 per share, and is quoted on the OTCQB Venture Market, our stock is considered a “penny stock” which can adversely affect its liquidity.

As the trading price of our common stock is less than $5.00 per share, our common stock is considered a “penny stock,” and trading in our common stock is subject to the requirements of Rule 15g-9 under the Exchange Act. Under this rule, broker/dealers who recommend low-priced securities to persons other than established customers and accredited investors must satisfy special sales practice requirements. The broker/dealer must m