Fiscal Q2 revenues rise for Emmis Communications


Revenues were up 4.1% for both the radio and publishing divisions at Emmis Communications in its fiscal Q2 (June-August). As the quarter was coming to an end, the effort by CEO Jeff Smulyan to take the company private was collapsing, so Emmis will continue to be a publicly traded company for Q3 and the foreseeable future.

Radio net revenues were up 4.1% to $51.7 million in the quarter, while expenses were flat at $37.1 million. Revenues for the radio division were up 3.1% to $96.1 million for the first half of the company’s fiscal year. And while up is always good, Emmis is still trailing its peers in some markets.

“Miller Kaplan reported gross revenues for our domestic radio markets increased 4.8% for the six-month period ended August 31, 2010 as compared to the same period of the prior year. Our gross revenues as reported to Miller Kaplan fell short of the performance of the markets in which we operate, posting an increase of 4.2% compared to the prior year. Our gross revenues grew more than the market average in four markets (New York, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Austin) and trailed the market average in two markets (Los Angeles and Chicago). Revenue declines at KPWR in Los Angeles and WLUP in Chicago caused us to fall short of the performance of the markets in which we operate. Miller Kaplan does not report gross revenue market data for our Terre Haute market. For the six-month period ended August 31, 2010 as compared to the same period of the prior year, our average rate per minute for our domestic radio stations was up 0.7%, and our minutes sold were up 2.9%,” Emmis said in an SEC filing.

The publishing division at Emmis is comprised of regional magazines. The segment was finally picking up steam in Q2. Net revenues (advertising and circulation combined) grew 4.1% to $15.1 million while expenses declined 7.1% to $14.3 million – flipping to positive cash flow from a year ago loss. For the first half of the fiscal year, magazine revenues were up only 1.1% to $31.1 million.

“Advertising revenues were flat year-over-year for the six-month period, but grew approximately 3% in the second quarter. The key categories driving the increase were automotive, home furnishings, jewelry and travel. Revenue growth in the quarter was driven primarily by our larger publications (Texas Monthly, Los Angeles and Country Sampler). We continued to face challenging market conditions at our other four magazines. Newsstand sales were up significantly year-over-year, with a 17% increase and a 13% increase for the three-month and six-month periods ending August 31, 2010, respectively,” the company reported.

RBR-TVBR observation: While Emmis is no longer seen as a bellwether for the radio industry, due to some market-specific problems in recent years, it is still the first to report due to its out-of-sync fiscal calendar. Improving revenues are always good news.