EBITDA debuts at Debut


Tiny publicly traded Debut Broadcasting Corp. has good news for its shareholders. The company achieved positive EBITDA in Q3, a quarter earlier than had been expected.

"We are very pleased to be able to announce that we have achieved operational profitability (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) a full 90 days ahead of schedule," said CEO Steven Ludwig in announcing the results. "This is a huge accomplishment that required the best work of everyone on the Debut team, and I thank them for their efforts. Although our net revenue was only slightly ahead of last quarter’s results, we feel good about what we achieved during the quarter given the challenges faced by so many other companies during the quarter. On top of that, the fourth quarter is traditionally our strongest quarter of the year, so we’re looking forward to great things this last part of the year," he noted.

Q3 revenues were $741,074, up dramatically from $264,530 a year ago and sequentially ahead of $726,438 in Q2. More importantly, the company swung from negative earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $263,285 in Q2 to positive EBITDA of $78,606 in Q3.

Debut noted growth in its Greenville, MS cluster, the acquisition of WBBV-FM Vicksburg, MS and year-over-year growth in its syndication business.

Gross syndication revenues were $1.21 million in Q3, up 220% from $746,000 a year ago, although down $110,000 from Q2.

"Through Impact Radio Networks, Debut’s syndication arm, the company has already exceeded 2007 gross syndication revenue by more than 40%, and we’ve done so in nine months," Ludwig said. Impact Radio Networks provides syndicated content and services to over 1,400 radio stations in the US and Canada and reaches more than 45 million listeners weekly.

RBR/TVBR observation: Yes, you’ve read a lot about how bad business is for radio in this publication. But it’s not universal. Lots of small markets are still doing pretty well. They’re still ringing the cash register for local merchants and they never had much national business anyway. That’s where Debut’s O&O stations are. Meanwhile, its syndication business is still in an early stage growth mode and so small compared to the big guys that it isn’t so vulnerable to decisions being made on Madison Ave. and Wall Street.