Industry News

Edison Research Releases Top 50 Podcasts for Q1 2024

Edison Research’s ranking of the Top 50 Podcasts in the U.S. for the first quarter of 2024 (derived from data collected continuously during the first quarter of 2024, interviewing 5,300 weekly podcastim consumers ages 13 and older in the U.S.) and the top three remain unchanged with “The Joe Rogan Experience” at #1, “Crime Junkie” at #2, and “The Daily” at #3. The Taylor Swift effect helped propel “New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce” to the #4 position. Other podcasts of interest to the news/talk media industry include “The Ben Shapiro Show” at #13, “The Ramsey Show” at #16, “The Tucker Carlson Podcast” debuts at #24, and “The Dan Bongino Show” is at #27.

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Audacy First Quarter Net Revenue Rises 1%

Audacy reports Q1 2024 net revenue of $261.8 million, an increase of 1% over the first quarter of 2023. The company reports a net loss of $1.85 million, a marked decline from the net loss of $35.9 million it reported in Q1 of 2023. While local and national spot revenue fell 3.5% to $153.5 million, digital revenue was up 10.2% to $62.7 million and network revenue rose 10.4% to $21.9 million. Audacy also reportsim revenue for its stations by general format and the company’s sports revenue was $56.6 million – an increase of 6.5% – while its news/talk revenue fell 5.5% to $40 million. Audacy chairman, president and CEO David J. Field comments, “Audacy delivered a solid start to 2024 with Q1 EBITDA increasing 173% vs the prior year. Second-quarter revenues are currently pacing up low-single imdigits, and we expect another quarter of substantial EBITDA growth, enhanced by our continuing work on expense reductions. Our improving results are predominantly attributable to a significant acceleration in digital revenue growth, continuing meaningful revenue share gains, and declining expenses as our transformational investments bear fruit. As previously announced, we received court approval of our consensual pre-packaged Plan of Reorganization, which will reduce our debt by 80%, and are now awaiting FCC approval to complete the process. I want to salute our team for their excellent work in driving financial and operating progress while simultaneously executing our reorganization plan, all without disruption to customers, listeners, partners, vendors or our staff.

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Salem Media Group Q1 2024 Revenue Down 8.3%

The first quarter of 2024 brought in net revenue of $58.6 million, a decline of 8.3% from the same period in 2023 for Salem Media Group. The company’s broadcast revenue fell 4.6% to $46 million, while its digital media revenue rose 1.9% to $10.7 million. The company reports a net loss of $5.1 million, basically the same as it reported in Q1 of 2023. Regarding its revenue,im Salem states, “Revenue growth from the sale of broadcast airtime is negatively impacted by audiences spending less time commuting, certain automobile manufacturers removing AM radio signals, increases in other forms of content distribution, and decreases in the length of time spent listening to broadcast radio as compared to audio streaming services, podcasts, and satellite radio. These factors may lead advertisers to conclude that the effectiveness of radio has diminished. We continue to enhance our digital assets to complement our broadcast content. The increased use of smart speakers and other voice activated platforms that provide audiences with the ability to access AM and FM radio stations offers potential sources for radio broadcasters to reach audiences. Our broadcast advertising revenue is particularly dependent on advertising from our Los Angeles and Dallas markets, which generated 15.3% and 18.4%, respectively, of our total net broadcast advertising revenue during the three-month period ended March 31, 2023, compared to 15.1% and 18.7%, respectively, of our total net broadcast advertising revenue during the three- month period ended March 31, 2024.”

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iHeartMedia First Quarter Revenue Dips 1.5%

iHeartMedia reports that its revenue for the first quarter of 2024 was $799 million, a decline of 1.5% from the same period in 2023, and in line with the company’s guidance. The company posts a net loss of $18.1 million, a dramatic reduction from the $222 million loss it reported in Q1 of 2023. The company’s Broadcast Radio segment revenue was $359.3 million, a decline of 6.2% from Q1 2023 and networksim revenue was $102 million, down 5.5% from the same period a year ago. The company’s Digital Audio Group revenue was $239 million, up 7% over Q1 2023. Breaking that segment down, Digital (excluding Podcast) revenue was $148.3 million (up 1.2%), and Podcast revenue was $90.6 million (up 18%). iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We’re pleased to report our first quarter of year-over-year Adjusted EBITDA growth in five quarters, driven by the substantial sequential year-over-year improvement in the performance of all our segments: the Multiplatform Group, the Digital Audio Group, and the Audio and Media Services Group – with the Digital Audio Group hitting its best Q1 EBITDA margin ever. Additionally, our Q1 results were in line with our previously provided Adjusted EBITDA and Revenue guidance ranges. Although the marketplace continues to be dynamic, we continue to see meaningful opportunities for growth in our businesses and we remain confident in 2024 as a recovery year.”

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Saga Communications’ Q1 Revenue Falls 2.5%

First quarter 2024 operating results for Saga Communications reveal net revenue of $24.7 million, a decline of 2.5% from the first quarter of 2023. The company reports a net loss of $1.6 million during theim first quarter compared to the net income of $920,000 it reported in Q1 of 2023. Saga adds that its balance sheet reflects $28.8 million in cash and short-term investments as of March 31, 2024 and $23.7 million as of May 6, 2024. The company expects to spend approximately $5.0 – $5.5 million for capital expenditures during 2024.

Industry News

Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q1 Net Revenue Down 5.9%

The company says that net revenue for the first quarter of 2024 was $54.4 million, a decline of 5.9% from the same period in 2023, saying this was “primarily reflecting a year-over-year decline in audio advertising and other revenue due to Beasley’s Wilmington station and esports divestitures as well as ongoing softness in the commercial advertising business, partially offset by growth in digital and political advertising revenue.” Beasley reports net income of approximately $8,000 in Q1, compared to a net lossim of $3.5 million for the same period in 2023, “primarily due to the $6 million gain on the sale of an investment in BMI holdings and lower interest expense.” Company CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Beasley continues to advance our core initiatives, which are focused on driving revenue and cash flow, including our digital transformation, revenue diversification and expense management initiatives. We expect digital to account for between 20% and 25% of total revenue in 2024, driven by the ongoing growth and success of our premium content creation and digital services. On the new business front, our dedicated sales teams are leveraging the tremendous audience reach and engagement of our platform to attract new advertisers. In summary, Beasley’s underlying fundamentals – mainly, our local audio and digital platforms and audience engagement – remain strong. We are proud of our teams’ steadfast commitment to delivering exceptional content and services to our listeners, advertisers, online users and sports fans, and remain confident that the actions we are taking to transform our company and strengthen our balance sheet, are laying the foundation for future growth and success.”

Industry News

Cumulus Reports Q1 Net Revenue Declines 2.7%

The company reports net revenue of $200.1 million in the first quarter of 2024, a decrease of 2.7% from the same period in 2023. Cumulus CEO Mary Berner states, “While our Q1 revenue was in line with guidance and a marked improvement from 2023 trends, it is also reflective of the uncertainty thatim continues to weigh on advertisers. With the advertising environment still unsettled, these new terms (spelled out in the preceding story) provide us additional time and flexibility to execute against our key business priorities – accelerating digital growth, reducing fixed costs, and continuing to de-lever our balance sheet – each of which is foundational to our ability to build long-term shareholder value.” The company took a net loss of $14.2 million in Q1, but it was far less than the net loss of $21.5 million it reported in Q1 of 2023. Cumulus breaks out its revenue in segments and the total broadcast revenue for Q1 of 2024 was $139.7 million, down 5.6% from Q1 of 2023. Spot revenue was $90.5 million (down 7.3%) and network revenue was $49.2 million (down 2.3%). The company’s digital segment reports revenue of $34.5 million, up 7.3% over the first quarter of 2023.

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Cumulus Issues Preliminary Q1 Operating Results

Cumulus Media releases preliminary operating results for the first quarter of 2024 (January 1 – Marchim 31). The company says it expects to report net revenue in a range of $199 million to $201 million – change of between 3.3% and 2.3%. It also expects to report a net loss in a range of $(14.9) million to $(13.4) million and Adjusted EBITDA in a range of $7.65 million to $9.15 million. The company will report its actual first quarter 2024 operating results on Friday, May 3.  

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Urban One Files Preliminary Q1 2023 Financial Results with SEC

Relative to the preceding story, on Friday (9/29) Urban One filed an 8-K Form containing its preliminary financial results for the first quarter of 2023. The company reports consolidated revenue of $109.9 million, a decrease of 2% from the same period in 2022. Urban One breaks down its report into segments and states that its broadcast radio division brought in revenue of $35.2 million, an increase of 11.7% over the same period in 2022. For the first quarter of 2023, Urban One reports a net loss of $1.5 million compared to the net income of $16.5 million it reported in the first quarter of 2022.

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Urban One Unable to File First Quarter Operating Results

Urban One files a notification of late filing with the Securities Exchange Commission explaining the reason it has not filed its 2022 year-end 10-K (and other forms), as well as its first quarter 2023 10-K. The company says, “On April 7, 2023, Urban One, Inc. (the “Company”) announced that in connection with the preparation of its financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2022, the Company’s management, in consultationim with its independent registered public accounting firm, re-evaluated the Company’s accounting for the valuation of its investment interest in MGM National Harbor (the “MGM Interest”), which the Company sold for cash proceeds of approximately $136.8 million on April 21, 2023. After further review of the Company’s accounting for its MGM Interest, it was determined that adjustments are required to the Company’s financial statements as of January 1, 2021 and for each of the annual and interim periods ended December 31, 2021 and September 30, 2022 (the “Affected Periods”), due to understatements in the value of the MGM Interest… The Company’s management concluded that in light of the error described above, a material weakness exists in the Company’s internal control over financial reporting for the Affected Periods. The Company’s remediation plan with respect to such material weakness will be described in more detail in the 2022 Form 10-K. Due to the Company’s continued efforts in connection with the Restatement, preparation of the 2022 Form10-K and continued assessment of its internal controls, the Company is not able to finalize the financial statements and related information for inclusion in its quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2023 (“2023 Q1 Form 10-Q”). Accordingly, the Company is unable to file its 2023 Q1 Form 10-Q within the prescribed time period.”

Industry News

Audacy First Quarter Revenue Falls 5.7%

The company reports net revenue for the first quarter of 2023 was $259.6 million, a decrease of 5.7% over Q1 of 2022. Audacy reports that total operating expenses increased 1.9% and it is reporting an operating loss of $12.2 million compared to the operating income of $8.5 million it reported in the first quarter of 2022. Theim company posts a Q1 2023 net loss of $35.9 million, an increase of 225% compared to Q1 of 2022. Audacy chairman, president and CEO David J. Field states, “First quarter revenues were down 5.7% with local sales significantly outperforming national as challenging ad market conditions persisted. Cash operating expenses were up 3% during the quarter but are expected to be below prior-year levels for the remainder of 2023. Notwithstanding the difficult economic headwinds, we remain steadfastly focused on delivering significantly higher future levels of Adjusted EBITDA, capitalizing on our multiple growth drivers and our differentiated premium competitive position in the dynamic audio market. We are making progress on each of our drivers, including our podcasting and digital marketing solutions businesses, our reinvented streaming audio platform, our emerging ad tech and ad products, and our enhanced national enterprise business development efforts. In addition, we are encouraged to see some positive signs in our auto business as we continue our vigorous work to weather the storm and await future improvements in market conditions.”

Industry News

Townsquare Media Q1 Revenue Rises 3%

Releasing its operating results for the first quarter of 2023, Townsquare Media reports net revenue of $103 million, an increase of 3% over the same period in 2022. The company reports in three segments – Subscription Digital Marketing Solutions, Digital Advertising, and Broadcast Advertising. The company says Digital Advertising revenue was $33.7 million (an increase of 15.4% over the same period in 2022), whileim Broadcast Advertising revenue was $45.9 million (down 4.8% over Q1 of 2022), and Subscription Digital Marketing Solutions revenue was $21.5 million (down 1.3% over Q1 of 2022). Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “I am pleased to share that Townsquare’s first quarter results exceeded our previously issued guidance for both net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA, due primarily to the continued strength of our digital and local advertising platform and solutions… In the first quarter, we grew cash flow from operations to $9 million, due to the strong cash generation of many of our assets, and opportunistically repurchased more than $12 million of our Unsecured Senior Notes at a discount. We ended the quarter with a strong cash balance of $42 million and maintained our all-time low net leverage multiple of 4.29x. Our growth engine has been and will continue to be our digital solutions. We believe that our Digital First business model and strategy position us to navigate the current macro-economic environment better than most, and that our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the local media industry, particularly when compared to 2019 pre-COVID financials given our growth in revenue and profit since 2019. Our confidence is directly tied to the Townsquare team’s efforts and talent, as well as our large, growing, and profitable digital platform which contributes more than half of Townsquare’s total net revenue and profit.”

Industry News

Salem Media Group First Quarter Revenue Up 1.4%

Salem Media Group reports its operating results for the first quarter of 2023 and reveals consolidated revenue was $63.5 million, an increase of 1.4% over the first quarter of 2022. The company’s total operating expensesim increased 17.4% to $67.7 million leading to an operating loss of $4.2 million as compared to operating income of $5 million posted in Q1 of 2022. Salem reports a net loss of $5.2 million, compared to Q1 2022’s net income of $1.7 million. Salem reports in three segments – Broadcast, Digital Media, and Publishing. Broadcast revenue for the quarter was $48.3 million (down 0.2%), Digital Media was $10.5 million (up 2%), and Publishing revenue was $4.6 million (up 19.7%). Looking ahead, the company is projecting total revenue to decline between 5% and 7% from the second quarter 2022 total revenue of $68.7 million and expects operating expenses to increase between 3% and 6% compared to Q2 of 2022.

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Saga Communications Q1 Net Revenue Rises 1.3%

First quarter 2023 operating results for Saga Communications reveal net revenue of $25.3 million, an increase of 1.3% over the same period in 2022. Net income fell from $1.2 million in Q1 of 2022 to $920,000 in the first quarter of this year. The company says, “Station operating expense increased $1.1 million for theim quarter to $21.7 million compared to the same period last year. A significant part of the increase in station operating expense for the quarter was due to a $272 thousand increase in our self-insured health care costs and a $446 thousand increase in employee compensation, including payroll taxes at the station level. After a number of years of holding the company’s compensation expenses flat, we decided that adjustments in our employee compensation were warranted in consideration of the economic times and inflationary environment.”

Industry News

iHeartMedia First Quarter Revenue Declines 3.8%

iHeartMedia Inc reports its operating results for the first quarter of 2023 and revenue for the period was $811.2 million, a decline of 3.8% over the same period in 2022. After reporting operating income of $12.3 million in Q1 of 2022, the company posts an operating loss of $48.8 million. Also, iHeartMedia’s net loss increased from $48.7 million in the first quarter of 2022 to $222.4 million in Q1 of this year. The company’s Digital Audio Groupim segment’s total revenue was $223.4 million, up 4% over the same period in 2022. The company’s Multiplatform Group reports total revenue of $529 million (a decline of 7%) and that segment breaks down as follows: Broadcast Radio revenue was $383.2 million (down 7.7% from Q1 2022) and Networks reports revenue of $107.9 million (down 8.2% from Q1 of 2022).  Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman comments, “We are pleased to report that our first quarter 2023 results were a bit above the high end of our Adjusted EBITDA and Revenue guidance ranges – and that more importantly, while both the macroeconomic climate and the advertising marketplace remain uncertain, the audio and digital advertising markets appeared to be stronger in the quarter than we had initially anticipated. We expect that our second quarter Adjusted EBITDA, while below 2022 levels, will be approximately double what we generated in the first quarter, and this, in combination with our Q1 first quarter performance relative to guidance, gives us confidence that our Adjusted EBITDA results will continue to improve throughout 2023, and that we will be well positioned to build further in 2024 in terms of revenue growth, profitability, and Free Cash Flow generation.”

Industry News

Cumulus Media Q1 Net Revenue Down 11%

Cumulus Media’s net revenue for the first quarter of 2023 was $205.6 million, a decline of 11% over the same period in 2022. The company’s net loss ballooned to $21.4 million from the net loss of $905,000 it reported in Q1 of 2022. Breaking down Cumulus’ revenue by segment, total broadcast revenue was $148 million – down 12.5% year-over-year – led by network revenue (-22.9%), and followed by spot revenue (down 6%). Digital revenue was $32 million, up just 0.6% over the first quarter of 2022. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary G. Berner comments, “Extending our track record of strong operational and financial execution duringim challenging times, in the first quarter, we grew our digital marketing services revenue by more than 23%, completed the sale of WFAS-FM, continued to repurchase shares and retire debt at a discount, and have now executed $10 million of additional annualized cost reductions. That said, the impact of the considerable macro-driven weakness in the national advertising market, as well as the unfavorable prior year political and WynnBET comparisons, ultimately resulted in total revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declines. Though the difficult national market trends persist, we have confidence in our ability to successfully navigate adverse environments such as this one. Specifically, since 2019 through the COVID-impacted years, we have had best-in-class performance in terms of fixed cost reduction, Adjusted EBITDA margin recovery, Adjusted EBITDA to free cash flow conversion and net debt reduction. With our current liquidity profile and solid balance sheet, we believe that we are not only well-positioned to weather the current storm but will rebound strongly when the market eventually recovers.”

Industry News

Beasley’s 2023 First Quarter Net Revenue Rises 3.7%

Reporting its operating results for the first quarter of 2023, Beasley Broadcast Group (parent of Beasley Media Group) announces net revenue of $57.8 million, an increase of 3.7% over the same period in 2022 that the company says reflects “a year-over-year increase in digital revenue, local spot revenue and network revenue, partially offset by a decrease in national spot revenue, related to continued softness in the national agency business.” Beasley reports operating income of $400,000 in Q1 of 2023, compared to the operating loss of $2.7 million reported in Q1 of 2022. The company also reports a reduced net loss of $3.5 millionim compared to the net loss of $3.7 million in Q1 of 2022. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Beasley’s strong first quarter financial operating results highlight our continued local audio leadership and the ongoing success of our digital transformation and revenue diversification initiatives which are driving top-line and SOI (station operating income) growth. Despite ongoing challenges related to the economy and softness in the national spot market, Beasley generated healthy growth across its digital, local audio, and network revenue sources, as reflected by the 3.7% increase in first quarter net revenues to $57.8 million. Top-imline growth was the primary factor contributing to an impressive 21% year-over-year increase in SOI to $7.1 million. Our digital strategy delivered first quarter digital revenue growth of 27.8% year-over-year and accounted for 17.3% of total first quarter revenue. Similar to recent quarters, strong digital revenue performance was driven by Beasley’s organic content creation initiatives and the roll-out of our tailored web services. Beasley continues to see accelerating demand from consumers for our innovative digital content, with our unique digital users more than doubling over the prior year quarter, resulting in a more than 90% year-over-year increase in sellable digital impressions. We believe we remain on path for this revenue source to reach 20% of total revenue by 2023 year-end.” Total outstanding debt as of March 31, 2023 was $290 million, and first quarter interest expense slightly declined to $6.6 million. Beasley had $35.9 million of cash and cash equivalents on hand at quarter end. We intend to keep our cash on the balance sheet in order to maintain our strong liquidity position, while we monitor the economic environment.”

Industry News

TALKERS News Notes

Audacy announces it will report its 2023 first quarter financial results before the market opens on Wednesday, May 10. The company will host a conference call and simultaneous webcast at 10:00 am ET that morning to review the results and recent progress against its strategic initiatives.

Hillsdale College announces the launch of the new podcast, “The Larry P. Arnn Show,” hosted by college president Larry Arnn who interviews distinguished guests to Hillsdale’s campus. It’s one of the school’s programs on its new integrated Hillsdale College Podcast Network that also features “The Radio Free Hillsdale Hour,” “The Hillsdale Dialogues,” and “The Hillsdale College K-12 Classical Education Podcast.” The show’s first guest is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who visited Hillsdale’s campus on April 6.

PodcastOne launches the new podcast “Turtle Time with Ramona and Avery” starring reality television’s Ramona Singer and her daughter, Avery. PodcastOne president Kit Gray states, “We are thrilled to welcome Ramona and Avery to PodcastOne. Their mother-daughter relationship is enviable, and audiences will be wowed by their podcast. ‘Turtle Time’ is perfect for our platform, our audiences and our advertisers, all of whom have made it clear that this is the sort of content that they are looking for in podcasting.”

Audacy is gearing up for the 2023 NFL Draft with tomorrow evening’s “Audacy Draft Show” starring NFL Insiders Brian Baldinger and Jason LaCanfora, and produced by 2400Sports. Additionally, more than 12 of Audacy’s owned sports talk stations will have their own live and local draft shows, breaking down the first round for fans in several markets including Baltimore (WJZ-FM), Boston (WEEI-AM/FM), Buffalo (WGR-AM), Chicago (WSCR-AM), Cleveland (WKRK-FM), Dallas (KRLD-FM), Detroit (WXYT-AM), Houston (KILT-AM), Kansas City (KCSP-AM), New Orleans (WWL-AM/FM), Philadelphia (WIP-FM), Pittsburgh (KDKA-FM), and Washington DC (WTEM-AM), with many of those shows being available live in the Audacy app.