Moonves expresses confidence in Dan Mason


In several past quarterly conference calls, CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves had praised the success of the “Jack” format for CBS Radio, but yesterday he was talking about the recent return of the “beloved Classic Rock format” at WCBS-FM New York, with no reference to the jettisoned Jack. Moonves hailed new CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason for his “swift and decisive changes” that have boosted ratings in New York – with expectations that he will do the same in other markets. “Dan is a programmer at heart,” Moonves said.

Mason has his work cut out for him. CBS Radio revenues were down 11% in Q2 to 463.4 million, which was attributed partly to station divestitures in some smaller markets. On a same station basis, radio revenues were down 5%. Radio OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) was down 18% to 187.3 million and operating income also decline 18% to 179.4 million. TV revenues were down 4%, but operating income increased. Meanwhile, the outdoor and publishing units were both up, giving CBS over all revenues in line with expectations, down 3% to 3.37 billion. Earnings beat the Wall Street consensus by three cents per share at 55 cents per share from continuing operations.

Looking ahead, the company offered this guidance to investors: “When comparing full year 2007 to 2006 on an as reported basis, several factors – including higher expense for stock-based compensation, the sale of 39 radio stations and nine television stations, the shutdown of UPN and the non-renewal of low-margin major urban outdoor transit contracts – will result in revenue and operating income that will be comparable to that of 2006.”