Billboards boost Clear Channel, but radio


Radio revenues were down 1% in Q3 to 882.2 million, so it was a 14% improvement by outdoor to 817.5 million that gave Clear Channel Communications an up quarter, with total revenues up 5% to 1.73 billion. With its private equity buyout pending, CCU did not hold a conference call with analysts. It did reveal, though, that radio is pacing down 4.7% for Q4, while outdoor is pacing up 7.7%.

"The Company’s radio revenue decreased 1% during the third quarter of 2007 as compared to 2006 primarily from a decline in both local and national revenues. Local and national revenues were down partially as a result of declines in the automotive, retail and political advertising categories. The decline in local and national revenues was partially offset by increases in network, traffic, syndicated radio and on-line revenues. During the quarter, the Company increased its average unit rates compared to the third quarter of 2006, however, total minutes sold declined during this same period," Clear Channel said in its announcement.

Radio OIBDAN (CCU’s favorite metric, operating income before depreciation, amortization and other non-cash items) was down 3% to 363.4 million, while outdoor OIBDAN grew 16% to 254.1 million. Total OIBDAN rose 4% to 583.5 million.

Clear Channel did not say anything new about its pending deal to go private for 39.20 per share, saying again that the parties are working toward a closing by the end of the year, but noting that it could be delayed until Q1 of 2008.

RBR/TVBR observation: No doubt some of you still want to know how this quarter compared to the pre-Less is More Q3 of 2004. Ah, but you are cruel! Radio revenues for the quarter back then were 960.1 million. To be sure, Clear Channel has divested some small market stations since then, but not enough to account for 77.9 million in quarterly billings.