Salem Media Group’s Q1? Expenses Up, Revenue Down


With the ringing of the Closing Bell on Wall Street, Salem Media Group‘s Q1 2020 financial results arrived. With its shares at their highest level since March 26, perhaps buoyed by the news that Amy Jacobson — morning co-host at Salem’s WIND-AM in Chicago — is suing Illinois’ governor for barring her from his official press briefings, could investors push SALM further upward this week?

Given the results Salem just released, the answer could be difficult to predict.

Net broadcast revenue declined to $45.18 million, from $46.09 million.

Net digital media revenue fell to $9.1 million, from $10.24 million.

Net publishing revenue dipped to $3.97 million, from $4.14 million.

As such, Salem Media Group’s total Q1 revenue declined to $58.25 million, from $60.47 million.

While that doesn’t seem so bad, given the COVID-19-fueled challenges in the latter half of March, broadcast operating expenses increased to $37.33 million, from $36.45 million.

The killer for Salem, however, was a $17.25 million impairment charge, a result of the pandemic’s impact on business.

This shifted operating expenses to $76.26 million, from $61.45 million, leading to a much wider operating loss of $18 million, from $984,000.

Throw in a $33.16 million income tax provision, and Salem swung from net income of $322,000 (1 cent per share) to a net loss of $55.2 million ($2.07 per share).

Station Operating Income (SOI) dipped to $7.853 million from $9.64 million.

Total EBITDA moved to -$14.31 million, from $3.67 million in Q1 2019. Adjusted EBITDA declined to $3.43 million, from $7.62 million. Adjusted Free Cash Flow sank to $1.66 million, from $5.04 million.

While these results are particularly bleak, there are some positives when looking at Salem’s Q1 on a same-station basis: broadcast net revenue climbed to $44.31 million, from $44.04 million.

But, expenses also grew. As such, “Station Operating Income” on a same-station basis was $8.04 million, dropping from $9.9 million.

Company executives did not offer any comments ahead of a 5pm Pacific conference call from their Ventura County, Calif., headquarters.

In immediate after-hours trading on Wall Street, SALM was off 8.4% to $0.90.