With his gloomy comments on the overall radio industry (see Radio News) CL King analyst Jim Boyle also downgraded two radio stocks, sending them skidding in yesterday’s trading. Emmis fell to a 52-week low as Boyle reduced the stock to "neutral" from "accumulate." He noted that the "dismal ratings" for key Emmis stations in New York and Los Angeles are not rebounding. Boyle also said it appears that efforts by Emmis to sell a New York station (previously identified as WQCD-FM) have gone dormant, perhaps due to the financing climate and a pricing debate.
Boyle’s observation that the advertising softness in large markets has moved down to mid-markets prompted him to downgrade Saga Communications to "neutral" from "accumulate." The analyst says four straight months of revenue declines for the radio industry and weakness spreading wider do not bode well for the mid-market radio company. "Hence, we are backing off our rating from Accumulate to Neutral on SGA, despite its well-managed, leading clusters," Boyle told clients.