George Soros set to take over America’s second-biggest radio station chain

The stations in Audacy's portfolio include New York's WFAN and 1010 WINS, Los Angeles-based KROQ, and Minnesota's WCCO Radio.

George Soros, founder and former chairman of the Open Society Foundation, gives a speech during an economic forum in Brussels, Belgium on June 1, 2017. (Shutterstock)

Billionaire financier George Soros is set to take a controlling stake in the second-biggest radio company in America, after his investment firm snapped up a massive chunk of the radio firm’s debt that will be converted to stock after it exits bankruptcy.

Soros Fund Management, the investment firm founded by Mr. Soros, owns over $414 million of the highest-tier debt of Audacy Inc., a Philadelphia-based company that owns hundreds of radio stations, bankruptcy court filings show.

The Soros investment firm, which is listed alongside other Audacy lenders that are members of the “ad hoc first lien group,” is poised to have its debt converted into Audacy stock as part of a restructuring of the company.

Audacy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year in order to reduce and restructure its $1.9 billion debt, converting most of it into stock.

“Through the restructuring, Audacy and its debtholders will undertake a deleveraging transaction to equitize approximately $1.6 billion of funded debt, a reduction of 80 percent from approximately $1.9 billion to approximately $350 million,” the company said in a Jan. 7 press release.

There were a number of critical reactions as word spread on social media that Mr. Soros’s investment firm is set to assume a major stake in America’s number two radio station chain.

The Hungarian-born billionaire activist is known for using his vast wealth to support various left-leaning causes.

‘Perfect storm’

Under the restructuring plan, high-ranking creditors will be repaid in stock while lower-tier debtholders will be wiped out. Audacy expects final bankruptcy court approval of the plan at some point in February, followed by a green light from the Federal Communications Commission that will allow it to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

Audacy CEO David Field said in a statement that the company’s troubles were the result of a “perfect storm of macroeconomic challenges” that hit the advertising market and led to a “sharp reduction of several billion dollars in cumulative radio ad spending.”

The stations in Audacy’s portfolio include New York’s WFAN and 1010 WINS, Los Angeles-based KROQ, as well as Boston stations WEEI, Mix 104.1, and Magic 106.7.

Other Audacy lenders listed as first-lien debtholders include Solus Alternative Asset Management, Mockingbird Credit Opportunities Company, and Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

A request for comment to Audacy was not immediately returned. However, an Audacy spokesperson told the Boston Herald that “the decision by our existing and new debtholders to become equity holders in Audacy represents a significant vote of confidence in our company and the future of the radio and audio business.”

For Mr. Soros, the expected debt-to-equity conversion that will see his investment fund take a massive stake in Audacy follows other investments in media.

Last year, Soros Fund Management was among a group of lenders that bought Vice Media out of bankruptcy in a transaction valued at around $350 million.

Musk to the rescue?

Dov Hikind, a former New York State Assemblyman and founder of the Americans Against Antisemitism coalition, took to X to comment disapprovingly on the development.

“At least we have X thanks of course to @elonmusk — Still this isn’t very good to hear,” he wrote, referring to news that Mr. Soros’ investment firm is poised to take a controlling stake in a major American media network.

“Elon, any space left on your plate? Maybe outbid George Soros fund poised to take control of nation’s second-largest chain of radio stations: ‘This is scary,’” he added.

A number of critical posts tagged Mr. Musk, who has been a vocal critic of Mr. Soros and his support for various left-leaning causes.

Mr. Musk, who famously bought Twitter and promised to allow more free speech on the platform, has accused Mr. Soros of pushing various leftist policies that “erode the fabric of civilization.”

He said in an episode of the Joe Rogan podcast that Mr. Soros developed a strategy to influence the political landscape by donating to election campaigns, especially those of left-leaning district attorneys.

Mr. Musk said Mr. Soros has found that by helping get local officials who share his left-leaning views elected, he can push policies without having to actually change the laws.

“You just need to change how they are enforced,” Mr. Musk said.

“If nobody chooses to enforce the laws, or the laws are differentially enforced, then it’s like changing the laws,” he added.

“In my opinion, he fundamentally hates humanity,” Mr. Musk said of Mr. Soros. “That’s my opinion.”

The Open Society Foundation that Mr. Soros founded did not respond to a request for comment on Mr. Musk’s remarks.

Mr. Soros has faced numerous allegations that he is using his vast wealth to push leftist progressive policies, and some district attorneys he helped get elected have been called “Soros-funded DAs.”

Mr. Soros wrote an op-ed explaining why he’s donated to “reform-minded prosecutors” and why he has “no intention of stopping.”

“The funds I provide enable sensible reform-minded candidates to receive a hearing from the public. Judging by the results, the public likes what it’s hearing,” Mr. Soros wrote.

Last year, Mr. Soros ceded control of Open Society Foundations to his son, Alex Soros, who has pledged to be even more politically involved than his father.

Mr. Alex Soros warned in an op-ed in Politico that a victory in 2024 by former President Donald Trump — or another “MAGA-style” candidate — would deliver a blow to the globalist agenda.


Tom Ozimek | The Epoch Times

Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.