Thursday, May 4, 2017

| May 4, 2017

iHeartMedia Posts Q1 Consolidated Revenue Dip of 2.4%.  In today’s release of 2017 first quarter financial data, iHeartMedia reports consolidated revenue was $1.32 billion – down 2.4% from the same period in 2016.  That figure includes the Americas Outdoor and International Outdoor segments, which both saw revenue decreases.  The iHeartMedia segment’s revenue was $757 million – up 2.5% from the first quarter of 2016.  The report also notes that the revenue increase was “driven primarily by increases in trade and barter, sponsorship and other revenues surrounding our live events, and digital, as well as our core radio business.  These increases were partially offset by a decrease in political advertising revenues and lower revenue from our traffic and weather business.”  Once again, the company includes language about its tenuous debt situation in a section that details its payments and coming obligations: “For the year ended December 31, 2016, we adopted a new accounting standard that requires us to evaluate on a quarterly basis whether there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months following the date our financial statements are issued.  A substantial amount of our cash requirements are for debt service obligations.  Although we have generated operating income, we incurred net losses and had negative cash flows from operations for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, as well as for the quarter ended March 31, 2017. Our current operating plan indicates we will continue to incur net losses and generate negative cash flows from operating activities given iHeartCommunications’ indebtedness and related interest expense.  During the quarter ended March 31, 2017, we spent $570.4 million of cash on payments of principal and interest on our debt, net of facility draws and proceeds received, and anticipate having approximately $1.7 billion of cash interest payment obligations for the full year 2017. At March 31, 2017, we had debt maturities totaling $316.5 million, $324.2 million and $8,369.0 million in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.  Our debt maturities at March 31, 2017 include $305.0 million outstanding under our receivables based credit facility, which matures on December 24, 2017, and $112.1 million of 10% Senior Notes due January 15, 2018. Based on the significance of the forecasted future negative cash flows, including the maturities of the $305.0 million receivables based credit facility and the $112.1 million 10% Senior Notes due January 15, 2018, and the uncertainty of the outcomes of the notes exchange offers and term loan offers, management has determined that there is substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months following May 4, 2017 as a result of uncertainty around our ability to refinance or extend the maturity of our receivables based credit facility, to achieve our forecasted results and to achieve sufficient cash interest savings from the pending notes exchange offers and term loan offers.”

Radio Advertising Down 8.7% in First Quarter for Radio One; Company Name Change to Urban One Effective Tomorrow.  The radio advertising sector of Radio One, Inc’s first quarter of 2017 garnered $46.1 million – a decrease from the same period in 2016.  Net revenue for the entire company was $101.2 million – down 7.1% from Q1 in 2016.  Radio One president and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “A combination of tough political comps in radio, and non-recurring major client spending at Reach Media, made for a weak start to the year in radio advertising.  TV One ratings held up well overall (+4% Household, and flat 24-54 total day), although we were down in the younger-end demographic. Despite this, we were able to post growth in Adjusted EBITDA for the division.  Our digital business will be bolstered by the acquisition of the Bossip and Madame Noire brands, which will be immediately accretive.  MGM National Harbor continues to perform well, and we have accrued approximately $1.5 million of income in the first quarter.  We remain committed to growing our cash flow in 2017, despite the slow start to the year.  Our name change to Urban One will become effective on May 5th, and will better reflect our diversified multimedia platform.”

Saga Communications Down 4.1% in First Quarter.  Net revenue for the first quarter of 2017 for Saga Communications was $31.4 million, down 4.1% from the same period a year ago.  The company attributes that decline primarily to reduction in political revenue of $1.3 million from the same quarter in 2016.  For the quarter, station operating expense increased 1.5% to $25.1 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations).  Operating income decreased $1.9 million to $3.5 million. Free cash flow for the quarter was $3.2 million.

GOP Health Care Bill, Comey Hearing, Hillary Clinton Interview, Colbert’s Anti-Trump Rant, North Korea Tensions, Cop Slays Texas Teen, French Presidential Race, and MLB, NBA and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/3).  The GOP’s plans to put its American Health Care Act to a vote today; the controversy over FBI Director James Comey’s testimony about notifying Congress about new emails in the Hillary Clinton investigation just days before the election; Hillary Clinton’s interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour; the flap over Stephen Colbert’s use of sexual language in his anti-Trump rant; North Korea’s jab at China and its threats against the U.S.; the slaying of a 15-year-old black boy by a Balch Springs, Texas cop; the French presidential race between far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and moderate Emmanuel Macron; and MLB, NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Former “Saturday Night Live” star and current WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” morning personality Joe Piscopo announces he will not be running for Governor of New Jersey, after all.  Piscopo had been entertaining running as a Republican but now says he’ll back current Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno…..Anthem Broadcasting LLC, the parent of USA Radio Networks, announces a “$1.25 million investment” in the company by Florida based Innerself Marketing.  Anthem Broadcasting LLC was formed by Liftable Media Inc in 2015 to acquire the assets of USA Radio.  USA Radio CEO Floyd Brown says, “We have experienced and amazing turnaround at USA Radio since the fall of 2015.  But it is about to get better.  Innerself Marketing is the perfect partner to strengthen and build USA Radio Networks.  Innerself is a marketing dynamo, and the combination of an outstanding radio platform and an advertising powerhouse will lead to even greater success.”…..NPR sports commentator Frank Deford announces that he’s retiring from his gig on the “Morning Edition” program.  Deford was working for Sports Illustrated when he began doing commentaries for NPR back in 1980…..The real-life couple Kate Fagan and Kathryn Budig are launching a new podcast called “Free Cookies” from espnW and ESPN Audio.  Fagan writes for espnW and makes appearances on “SportsCenter.”  Budig is a best-selling author and yoga expert.  In the premiere episode, the two speak to soccer star Abby Wambach…..The “America Outdoors Radio” program that focuses on fishing, hunting and shooting sports, announces it signs up new affiliate stations  KBRV, Soda Springs, Idaho; KNYN, Evanston, Wyoming; and KELA, Centralia, Washington.  “America Outdoors Radio” is hosted and produced by John Kruse and is sponsored by Media Index Publishing…..This Saturday is the 143rd running of the Kenturcky Derby and Westwood One is presenting national radio and audio streaming coverage of the race in conjunction with NBC Sports Radio and the Horse Racing Radio NetworkMike Penna is serving as anchor.  Derby coverage is also being presented on SiriusXM.

Dave Ramsey Celebrating 25th Anniversary of Radio Show. This year, Dave Ramsey is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his nationally syndicated radio program.  He begins today by including special anniversary segments on the show.  Ramsey’s show launched in 1992 and the Ramsey Solutions company says that “no one could have predicted the show’s longevity or its continued growth.”  Dave Ramsey says, “The radio show happened by accident.  I lost everything because I was stupid and borrowed too much money.  When I discovered and applied common-sense financial principles in my own life and began teaching them, a friend invited me on a little brokered radio station to help people with their money problems.  I’m sure our delivery was horrendous, but we offered truth, instruction and hope.  We’ve refined that over the years, because that’s what people need.”

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Detroit morning show Dave & Chuck – Dave Hunter and Chuck “The Freak” Urquhart with co-host Lisa Way – are re-upped for four years by Beasley Media Group to continue hosting their program on rock WRIF.   The show launched at WRIF in 2013 and has since added co-host Andy Green, producer James Campbell and video editor Jason Watson. Beasley Detroit market manager Mac Edwards says, “Of course, we extended their contracts!  Dave and Chuck have crushed the competition and dominated Detroit’s morning radio for men and women, ranking #1 in every key demo including 18 to 34, 18 to 49 and 25 to 54!  We value their amazing talent and are fortunate to work with them.”…..Hubbard Radio’s classic rock WDRV, Chicago “The Drive” announces it has hired Chicago media pro Jill Egan to serve as producer for the “Sherman & Tingle” morning show, featuring Brian Sherman and Steve Tingle.  Egan says, “Producing a radio show is the most challenging, but also the most rewarding, position I’ve held in my broadcast career.  Sherman and Tingle are both extraordinarily talented, hilarious, hard-working, and genuine guys.  I share the same drive to succeed as they do.”…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Kathy Hart – one half of the WTMX morning show team with Eric Ferguson – has been off the show since April 27 with little explanation from management.  Feder writes that Hubbard Radio Chicago VP and market manager Jeff England is simply saying, “Kathy is taking some time off.”  Co-host Ferguson is apparently also in the dark as to what’s going on.  Read Feder’s column here.

CBS RADIO Creates MusicTown Venue in Detroit. A new multi-use space called MusicTown is being constructed by CBS RADIO Detroit, in association with Olympia Entertainment.  It’s designed to “host and celebrate music, culture and entertainment in the city of Detroit.”  It will be located inside Hockeytown Café, within the 50-block, mixed-use sports and entertainment development known as The District Detroit.  MusicTown will consist of a new broadcast studio, recording studio and performance space.  CBS says it will “support artists, educate children of all ages and celebrate the Detroit community and its visitors through lifestyle, collaboration and entertainment.”  CBS RADIO Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “We are strongly committed to continuing Detroit’s tradition as a great ‘Music City.’  By identifying new talent and sharing the many music stories that Detroit has inspired, this initiative will help celebrate a once-booming industry in our great city, stimulating significant economic growth in the region along the way.”

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Category: Front Page News, Industry News