Radio Biz Endures Weak Second Quarter

With more broadcast radio groups announcing their financial results, it’s becoming clear that the radio business had a slow second quarter, with broadcast radio revenues flat or down in most cases. The latest and less than spectacular figures come from Cumulus Media, Entercom, and Radio One.

When newly acquired stations are included in the comparison, Cumulus Media said total nonpolitical broadcast radio advertising revenues slipped 1.3% from $305.2 million in the second quarter of 2013 to $301.2 million in the second quarter of 2014.

However, this decline was more than offset by gains in political advertising, up 219% from $1.2 million to $3.8 million, and digital advertising, up 98% from $6.5 million to $12.9 million. As a result, Cumulus’ total revenues edged up 2% from $321.9 million to $328.2 million, again when newly acquired properties are included.

Cumulus broadcast radio revenues were boosted by last year’s acquisition of WestwoodOne, a radio network that provides syndicated news, sports, talk and music programming, as well as advertising and events services, and a station swap with Townsquare Media, also completed in 2013.

Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey attributed the weak second-quarter results for broadcast radio to a slump in advertising demand in a number of categories in May and June, including retail healthcare, entertainment and real estate.

Also this week, Entercom announced that total revenues were basically flat at $100.2 million in the second quarter of 2014, down about 1% from $101.2 million in the second quarter of 2013, with president and CEO David Field blaming “sluggish business conditions” that “persisted throughout the quarter,” although June results showed a modest improvement. The company’s best performing categories were insurance, telecom, TV and cable, grocery and professional services.

Radio One, which targets mostly African-American and Hispanic audiences, said broadcast radio revenues decreased 4.1% from $58.8 million to $55.8 million. Radio advertising revenues fell 3.8%, offsetting a small increase in the company’s cable TV revenues, from $37.7 million to $38 million. Between the fall in radio revenues and the changed timing of the annual “Tom Joyner’s Fantastic Voyage” cruise hosted by Reach Media, the company’s total revenues fell 9.4% from $119.6 million to $108.4 million.

Previously, Beasley Broadcast Group said total revenues fell 3.6% from $26.9 million in the second quarter of 2013 to $25.9 million in the second quarter of 2014, the company announced Friday. Emmis said total radio revenues were flat at $45 million in March, April, and May (the broadcaster’s first fiscal quarter). And Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, formerly Clear Channel Radio, revealed that total revenues edged up less than 1% from $805.6 million to $806.3 million.

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