iHeartMedia Third Quarter Revenue Rises 3%. Revenue for iHeartMedia, Inc. – whose shares became listed on the NASDAQ on July 18 of this year – was $948.3 million, an increase of 3% compared to the same period in 2018. Digital revenue increased 33.4%. Looking at the first three quarters of 2019, revenue was $2.66 billion – an increase of 2.8% over the same period in 2018. The company says, “Our traditional radio business, which is comprised of our Broadcast and Networks revenue streams, is stable and growing. Broadcast revenue declined by 0.6% on a reported basis and increased 0.4% excluding the impact of political revenue, while Networks grew 9.2% year-over-year driven primarily by growth in our Total Traffic & Weather network. Networks also grew sequentially by almost 300 basis points over the second quarter. Our growth was also driven by our Digital revenue stream, which grew 33.4%. Digital revenue growth was primarily driven by growth in podcasting, as well as other digital revenue. Audio & Media Services declined 14.3% on a reported basis and increased by 0.2% excluding the impact of political revenue. Political revenue primarily impacts our Broadcast and Audio & Media Services revenue, and therefore these revenue streams tend to show greater variance in non-political years. Sponsorships increased by 4.4% year-over-year. Importantly, all of our revenue streams grew year-over-year excluding the impact of political revenue, demonstrating the continued momentum in our business.”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q3 Net Income Up 1.5%. Net income for Beasley Broadcast Group’s 2019 third quarter was $66.1 million, an increase of 1.5% over the same period in 2018 and the company says that “reflects increased revenue in the Company’s Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston, Charlotte, Fayetteville, and Wilmington market clusters. Net revenue for the three months ended September 30, 2019 was comparable to net revenue for the same period in 2018 at the Company’s other market clusters.” For the first nine months of 2019, net income was $189.5 million, an increase of 4.1% over the same nine-month period in 2018. Station Operating Income increased 12.7% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2019. The company says the year-over-year increase is primarily attributable to higher revenue in the 2019 third quarter and lower station operating expenses related to $1.7 million of non-recurring bad debt expense that was recorded in the comparable 2018 period, partially offset by higher expenses at recently acquired stations. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Throughout the third quarter, we continued to advance our revenue diversification initiatives and actively manage our local radio broadcasting and digital platforms, while implementing our operating disciplines at recently acquired stations to drive SOI growth and margin expansion. Record third quarter net revenue of $66.1 million was driven by the strength of our station clusters in four of our top five largest revenue markets, as well as contributions from recent acquisitions and more than offset the approximate $0.9 million of combined political, spectrum and United States Traffic Network traffic revenue recorded in the 2018 third quarter, which did not recur in the 2019 third quarter…Third quarter results also began to reflect financial contributions related to our new and expanding digital development and diversification initiatives. Beasley generated a year-over-year increase in digital revenue of approximately 37%, with digital now accounting for 7.4% of total revenue, compared to 5.4% of total revenue in the prior year period. Going forward, we remain committed to increasing digital share of total revenue as we continue to aggressively roll out our digital transformation strategy across the organization.”
Urban One Third Quarter Net Revenue Basically Flat at $111.1 Million. While third quarter net revenue was up just 0.3%, Urban One’s broadcast and digital operating income was up 3.2% on $44.8 million, compared to the same period in 2018. Operating income was approximately $32.5 million for the three months ended September 30, 2019, compared to approximately $32.1 million for the same period in 2018. Urban One CEO and president Alfred Liggins III says, “During the third quarter we completed the sale of WDMK to Beasley Broadcasting, as a result of which our cash position improved, and net leverage was reduced. On a same station basis, our third quarter radio revenues were up 4.2%, and I was pleased that we were able to grow the Radio Broadcasting segment Adjusted EBITDA by 6.6%. Same station core radio revenues, excluding political, are currently pacing down low single digits for the fourth quarter. Cable Television advertising was robust in the quarter, up 7.8%. While digital revenues decreased by 6.4%, we were able to post significant Adjusted EBITDA growth in that segment as a result of improved cost control. Overall, we were able to grow Adjusted EBITDA by 5.8% for the quarter, and I believe we are well positioned to achieve our strategic goals for the year, with Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $138-$140 million.”
Nielsen Announces Plans to Split into Two Companies. Along with its third quarter financial results, Nielsen Holdings Plc is announcing that it will “separate the Global Media and Global Connect businesses through a spin-off of the Global Connect business.” Global Media is the audience measurement division and Global Connect is the consumer data division. CEO David Kenny says, “We are pleased with our third quarter results. Both Media and Connect revenues were ahead of our expectations, reflecting strong execution as well as our focus on driving faster, bolder decisions to enhance value for Nielsen and for our clients. We also announced today the conclusion of our strategic review and our decision to separate Global Media and Global Connect. As we look forward, we remain focused on executing on our growth strategies and positioning both businesses to create value for our shareholders.” The strategic review was led by chairman of the board of directors James Attwood, who says, “Nielsen has two strong and global franchises — Global Media and Global Connect. Following an extensive review process, which included an in-depth analysis of our businesses, strategies and market opportunities, the Board concluded that separating into two independent, publicly traded companies is the best path to position each business for long term success and maximize value creation. As independent companies, both Nielsen — the Global Media business — and the new company consisting of Global Connect will enjoy added flexibility and further strengthen their paths toward a new phase of growth, productivity and industry leadership.”
Q3 2019 Flat for Saga Communications. Third quarter net revenue for Saga Communications, Inc. was $31.3 million, basically flat compared to 2018’s Q3 figure of $31.7 million. Station operating expense increased $171 thousand to $23.6 million and operating income decreased $520 thousand to $4.8 million compared to $5.3 million for the same period in 2018. Net Income decreased $361 thousand to $3.3 million for the quarter. On a same-station basis, third quarter net revenue decreased $1.4 million to $30.3 million. Looking at the first three quarters of 2019, net income was flat with the same period in 2018 at $9.4 million. Net revenue decreased $610 thousand to $91.3 million. On a same-station basis for the nine-month period, net revenue decreased $3.8 million to $88.1 million. Saga reports having $42.3 million in cash on hand as of November 4, 2019. The company’s total bank debt was $10 million as of the end of the quarter.
PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey, today focusing on the public radio news/talk format. More than 60% of public radio news/talk stations were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) compared to the September 2019 survey. Year-over-year, the results were split about 50/50, with half the stations up and half down. Four high-performing public outlets ranked #1 in their respective markets in October. They were: WAMU-FM, Washington; KPBS-FM, San Diego; KOPB-FM, Portland; and KUT-FM, Austin. Perennially top-ranked public outlet KQED, San Francisco ceded the #1 spot to Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco in October. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Sun Broadcast Group to Rep All of Envision Networks’ Products in 2020. This agreement between Sun Broadcast Group and Envision Networks is an expanded sales representation agreement that now includes all Envision Networks shows and services. Envision Networks CEO and president Danno Wolkoff says, “We started with Sun Broadcast Group selling all of our Spanish inventory and began adding more general market advertising to their networks as we grew. SBG’s ability to maximize our lineups and create networks with such high advertiser demand fueled the development of many new shows and services. It’s only fitting that Jay [Bailey], Julio [Aponte] and the Sun team now represent all of Envision Networks’ advertising sales in 2020 … we’re thrilled to be working together.”
TALKERS News Notes. Greenville, South Carolina news/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD” adds a translator to its broadcast. Now carrying the station’s signal is W270AM, Anderson, South Carolina at 101.5 FM. Anderson is about 25 miles southwest of Greenville. Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “We’re happy to meet the demand from listeners and advertisers to expand 106.3 WORD’s over-the-air signal to Anderson County using 101.5 FM. Anderson is a fast-growing market that we are looking forward to serving with 106.3 WORD’s programming on all of our platforms.”…..Kentucky sports talk host Matt Jones will be off his WLAP-AM, Lexington-based program after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission. Jones has announced he’s exploring the possibility of running as a Democrat for McConnell’s senate seat. The iHeartMedia station asked Jones to step away from the program after the complaint was issued. Jones was relieved of his duties at WLEX-TV, Lexington in July after he made his political ambitions known…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting a news special titled, “30 Years After the Fall: The Legacy of the Berlin Wall,” that explores the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Correspondent Chas Henry hosts the program as he reports from the site where the Berlin Wall once stood. He talks to scholars about why the wall was constructed and with residents who watched it come down. The half-hour program airs Thanksgiving weekend. Stations interested can contact Jim Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-840-7933 for more information.
Impeachment Process, Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Tuesday’s Election Results, Mormon Family Massacre, China-Hong Kong Tensions, New HIV Strain, and OK Boomer Meme Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6). The impeachment process against President Trump; the testimony about President Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Democratic victories in Virginia and Kentucky in Tuesday’s elections; the massacre of nine members of a Mormon family by drug cartel members in Mexico; the ongoing tensions between Hong Kong and China; the discovery of a new strain of HIV; and the controversy over the “Ok Boomer” meme were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Fresno market, iHeartMedia names Angel “Visa” Jarquin program director for hip hop KBOS “B95.” He comes to “B95” from his most recent position with the company’s CHR KDON, Monterey where he was afternoon drive personality and assistant program director. iHeartMedia SVP of programming for Central California and Nevada Tony Matteo says, “Angel’s incredible track record of success and his experience in the format make him an ideal fit to spearhead this market’s leading brand in Fresno. We’re excited to bring his energy to the ‘B95’ team.”…..JVC Media announces the addition of Long Island radio personality Bill “The Wiseman” Wise as morning host at WPTY-HD2/W251BY, Patchogue, New York “Oldies 98.1” JVC New York general manager Bruce Shepard says, “The Wiseman is a great addition to our staff. He will not only be on the airwaves of ‘Oldies 98.1,’ he will also work with the team to develop new and exciting live events and concerts for ‘Oldies 98.1.’ I am thrilled to have him on board.”…..Country outlet WYCD, Detroit hosted last night’s “Stars and Strings Presented by RAM Trucks Built to Serve” event that raised more than $25,000 for Folds of Honor, the organization that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members. Entercom has now raised more than $275,000 to support the cause. The RADIO.COM event featured performances by Keith Urban, Maren Morris, Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini, Jon Pardi, Brett Young, and Ryan Hurd…..iHeartMedia’s rock WJRR, Cocoa Beach, Florida announces the all-star lineup for its “Earthday Birthday Number 27” music festival taking place on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds and Orlando Amphitheater. Performing will be: Shinedown, Halestorm, Theory Of A Deadman, Beartooth, Fozzy, Dirty Honey, New Years Day, Crobot, and Dinosaur Pile-Up, with more to be announced…..Cox Media Group classic hits WSRV, Atlanta “97.1 The River” will celebrate its 14th birthday with “The River’s Rockin’ Birthday Bash Presents: Journey with Pretenders” on Thursday, August 13 at Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood in Atlanta. Station director of branding and programming Chris Eagan says, “We can’t wait to celebrate The River’s 14th birthday with our awesome fans. Journey and Pretenders will definitely put on an unbelievable show to help us party on August 13!”