Debut Broadcasting says it dodged ad recession


Radio’s smallest publicly traded company, Debut Broadcasting, reports that Q1 revenues were down, but only because of one market where it already has a deal in place to sell its stations. Otherwise, revenues for the rest of the company were up over 20% for the quarter.

While its larger brethren in the station and syndication businesses suffered through an advertising downturn, Debut stated in its quarterly SEC filing that it was not impacted. “A Radio Advertising Bureau report issued in January of 2010 indicated that overall radio broadcast revenues declined 18% in 2009, and projected a very slow turnaround from this decline.  Despite this report, we realized growth in all of markets except for the Mississippi Delta market, and were not affected by the economic slowdown.  Non-broadcast radio revenue (‘non-spot revenue’) remained steady during the first quarter of 2009. Our small market focus allows us to capitalize on the growth in local markets and non-spot revenue as we participate as active members in the communities in which we operate. For the three months ended March 31, 2010, combined net revenue from radio, multi-media, media purchasing and syndication decreased 13.2% compared to the same period in 2009. 100% of this decline was attributable to the Mississippi Delta market, which began operating under a Local Marketing Agreement with Delta Radio, LLC on April 1, 2010 minimizing our exposure to potential future losses from this region.”

According to Debut’s SEC filing, it has agreed to sell WNIX-AM, WBAQ-FM and WIQQ-FM to Delta, owned by Larry Fuss, for $300,000 “on or before March 31, 2011, at Delta Radio, LLC’s request.”

Debut reports that it generated $409,256 in net revenues for Q1, down 13.2% from a year earlier, all due to a drop in revenues for the Greenville, MS stations. The company’s radio syndication business saw revenues increase 20.5% and revenues were up 21.5% for its Vicksburg, MS station cluster.

The company’s overall net loss for Q1 2010 was $280,380, compared to a loss of $244,807 for Q1 2009.

Debut’s syndication business, Nashville, TN-based Impact Radio Networks, sells pre-recorded radio programs and related services to more than 1,400 AM and FM stations in the US. It claims to reach more than 45 million listeners per week.