Emmis sees business “slowly improving”


CEO Jeff Smulyan provided that comment on the current operating environment as Emmis Communications reported that net revenues fell 20% in its fiscal Q4 (December-February). Radio revenues fell 18% and publishing 26%.

“Across our properties, we see signs that the operating environment is slowly improving. These improvements coupled with recent actions to LMA KMVN-FM in Los Angeles and repurchase and retire $78.5 million of our bank debt for $44.7 million position Emmis well for the inevitable rebound in our radio and publishing operations,” said Smulyan in a news release, since Emmis is no longer conducting analyst conference calls.

For the quarter, net revenues fell 20% to $68.5 million. The company’s net loss to common shareholders from continuing operations ballooned to $158.4 million, or $4.29 per share, from a loss of $18.1 million, or 52 cents per share a year ago. The most recent Q4 included a non-cash impairment charge of $163.2 million.

Station operating income was $7.5 million, down from $18.8 million a year ago.

Pro forma radio revenues fell 18% to $51.1 million, with domestic radio revenues down 21% and international down 8%. Publishing revenues fell 26% to $17.4 million.

During the quarter, Emmis terminated 100 employees and reduced paychecks by 5% for those remaining. Those payroll reduction moves are supposed to save $10 million per year. Emmis also ditched its corporate aircraft. It had to pay $10.2 to exercise an early purchase option on its leased jet and then sold it for $9.1 million. While that’s a loss, Emmis will no longer have the costs associated with operating the aircraft as execs turn to flying scheduled airlines.