David J. Field, President/CEO of radio group Entercom, had great numbers to report for Q1 2010, great expectations for pacing going forward, and renewed appreciation for Arbitron’s PPM methodology that now includes cell-phone-only households in the audience measurement mix. Same station net revenue was up 8%.
Beyond that, the company had a menu of numbers to highlight. Net revenues were up 7% to $80.8M: Expenses were only up 1% underneath that, to $59; Station operating revenue was up 26%, and it was up 30% on a same-station basis. EBITDA was up 34% to $17.3M; and free cash flow was up 135% to $10.1M.
Field, who almost alone ventured a sunny forecast in the extreme in regard to radio’s 2010 fortunes during the darkness of last fall, and told analyst Bishop Cheen that if anything things look better now than he thought they would.
Field said a number of advertising categories were looking good, including retail, health, medical, auto political among others. He was very happy about the addition of cell phone-only households is a fabulous addition to PPM methodology.
Field noted that pacing was strong and getting stronger. April is looking like the weakest of the three Q2 months, and June the strongest.
Entercom is not looking at M&A activity at the moment, focusing free cash flow on debt reduction for the time being, but will keep the option of acquisitions alive in the future as conditions continue to improve.
In his prepared statement, Field said, “I am very pleased to report strong first quarter results as we capitalized on improving business conditions. For the quarter, Entercom delivered an 8% increase in same station net revenues, a 34% increase in EBITDA and a 135% increase in Free Cash Flow. Innovation within our Company and the industry is enhancing our appeal to our listeners and customers at the same time as radio continues to post outstanding audience listening levels and remains the most cost-effective reach medium.”
RBR-TVBR note: For reference we recommend a rewind read of: Entercom’s David Field stands by his 2010 optimism. David Field was standing all alone last September when he told the NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia that radio had the potential to grow revenues by double-digits in 2010. With the rebound now underway, Field continues to be optimistic.