CBS Radio revenues were down 10% to 447.1 million bucks in Q4, but only 7% on a same stations basis, owing to divestitures, and that was better than Wall Street analysts had been expecting. For his part, CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves declared that new CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason has been improving ratings, which will now pay off in higher revenues, developing new revenue streams for the radio division and reducing costs without hurting growth prospects. According to Moonves, the staff restructuring that has taken place at CBS Radio was due to downsizing in certain markets that were “clearly overstaffed.” Asked by one analyst whether CBS Radio will post a revenue gain for 2008, Moonves assured her that will be the case.
RBR/TVBR observation: It takes quite a while to turn around a very large ship, so CBS Radio was still trailing Clear Channel and other rivals with its 7% same station revenue decline for Q4, but the movement is in the right direction. If we assume that Dan Mason and his sales teams will now be able to monetize the ratings success being posted by stations in CBS Radio’s largest markets, that improvement will likely come at the expense of some other radio groups in a year when no one is predicting much growth, if any, for the overall radio industry.