Radio One Radio Revenues Down, Saga Up, Entercom Flat

The radio business had a middling start to 2014, based on results from individual companies reported over the last few weeks. This week Radio One reported a small decline in radio revenues in the first quarter of the year, while Saga Communications reported modest revenue growth and Entercom said revenues were basically flat.

Total revenues at Radio, a multimedia company targeting African-American audiences, increased 12.1% from $99.1 million in the first quarter of 2013 to $111.1 million in the first quarter of 2014, although the actual growth was just 5.4% when special events are excluded, Radio One CEO and President Alfred C. Liggins, III announced. The gain was mostly attributed to growth at its cable network, which grew 10% from $36 million to $39.7 million thanks to increased ad demand, offsetting a 0.4% drop in total radio broadcasting revenues. Radio revenues were down in part because of weakness in Radio One's Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia markets. The company’s events division, Reach Media, saw revenues increase from $6.6 million to $7.2 million primarily due to the timing of its annual “Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage” event.



Meanwhile, Saga Communications reported that total revenues edged up 1.4% from $29 million to $29.4 million. Saga CEO Ed Christian observed that the sluggish growth was generally due to harsh weather conditions in the first quarter of the year, but noted “we did well in comparison.” In the first quarter Saga's national ad revenues contributed 13.1% of total revenues up from 11.6% in the first quarter of 2013. Looking ahead, Saga CEO Ed Christian predicted that political revenues associated with this year's midterm elections would total $4 million to $6 million.

Entercom Communications reported that total revenues were flat at $78.2 million, due mostly to the absence of Boston Celtics radio broadcasts. Entercom President and CEO David J. Field noted that “First-quarter revenues were up excluding the effect of our non-renewal of Boston Celtics radio broadcasts, despite the unusually challenging winter weather that impacted many of our markets.”

Looking ahead, Field stated: “We are increasingly enthusiastic about the radio industry’s future growth outlook based on a number of recent developments, most notably the release of the Nielsen Catalina study which showed radio generating outstanding ROI results across ten major national brands, significantly outperforming other competitive media.” Also this week, Entercom announced the launch of SmartReach Digital, a new division that will help small businesses with digital marketing services, including local online radio, email, display, SEO and SEM, telemarketing, social media, contests, and texting, as well as reputation management and Web site strategies.

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