Radio’s Q3 Earnings Roundup
Over the past week radio broadcasters have paraded out a mixed bag of Q3 earnings results. Yesterday iHeart announced a +1.6% revenue increase vs. Q3’17 for its radio division, while Entercom reported a -4% decrease as it continues to struggle digesting its CBS Radio acquisition. The news was generally positive down the dial for the smaller operators such as Beasley at +2%, Townsquare at +3%, and Salem at +1%. Cumulus is set to release their Q3 earnings on Tuesday.
So what do these numbers tell us about the health of broadcast radio? The glass half full view is an industry which has stabilized thanks to a strong economy and revenue diversification away from ad sales and into digital products and experiential sponsorships. The skeptic would argue that radio should have been helped more by political ad spending during Q3, especially with all that displaced TV money looking for a home, so they should have performed better in this ideal growth scenario.
Most of the groups are reporting higher Q4 pacings in the +5% to +10% range, thanks to political spending during the first half of the quarter and holiday ad spending in the second half. We’ll check back in 90 days to see how they did.