Emmis Revenues Flat in Second Quarter

The radio business returned another round of undistinguished results in the second quarter, judging by the latest figures from Emmis, which reported the details of its financial performance in March, April, and May (the broadcaster’s first fiscal quarter).

Including two new stations -- New York’s WBLS 107.5 FM and WLIB 1190 AM, which Emmis began operating at the beginning of March under a local marketing agreement -- the company’s total radio revenues remained flat at $45 million. Station operating income came to $13.4 million, up 2.3% from $13.1 million in the same period of 2013. Emmis outperformed the radio business in general in the local markets where it owns radio stations, including New York, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Austin, and St. Louis. On average, these local markets saw revenue fall 5.5%, while Emmis' local revenues were up 1.6%.

Emmis’ publishing revenues increased 7% from $13.7 million to $14.7 million due to higher advertising rates and growth in the company's custom publishing business.

Emmis President & CEO Jeff Smulyan stated: “While our markets continue to be tested, our stations and employees have risen to the challenge and continue to outperform our markets.” Smulyan also pointed to the radio industry’s intiative to get broadcast radio incorporated into mobile devices: “We continue to believe NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on smartphones and tablets, is a game-changer for the radio industry and will reignite growth. We have spent the last year building out the NextRadio ecosystem, and now we are entering a critical phase to build consumer awareness.”

NextRadio has been gaining gradually, as it increasingly shows traction with mobile providers. Last year Sprint announced that it would install NextRadio app on wireless devices. The integration enables consumers to listen to local radio on Android and Windows smartphones, along with an array of interactive services coordinated with broadcast airplay.

In addition to broadcast audio from local radio stations, NextRadio draws on data from TagStation, a cloud-based platform that allows radio stations to upload branding images, call letters, formats, station names, slogans, and other identifying information. NextRadio also offers interactive features to recording artists, advertisers and listeners, including album art and artist information, listener feedback, song-tagging capabilities, and social integration.

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