Friday, October 9, 2009

Emmis Radio Fiscal Q2 Revenues Down 26.5%

In a filing with the SEC Friday, Emmis Communications reported a 26.5% drop in revenues for its fiscal second quarter to $67.8 million from 92.7 million a year earlier. Station operating income (SOI) fell 50.1% from $27.1 million.

The company posted a net loss of $135.6 million ($3.67 per share), compared to net earnings of $1.2 million (3 cents) in the year-ago period. The loss reflects a $170.98 million impairment charge related to the value of its stations.

Emmis' local ad revenues declined 30.6% to $40.7 million from $58.6 million, while national totals fell 51% to $7.5 million from $15.3 million. In the filing, Emmis said net revenues "decreased principally as a result of a precipitous decline of advertising spending due to the global economic slowdown."

On a up note, the company said, "Local sales have been slightly more resilient than national sales," falling 29% in the first half of its fiscal year, while national was down about 49%.
Emmis also took a shot at Arbitron, saying its New York and Los Angeles stations are "trailing the performance" due to the company's "lack of scale" and that its stations "target demographics that suffer a disproportionate decline in ratings when measured by the PPM."

WARH (106.5 The Arch) Makes St. Louis Radio History

History took a turn in St. Louis Thursday with the release of PPM. Yes for the first time in 130+ Arbitron surveys, Variety Hits WARH-FM (106.5 The Arch) became the first station to knock longtime ratings leader News/Talk KMOX-FM out of the #1 slot for Persons 12+, as The Arch now holds that #1 position.

In the latest PPM ratings period, 106.5 The Arch leads the St. Louis radio market in Total Reach with 10.9 rating of Persons 12+. Cume not only remained at #1 with the new PPM system, but took a commanding lead over their competitors by 2.6 points in the overall Monday-Sunday 6am-Midnight time period.

The station's Cume experienced significant growth; WARH-FM reaches nearly a million listeners each week, or 40% of St. Louis' total listening audience.

The Arch PD Kevin Robinson noted, "We are honored to be the station to have broken KMOX's long-running and esteemed record as the number one radio station among Person 12+ in St. Louis. We're excited about our recent Arbitron survey results, and the entire staff is committed to do our best work possible in order to improve upon our success."

Robinson continues. "To put this achievement into perspective, the history of 130+ Arbitron surveys since a competitor overtook KMOX in the ratings is well over 42 years ago, when the Beatles were on the charts, the original Busch Stadium was just a few years old and the Gateway Arch still had that fresh, 'new Arch smell' to it!"

Local Community Radio Act Passes Subcommittee

The Local Community Radio Act of 2009 has passed out of a key House Subcommittee, clearing the way for the possibility of hundreds more Low Power FM (LPFM) stations. LPFMs are 100-watt non-commercial radio that can be broadcast at low cost to a small community area, possibly opening the door for schools, labor unions, churches and non-profit groups to operate.

Thursday's subcommittee vote represents a major victory for community radio advocates including Prometheus Radio Project, United Church of Christ and more.

"The bill still has a long way to go in the legislative process, but I am optimistic that by the end of the year the Local Community Radio Act will be signed into law," said lead co-sponsor of the bill Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA) with Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE).

Reprinted from Radio-Online.Com

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Univision Closes on WQXR./NY, Set for Signal Swap

Univision is set to takeover the frequency of Classical 6kw WQXR-FM (96.3)/New York Thursday night at 8pm concluding the previously anounced deal with the New York Times for $33.5 million. Concurrently, crosstown News/Talk WNYC-FM takes Univision's Tropical 600-watt WCAA-FM (105.9)'s equipment and license, and the right to the WQXR call letters from the Times Company for $11.5 million.

Univision Radio will transition WCAA-FM from 105.9 to 96.3 Thursday night providing the Spanish-language operator with expanded coverage of the New York Hispanic demographic. WNYC will operate WQXR on 105.9 FM and continue to serve its current audience as a listener-supported public station dedicated to classical music. (10-08-09)

Former WTKS Middayer Burke Plans Return to Radio

Former WTKS-FM (Real Radio 104.1)/Orlando midday host Shannon Burke is preparing a return to the airwaves. He's buying a 2-hour slot on 1kw WORL-AM (660)/Orlando for a show on Saturdays. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Burke is selling commericials to air during the program, which the newspaper says is expected to air for at least 12 weeks.

Last May, Burke was arrested on charges related to shooting both his wife and her dog and he faces charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Clear Channel terminated Burke's contract after he was arrested. He was released on $25,000 bail, with orders to get psychological help and stay away from drugs, alcohol, guns and his wife. (10-08-09)

Citadel Media Appoints John Rosso as President

Industry veteran John Rosso is appointed President of Citadel Broadcasting's network division, Citadel Media. He succeeds Jim Robinson, who exits the company after five years at the helm, mostly under the ABC Radio Networks brand. In his new role, Rosso will oversee ABC News Radio, ESPN Audio and nine individual 24-hour formats.

Citadel Media also distributes "The Michael Baisden Show," "The Mark Levin Show," "Radio Perez with Perez Hilton," "Imus in the Morning," "Rick Dees Weekly Top 40," "American Country Countdown with Kix Brooks" and many other national programs through more than 4,400 affiliate stations.

"We are very pleased to have someone of John's caliber leading Citadel Media's efforts as we enter into this exciting and challenging time for the network business," said Citadel Chiarman/CEO Farid Suleman. "John's breadth of experience and first-hand knowledge of Citadel Media's operations makes him ideally suited for this leadership role to develop and leverage new opportunities the network presents."

"I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead Citadel Media and look forward to collaborating with the talented team here, both on-air and behind the scenes," added Rosso. "We will continue to build on the network's solid foundation as we bring industry-leading content to our affiliates and deliver great audiences and solutions to our advertisers."

Rosso most recently served as Senior VP/Citadel Interactive. Previously, he held positions at ABC Radio Networks including Senior VP/Affiliate Relations and Business Administration and VP/Operations. Prior to joining Citadel, Rosso was Senior VP/Digital Media for The Walt Disney Company's ABC Radio division. (10-07-09)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

PE Firms Ask Banks to Rescue Clear Channel

After failing twice to restructure its debt, private-equity firms THL Partners and Bain Capital that acquired Clear Channel last year, are asking some large banks to help keep the company from defaulting on its loans, reports the New York Post. But sources say these are the same institutions that the firms fought to force the banks to live up to their commitment to fund the buyout.

That means Clear Channel may now default on its highly leveraged $27 billion buyout by year-end or early next year, sources said.The radio giant is in danger of exceeding a loan requirement that its senior debt equal no more than 9.25 times its cash flow.

You might remember that the banks that underwrote the debt -- Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, RBS and Wachovia -- wanted both THL Partners and Bain Capital to walk away from the buyout. But the PE firms forced the banks to issue loans that would be difficult to syndicate. Since then, most of the lenders have since sold their CC debt at discount prices.

The PE firms together own 16 percent of Clear Channel's senior loans, and if the company goes bankrupt, they would likely own a piece of the de-leveraged business, which could turn into a profitable investment, reports the newspaper.

Meanwhile, banking sources told The New York Times "Dealbook" that neither Bain Capital or THL Partners have approached any of the banks to prevent the radio giant from defaulting or with a plan to restructure the company's debt. (10-07-09)

Lutheran Sells 100kw KFUO/St. Louis for $18 Million

The board of directors of Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod have agreed to sell 100kw Classical KFOU-FM (99.1)/St. Louis. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the 61-year-old classical music outlet is being purchased by Gateway Creative Broadcasting, for $18 million plus $8 million in interest over a 10-year term. The sale will become final in March, pending FCC approval.
Des Peres, MO-based Gateway is the parent of Joy FM, which broadcasts Christian contemporary music. It presently owns two stations, in nearby Potosi and Bowling Green, that do not reach St. Louis.
According to sources close to the Synod's board of directors, Gateway will pay $150,000 immediately, $1.35 million at closing, an additional $1.5 million in interest and amortization in the fourth year, and the remainder in the tenth year.
LCMS treasurer Tom Kuchta and board member Kermit Brashear, an Omaha lawyer and politician, handled the sale. Brashear handled the negotiations. (10-06-09)