Radio One reports losses while defending one’s gain


Urban specialists Radio One earned $72.5M in Q1 2008, a 2% drop from Q1 2007 levels, but said it outperformed its markets and actually increased radio earnings 0.9% despite significant losses in national dollars. Declines at Reach Media and Giant Magazine were blamed for the overall loss. Station operating income, at $28.9M, was down 15% and operating income, at $18.5M, was down 16%. The net was red, a loss of $18.3M compared to a $744K gain in Q1 2007. Looking ahead, President/CEO Al Liggins expects to continue to diversify its media offerings, close station acquisitions and sales, square the balance sheet and then look at buying back its undervalued stock. And he’ll field questions about his compensation package in about two weeks, at the company shareholder meeting.

A big goal is to continue to grow viewership at TV One. Liggins said it’s steady, but they’re still looking for their first “appointment-viewing” programs. He also wants to leverage the company’s various websites into a vertical advertising network, with the goal of dominating the Urban sector of the web.

CFO Peter Thompson launched a preemptive defense of Liggins’ new compensation package, which includes a $980K salary, a $1M signing bonus, a $4.8M make-good bonus and stock/options.

He said Liggins was determined to be a unique and necessary asset, and that the determination was by both a committee of shareholders and outside compensation consultants. Challeneged on it later, they declined further defense and invited those with questions to put them in writing and submit them to be addressed at a 5/20/08 shareholders meeting.