Looking ahead at Radio One


Radio One honcho Alfred Liggins thinks his company has a 5M head start for 2008. That’s because that’s how much cash the company bled in Los Angeles alone. It does not figure to do so again, because the situation there seems to have flattened for Q1 and is poised to move up after that.

What is responsible for the turnaround. A number of things, said Liggins. For one thing, a costly format switch has been completed. On top of that, Liggins says he has an extremely good manager there who has restructured sales efforts, an effort that is already showing dividends. Ratings are flat, sales are up with those ratings, and non-spot revenue streams are up.

The disappointing revenue results RAB reported for January pull Radio One down along with everybody else, RO execs noted, but they were pleased to report outperforming the 12 of 15 Miller-Kaplan rated markets.

Liggins addressed PPM, saying it’s been a mixed bag, with much recent improvement from their point of view. After initial losses, particularly in Houston, the numbers are getting back to where they thought they should be. "There is no playbook for PPM and we’re figuring it out as we go along," he said in reporting the upswing. As for PPM’s immediate future, he said, "I can’t tell you what Arbitron’s doing because I don’t know." "And I don’t think they do either," was the snappy one-liner fired back by questioner Victor Miller of Bear Stearns.

Liggins said the company’s focus for 2008 was going to be squarely on cash flow, with other balancing strategies coming into play only if necessary. For TV One, the company will continue ifs effort to get the basic cable service on EchoStar and Cablevision.