With so many of its stations in former go-go real estate markets not hard-hit by recession, Beasley Broadcast Group reported that Q1 revenues declined 23.2% to $22.6 million. Meanwhile, the company managed to cut costs by 18%, resulting in a one-third drop in station operating income to $5.4 million.
More than two-thirds of the Q1 revenue decline was felt at Beasley’s Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Philadelphia and Las Vegas clusters. For the five Beasley markets (of 11) that have Miller Kaplan reports, the company said revenue results were in line with the markets. Of course, Miami and Las Vegas are well known for severe drops in their real estate markets.
In Philadelphia, President Bruce Beasley reported some progress in the company’s dispute with Arbitron over its Portable People Meter (PPM) sample, which Beasley blamed for a sharp ratings drop for Country WXTU-FM. Bruce Beasley said Arbitron has made recent progress in sampling the 35-44 demo in Philadelphia and ’XTU is again a top 10 station in the market.
Beasley was hopeful about the depressed auto advertising category. “Dealers are telling us they are looking for the biggest bang for their budgets when it comes to advertising and that means moving some of their dollars from newspaper to radio and online because they can get more measurable results,” he said. Beasley noted that the overall revenue drop in March for the auto sector was less than in February, but he cautioned that it is far too early to declare that auto has stabilized.
Auto advertising, by the way, was down 53% at Beasley for Q1. It was still the #2 category. #1, Retail, was down 29%.