Westwood One finally turns the corner


Q3 brought double-digit growth to Westwood One, with revenues up 12.1% to $88 million as the company finally experienced a recovery in both of its business segments. Metro Traffic was up more than Network Radio, but both were up. Also, The Gores Group is getting ready to invest more in the company to de-leverage its balance sheet.

“Our Metro Traffic Radio and Television businesses experienced double-digit revenue increases, and Network Radio revenue grew by 9.3%. We outpaced growth in the market for the third quarter where local/national spot radio advertising was up 5%, and network advertising was up 4.6%, according to industry analysts. This growth reflects a stabilizing advertising market. It also reflects the results of our three-pronged strategy of providing solutions to our advertising customers, offering new programming to an expanded affiliate base, and investing in our sales force and infrastructure to grow revenue and continually improve our client service,” said President Rod Sherwood of the long-awaited strong quarter. Q1 had been up, but only on the Metro Traffic side, and Q2 had been down slightly for both operations.

Network Radio revenue gained 9.3% to $44.2 million in Q3. The company said ad sales were up for its sports, news, music and entertainment programming, but that was partially offset by a decline in ad sales for its talk radio programming.

Metro Traffic revenue rose 15% to $43.7 million. For radio the gain was 16%, primarily from automotive, financial services, retail and restaurants. Revenue for Metro Television gained 11.9%.

Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $4.5 million, more than doubling from $2.2 million a year earlier.

The company’s largest shareholder, The Gores Group, helped Westwood One obtain $10 million in additional liquidity in Q3 – the first part of a $20 million program announced earlier this year. The company said The Gores Group plans to make the additional $10 million equity infusion in early 2011.

How’s Q4 looking? Well, Westwood One is officially “cautiously optimistic” that the Q3 growth will continue for both Network Radio and Metro Traffic.