Revenues for the final quarter of 2009 were down only by a single digit percentage for Entercom, heralding improvement in a year that was down double digits. And 2010 is starting out even better.
“Entercom posted strong sequential improvement during the fourth quarter, ending the year with positive revenue and operating cash flow growth for the month of December,” noted CEO David Field. December revenues were up 1%. And even better news – the first two months of 2010 are pacing up 7%.
Q4 revenues fell 8% to $96 million, while the full year was dwon 15% to $372.4 million. Station operating income was down 12% in Q4 to $34.5%, again better than the 27% drop for all of 2009 to $120.4 million.
“We are continuing to experience significant market strengthening,” Field said of current conditions. “Advertising demand is continuing to accelerate both locally and nationally, with national sales particularly robust.” Because of the strength in national advertising, Entercom’s larger markets are generally pacing better than the smaller ones. Field also noted that pricing is improving as demand for inventory increases.
Entercom noted that it redcuced net debt by $100 million in 2009. Asked about any potential resumption of the company’s cash dividend, Field and CFO Steve Fisher said the focus is on paying down debt with available cash.