Thursday, July 06, 2017

Trouble at the Broadcast Museum

From this morning's Inside Radio...

It bills itself as “one of the country’s most respected media museums,” but that apparently has not helped the Museum of Broadcast Communications pay the bills. The 35-year Chicago-based destination has not paid its mortgage since 2015—and is now facing a final shutdown deadline of this December, according to a story in Crain’s Chicago Business.

The museum remains open in a 62,000-square-foot four-story building and includes the National Radio Hall of Fame, a vintage WGN Radio studio, doors from “The Oprah Winfrey Show” set, and television shows from the 1990s, including “Friends” and “The Simpsons,” Crain’s reports.

As of last August, the nonprofit owed $2.5 million to Pepper Construction in Chicago, which holds the building’s mortgage. Pepper and museum officials are “in ongoing discussions about how this matter can be resolved,” said Bruce DuMont, museum founder and president, according to the story. “We are doing whatever needs to be done.”

A meeting scheduled for Wednesday (July 5) was seen as being pivotal to the future of the museum. Larry Wert, the museum’s interim board chair, president of broadcast media at Tribune Media and a longtime Chicago broadcast exec added, “We have more than one strategic plan that we are currently evaluating with stakeholders.”

Crain’s says the museum ended 2015 with an operating deficit of $561,331, according to its tax filing, the most recent one available. The tax filing values the museum building at $16 million.