Beasley Broadcast Group’s Q4 revenue was down $4.5 million or 12.9% compared with the Q4 2007. The blame was weakness at the company’s Ft. Myers-Naples, Las Vegas and Miami station clusters as these markets continue to be significantly impacted by the real estate downturn and financial crisis (Vegas was the worst performer). The Philadelphia and Coastal Carolina clusters also experienced substantial declines. However, the decreases were partially offset by a $0.2 million increase at the company’s Fayetteville market cluster and a $0.4 million, or 31%, increase in revenue from the company’s interactive and “off air” revenue initiatives compared with Q4 2007.
Q4 station operating income fell 16.4% or $1.6 million from the 2007 Q3 as the 11.5% decline in station operating expenses was more than offset by the lower net revenue levels in the period. The Q4 net loss and net loss per basic and diluted share reflects the impact of the $62.5 million pre-tax, non cash impairment charge in the quarter which had the effect of reducing basic and diluted net income per share by $1.66.
Said Beasley CEO George Beasley: “In 2008, we faced one of the most challenging operating environments in the company’s history, due to the recession. We’ve taken decisive actions in addressing this environment on several fronts. We’ve significantly reduced costs at the station and corporate levels; made voluntary debt repayments; we’ve made significant company share repurchases; further built our interactive business; strengthened our national rep alliance and added network affiliations at stations.”
Beasley said they’ve taken steps to reduce spending at both the station and corporate levels including a reduction of approximately 7% of the company’s workforce and a recently instituted company-wide salary reduction of 5%. By applying cash on hand and cash from operations to debt reduction, interest expense declined by approximately 35% for FY and total debt fell to $174.5 million at the end of ‘08 from $191.1 million at the end of ‘07.
“Reflecting my personal optimism about the resiliency of the radio broadcasting industry and the future of Beasley Broadcast Group, I also personally purchased 1.1 million shares of Beasley Broadcast Group for a total of $1.1 million in the fourth quarter,” said Beasley.