Radio & TV Station Financing - Observations - Spring 2019


The 10+ year freeze in small and middle market lending to broadcasters continues. Smaller local banks continue to refinance existing loans, and to consider modest acquisitions for existing customers.

Institutional private equity, and venture capital are virtually nonexistent.

We are conducting appraisals for a few banks and finance companies that are originating new loans to broadcasters. All of these loans have had the following characteristics:*

  • The stations are currently operating on a profitable basis. Often the stations are located in the same city as the bank providing the senior debt.
  • The bank already knows the buyer of the local broadcast stations
  • Senior loans are in the range of $2 Million to $10 Million
  • SBA Guaranteed senior loans may be available up to $1.4 Million
  • Total debt generally is no greater than three times (3X) trailing cash flow
Traditional financing does not appear to be available in the following situations:*
  • Stations that are operating at a loss, or operating with minimal profitability
  • New ("start-up" or "stick") stations
  • AM-only radio stations (except a few Asian and religious stations in the very largest markets)
  • Low-Power TV stations that lack long-term cable carriage contracts, or major network affiliations
  • New radio, TV, or cable programming services, unless the borrower has business start-up experience, and there is a substantial equity partner
* HSMC is not a commercial bank, or a direct lender. It is it not making any offers to lend or invest money in any manner. The preceding comments represent personal opinion and is subject to change without notice.