Salem sees Q1 down 11-14%


Salem Communications had “pre-announced” its Q4 results, with revenues down 6.3% to $54.8 million. Now the company has provided details of the past quarter and year – and, more importantly, advised Wall Street that Q1 is pacing down 11-14%, while expenses have been cut 10-12%.

In his conference call with analysts, CEO Ed Atsinger emphasized the steps Salem is taking to control costs, including the recent across-the-board 5% pay cut for all employees. In fact, Atsinger revealed, most management level employees got a 10% salary cut.

Detailing Q4 results, Salem said broadcasting revenues were down 8.6% to $47.1 million, with same station revenues down 8.7%. Station operating income (SOI), however, increased 1.3% to $18.2 million, a gain of 3.4% on a same station basis.

Meanwhile, non-broadcast revenues increased 11.1% to $7.7 million and operating income shot up to $1.3 million from only $400,000 a year earlier.

For all of 2008, total revenues declined 3.6% to $220.7 million. Adjusted EBITDA decreased 5.2% to $54.8 million.

Broadcasting revenues were down 5.8% for the year to $192.4 million, a drop of 6.2% on a same station basis. SOI declined 8.1% to $68.8 million, down 6.7% on a same station basis.

Non-broadcast revenues increased 15.2% in 2008 to $28.4 million and operating income grew 46.7% to $2.5 million.