The first quarter of the year was not kind to the radio industry, judging by some of the early results from big broadcasters. Two more radio groups have reported their first-quarter financials, adding to the impression that the first three months of the year were mediocre at best.
Entercom Communications, which owns over 125 radio stations in 26 markets across the U.S., reported that total revenues were basically flat in the first quarter, compared to the same period in 2014, at $78.4 million. Entercom President and CEO David Field noted that gains in market share offset weak advertising demand to produce this flat result.
The strongest ad categories for Entercom were retail, financial, insurance, cable TV and entertainment. Automotive was flat and telecoms declined, dragging down the overall result. Excluding the telecoms category, total ad revenues would have been up 3%. Turning to the present quarter, Field noted that current stats are flat again and cited “mixed” business conditions as a cause.
Urban broadcaster Radio One reported that total revenues decreased 4.8% from $111.7 million in the first quarter of 2014 to $105.8 million in the first quarter of 2015, due mostly to declines in event revenues and radio ad revenues. The latter category was down 5.5% from $54.3 million to $51.3 million over this period. Digital advertising fell 6.1% from $7.7 million to $7.2 million. On the positive side, these losses were offset somewhat by growth in cable TV ads, which increased 9.9% from $19.3 million to $21.2 million.
Last week, Cumulus Media, the country’s second-largest broadcast radio group, reported that total revenues fell 7% from $270 million in the first quarter of 2014 to $251.2 million in the first quarter of 2015. This decline was due to drops in core local ad revenues, down 3.6% to $141.6 million; national ad revenues, down 2.4% to $22.8 million; and network ad revenues, down 13% to $88.7 million.
The only winner so far is iHeartMedia, formerly Clear Channel, whose radio division saw revenues increase 4.1% from $670.3 million to $697.8 million over the same period.