BMO Capital Markets is the latest Wall Street firm to decide it can do without an analyst specializing in publicly traded radio and TV companies. BMO announced that it was dropping coverage of 19 companies due to a “change in personnel.” That change would be the exit of veteran analyst Lee Westerfield.
Westerfield had been the only analyst we were aware of who was officially covering CC Media Holdings, the new parent company of Clear Channel Communications with its thinly traded pink sheet stock, although quite a few still cover the related Clear Channel Outdoor. In pure-play radio he also covered Beasley, Cox Radio, Cumulus Media, Emmis, Entercom, Regent and Salem.
His pure-play TV coverage had included Belo, Hearst-Argyle and Sinclair. And Westerfield covered a few pure-play broadcasting companies with both radio and TV operations: CBS Corporation, Entravision and Saga. The rest of his coverage list was in the Internet realm and media-related technologies.
RBR/TVBR observation: It wasn’t long ago that we asked Lee about the stability of his job, given the number of his colleagues who had found themselves unemployed. Unfortunately, our suspicions (or fears) proved well-founded. We will particularly miss Lee’s long-range thinking in an investment world that tends to be focused on the short-range. But, we can hope that he will return at yet another firm.