Format flips dent Entercom Q1 results


David FieldThe radio stations in the portfolio of Entercom turned in less revenue in Q1 2012 than during the comparable period of 2011, but they did it while expending less cash. The result was a marginal slide in operating income.

Revenue was down 3% to $80M, but that slide was accompanied by a 4% decrease in expenses to $59.6M. The result was a modest 1% decrease in operating income to $20.4M. EBITDA was said to be flat at $15.1M.

The company is working in new formats at a number of stations, and said that was the primary reason for the loss of income. It expects momentum to pick up at the reprogrammed stations as the year progresses.

President/CEO David J. Field said, “Entercom’s first quarter adjusted EBITDA was flat versus the prior year as operating expenses declined 4%, offsetting the dilutive impact of our extensive 2011 station reformatting on Q1 revenue. We expect these reformatted brands to have a small positive impact on second quarter revenues, with further sequential progress during the second half of the year. Our brand launches and ongoing listener and advertiser related innovation have strengthened our competitive position and enhanced our future growth prospects.”

Entercom is now at the helm of its newest acquisition, KBLX-FM San Francisco, which it acquired from Inner City for $25M. The TBA with the station commenced 5/1/12, so it is now operating in tandem with the company’s other San Francisco properties, adult contemporary 96.5 KOIT-FM, sports talk The Game 95.7 KGMZ-FM and classic rock 98.5/102.1 KUFX-FM.

Wells Fargo’s Marci Ryvicker noted that Q2 isn’t expected to produce any gang-buster results, but Q3 is expected to pick up on what she believes are as-yet sketchy bookings. The automotive category is said to be trending in the right direction and political is expected to exceed results in the last two cycles.