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The Business of Radio



by Jeff McKay & Tom Gordon


The Ides of March made its presence felt for 4 radio companies last week, leaving each with different questions to answer.  For Spanish-language Entravision, a stock plunge of 20% last Thursday followed adjusted 4th quarter earnings focusing on decreases to local & national radio advertising.  Salem Media saw a decrease in revenue & digital revenue, with same station revenue down 2.4%.  Townsquare also reported a quarterly loss, compared to a gain from the same quarter a year ago, but despite their loss still beat Wall Street expectations and stock in Townsquare is still down 25% from a year ago.  The big news was iHeart Media's "only a matter of time" move into a pre-packaged bankruptcy, which when completed could wipe away nearly 75% of iHeart's $21 billion debt, but also leave Bain Capital, Thomas H. Lee Partners and shareholders with just 1% of the new company while debt holders take control.  Radio's bright spots - Emmis shares are up over 30% in just over three weeks following the sale of their St. Louis stations; Pandora shares have popped about 20% since March 2 following news of growth in video ads; and Sirius XM shares have surged from $5.20 on January 3 to close at $6.39 last Friday

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