The radio business got a shot in the arm this week, with positive first-quarter results from three big broadcast groups. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, Salem, and Radio One all reported revenue growth in the first quarter of 2012 -- suggesting this year may be kinder to the medium than last year.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, the country’s biggest broadcast radio group, saw total revenues increase 6% from $633 million in the first quarter of 2011 to $671.5 million in the first quarter of 2012. A large part of this increase -- about $32 million -- was due to the company’s acquisition of Westwood One’s traffic business in April of last year. However, CCME also saw advertising revenues grow in categories including financial services, political and retail.
CCME’s results contributed to a positive quarter for parent company CC Media Holdings, further bolstered by growth at Clear Channel Outdoor, with the Americas business seeing revenue grow 4% from $270 million to $280 million. These results were offset slightly by the company’s international outdoor business, where total revenues slipped 2% from $380.5 million to $371 million.
Salem’s total revenues increased 6.1% from $51.2 million to $54.3 million, with broadcast (radio) revenues increasing 2.9% from $42.7 million to $44 million. Online advertising was especially strong, with revenues jumping 33% from $5.6 million to $7.4 million. Looking ahead, Salem projects second-quarter revenues growing 1%-3% over last year’s $55.4 million.
Last but not least, urban broadcaster Radio One made a major recovery following a very weak fourth quarter, with core radio revenues up 6.4%, due to increases in the Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit and Raleigh markets; Dallas and Houston both saw declines. Radio One’s ad revenue growth was powered by increases in categories including retail, financial and health care; despite stronger auto sales, automotive decreased in the first quarter. When the consolidation of TV One (following acquisition of majority control in the urban-themed cable network last year) is included, Radio One saw total revenues jump 58.5% to $103 million.