In Q2, Cumulus-owned radio stations actually saw a slight increase in revenue, up $466,000 or 0.2%, with revenue of $210 million. But Westwood One had a horrible quarter, down over $12 million, or 13.8%, compared to the same quarter in 2015.
Overall, Cumulus was down 4% in the second quarter, with net revenue of $287 million. CEO Mary Berner said these results underscore the substantial challenges the company must overcome. She also hinted that her turnaround project is making progress.
In addition to the radio station group being flat for the quarter, Berner reported that national was up due to increased ratings. She said ratings had been decreasing for four years when she arrived 9 months ago, adding that, since implementing her programming plans, ratings have increased for 8 consecutive months. “15 of 17 PPM markets showed growth in the all important money demo,” she said. “The other two markets were flat.”
The drastic drop in revenue at Westwood One was blamed on a demand drop-off for network inventory, as well as the shutdown of NASH Country Weekly magazine. Berner said Westwood One is a complicated business with a lot of moving parts, adding, “We brought in Suzanne Grimes, who has a track record of success running complicated businesses.” Berner said Grimes has put together a great plan to address the issues in the short term and is also working on a longer-term solution.
Berner told investors and analysts that her operating strategy is “gaining measurable traction, with significant ratings growth, improved employee engagement, reduced turnover, and enhanced operational effectiveness. These are all critical first steps in the execution of our multi-year turnaround plan.” Berner said that, given time, Cumulus will see positive revenue performance.