Salem Media Group Shrinks Board to Reduce Costs


With its stock price hovering at close to $2 after a late-August fall to below $1.50, Salem Media Group has been struggling to recover from not only a fresh five-year low but its lowest closing prices in a decade.

Now, the company focused on conservative talk radio programming and Christian-themed multimedia properties is shrinking its board to reduce costs.

In a statement released midday, Pacific Time, Salem confirmed the resignation of board members James Keet Lewis, Jonathan Venverloh, Stuart W. Epperson Jr., and Edward C. Atsinger.

However, the departures actually took place on Sept. 11.

Epperson is the Founder, President and CEO of Truth Broadcasting Corporation, which he launched in 1998. “Mr. Epperson Jr. brings valuable radio and senior executive leadership experience to the company,” Salem literature said of Epperson prior to his resignation. “In addition, Mr. Epperson Jr.’s operation of radio stations in similar formats to those of the company enables him to bring relevant experience related to our audiences and programmers.”

Edward C. “Ted” Atsinger is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Greytek LLC, a counterintelligence and security services company focusing on the Defense and Industrial Security sectors. He is the son of CEO Edward G. Atsinger III.

Venverloh currently serves as Director of Operations within Google Shopping, and from 2000-2010 he served as Google’s Head of Distribution Partnerships and launched Google’s Enterprise Division.

Lewis is co-owner of Lewis Group International, which has since 1990 been involved in several new product introductions in the health and wellness industry. Lewis was also the founder and president of Cool Pool Solutions and is co-developer of a patent on a swimming pool maintenance product, The Skimmer Basket Buddy.  Most recently, Lewis has focused a significant amount of his consulting time on international energy projects. He also serves as a trustee of Houston Christian Broadcasting.

Commenting on the resignations, Salem CEO Ed Atsinger III explained, “The board members’ decisions to resign were not the result of any disagreement with the company on any matter relating to the company’s operations, policies, or practices.”

Rather, it is tied to “several unique financial headwinds” experienced by Salem during the last few years. “We are looking for ways to cut costs while not impacting revenue,” he said. “These resigning board members agreed that a reduction in board fees and travel costs would help improve the bottom line.”

With the departures, Salem’s board is now comprised of its founding members: CEO Atsinger, Chairman of the Board Stuart Epperson, Trinity Law School Dean Eric Halvorson, independent businessman Rich Riddle and Heather Grizzle, appointed to the board on March 19.

Grizzle, who succeeds the now-retired Roland Hinz on the Salem board, is a founding partner of Causeway Strategies, a boutique consulting firm that helps individuals, organizations and corporations to communicate, connect and advance their objectives more effectively.

Salem shares as of 3:10pm on Tuesday were off 6 cents to $1.90.

The shrinking of Salem’s board came days after the California-based company declared it will be rewarding stockholders with a dividend payment, paid on September 28 to all Class A and Class B common stockholders of record as of September 17.

The value of Salem Media Group‘s Q3 cash distribution is $0.0650 per share.