Cox Radio Q3 profit down 21%


Cox Radio Q3 profit fell 21% on continued overall weakness in advertising, but the results still managed to surpass analysts’ estimates. Net revenues were $104.9 million, down 6.2% from Q3 2007.  Local revenues decreased 3.5% ($74.5 million from $77.2 million), national revenues decreased 14.4% (to $20.9 million from $24.5 million). Other revenues were down 7%; Internet revenues were flat.

Cox Radio stations in Houston, Long Island, Birmingham, Tulsa and Louisville delivered revenue growth during the quarter, but that growth was more than offset by results in Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, Southern Connecticut and Jacksonville, where net revenues were down.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of 18 cents per share on revenue of $104.2 million. Said Cox Radio CEO Bob Neil in the Q3 call: “During the third quarter, we once again outperformed our markets. For the quarter, our revenues were down 6.2% compared to our markets, which were down 8.7%.”

Neil also said local business was significantly stronger than national, with local down 4% and national down 14%. “This is a trend we’ve observed all year with large national advertisers pulling back due to the economic weakness.”

Revenue at their Atlanta stations were down 11% for Q3; but much better than the 17% decline for the market.

Looking at revenues by category, Auto was down 16%; Home Improvement was down 19% and Financial Services was down 13%. “Our strongest categories for the quarter were Insurance (+24%); Grocery and Convenience Stores (+15%); and Hotels (+83%). Cox Radio scored $1.2 million in political dollars for the quarter.

On August 1, CXR acquired six stations in Athens, Georgia. WNGC-FM, WGMG-FM, WPUP-FM, WGAU-AM, WRFC-AM and WXKT-FM — were acquired for $60 million, less $12 million previously paid to the sellers. 

Because of the completely unpredictable market and economy, no Q4 guidance was issued.

Neil continued his crusade against PPM—see Radio Ad Business Report.