Westwood One Improves Revs

Radio This week brought more good news for the radio business with reports of improved first-quarter results at Westwood One and Radio One. Westwood One reported an increase in revenues, while Radio One posted a smaller decline in the first quarter than in previous quarters. These results are encouraging, as both companies have struggled with financial woes.

At Westwood One, which provides programming and traffic information to radio networks around the U.S., total revenues increased 8.1% from $85.9 million in the first quarter of 2009 to $92.8 million in the first quarter of 2010. President Rod Sherwood noted that this was the company's first year-over-year increase in quarterly revenues since 2005.

The increase reflected an 8.6% increase in network radio revenues to $55.6 million, and a 7.5% increase in metro traffic revenues, to $37.3 million.



In the first quarter, Westwood One was the exclusive network partner for the NFL, covering playoffs and the Super Bowl, which aired on a record-breaking 650 radio stations. Westwood One also carried the 2010 NCAA Men's basketball championship, including the Final Four, and the Masters Tournament.

On the strength of this revenue increase, Westwood's earnings jumped from a $6.9 million loss in the first quarter of 2009 to a gain of $9 million in the first quarter of 2010. Earnings were also boosted by strict cost-reduction initiatives.

Looking to the future, Westwood One said its outlook for 2010 is "cautiously optimistic," based on industry forecasts of modest advertising growth in network radio.

Results at Radio One, which primarily targets African-American and urban listeners, were not quite as strong, but they also represented a marked improvement over previous quarters. Overall revenues declined 2.1% from $60.2 million in the first quarter of 2009 to $59 million this year. Thanks mostly to aggressive cost-control measures, the company said operating income jumped from a $42.8 million loss to a gain of $3.8 million.

Radio One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III said the moderation in revenue declines was mostly due to the 17.7% increase in national advertising and a 3.6% increase in local business. Internet revenue increased 72% to over $1 million in the first quarter.

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