Clear Channel Revenues Flat, Radio Inches Up

CC Media Holdings, the parent company of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Clear Channel Outdoor, said total revenues were basically flat at $1.63 billion in the second quarter of 2014 -- up less than 1% from the same quarter in 2013 when foreign currency fluctuations are taken into account. These results reflected a slight uptick in Clear Channel’s radio revenues, offset by a modest decrease in its domestic outdoor advertising business.
 
Total revenues at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, the company’s radio division, edged up less than 1% from $805.6 million to $806.3 million, as growth at its traffic and weather businesses -- as well as higher political and digital advertising -- were mostly offset by drops in national and local radio revenues.
 
Over the same period, total revenues at its Americas outdoor advertising division fell 5% from $335 million to $319 million, due to lower national revenues, non-renewal of several airport advertising contracts at Clear Channel Airports, and the loss of revenues from digital signs in Los Angeles, which were deactivated by a court order in April 2013. Clear Channel is continuing to contest this decision.
 
Clear Channel Outdoor’s overseas business was stronger, increasing $30 million -- or $19 million when foreign exchange rates are taken into account -- to $462 million, thanks to revenue growth in Western Europe, a new airport contract in Rome, and revenue growth in emerging markets, including Brazil, due to digital advertising and the FIFA World Cup. Revenues also increased in China as a result of new contracts.
 
Meanwhile, Clear Channel Media Holdings continues to juggle the billions of dollars of debt assumed in the deal to take the company private, engineered by private equity companies, including Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital back in 2007. In December 2013 the company announced a plan to refinance around $4 billion in debt, forcing it to accept higher interest charges.  
 
The company’s interest expenses increased 8.1% from $407.5 million in the second quarter of 2013 to $440.6 million in the second quarter of 2014. Turning to the bottom line, CC Media Holdings reported a loss of $187 million in the second quarter of 2014, compared to a $7 million profit in the second quarter of 2013.
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