Fourteen months into integrating the stations it received from CBS Radio in a swap, Beasley Broadcast Group is beginning to see the light in the form of financial benefits and ratings, according to company EVP/CFO Caroline Beasley.
Beasley Broadcast Group reported net revenue for continuing and discontinued operations combined of $28.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to $26.7 million to the same period a year ago.
Revenue increased $1.7 million or 6.5% for the fourth quarter 2015, while station operating expenses rose $1.6 million or 8.8%.
Expenses rose because the company made improvements in Fort Myers and Tampa, and faced higher operating expenses in Charlotte and Tampa in the quarter compared with Philly and Miami. The rise was “partially due to the fact that we operate a total of 14 stations in the new markets, versus five in the markets we gave up,” Beasley said on Friday’s earnings call.
Reporting earnings for the first quarter of 2016 will be simpler for Beasley and will reflect its current platform. The fourth quarter financials are the last quarter the broadcaster needs to reflect the asset exchange with CBS Radio from December 2014, when Beasley exchanged a total of five stations in the Philadelphia and Miami-Fort Lauderdale markets for a total of 14 CBS stations in the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Charlotte and Philadelphia markets.
Excluding political, pro forma revenue increased approximately 4% in 4Q 2015.
The company made headway in reducing its debt in the quarter and repaid some $1.2 million, reducing total debt to $89 million.
Beasley emphasized the broadcaster made progress in 2015 in “right-sizing” the stations it received in the swap which led to stronger clusters. “We successfully implemented integration cost efficiency and operating plans, and maintain our organization-wide focus on targeted localism, delivering quality program, effective online marketing solutions, and dedicated service to the listeners and advertisers in these markets.”