Big Challenges Remain For Radio’s Number Two


A little more than one year on the job, Cumulus CEO Mary Berner continues to state progress is being made in the turnaround of the company but the challenges are still substantial. Berner said the challenges the company is facing are fixable with time, calling the turnaround of radio’s second largest company, a multi-year exercise. She cited four “unavoidable hurdles impacting the turnaround.” They are: Unforeseen clean-up items relating to prior years, years-long lack of investment in systems, people and capital items, annual contractual cost escalation and unpredictable and challenging industry

While ratings were up in Cumulus’ PPM markets, revenue for the third quarter was down. Cumulus took in $286.1 million in the quarter, down from $289.4 million in 2015. Westwood One revenue was off by 5.5%, while revenue from the Cumulus radio stations was up 1%. National and political drove the slight increase, despite political revenue being lower than expected. Cumulus took in $3.4 million in political revenue in Q3, compared to $3.8 million back in 2012. Berner said that was frustrating because political revenue was pacing ahead and then dried up.

Looking ahead to Q4, Cumulus is pacing down in the low single digits with the radio station group down slightly and Westwood pacing down in the high single digits. Berner did say the company was keeping an eye on more expense reductions for later on this year.


  1. All we continue to hear is happy talk about culture from Mary. By now she has had plenty of time to grow revenue and control expenses but these subjects seem foreign to her. In my opinion, the company would have been in far better shape under the previous regime!!

  2. Having to say that no one really expects Mary to be the person with access to the specifics for improving this sorry state – a bizarre statement anyway – is there anyone in the organization that can make the necessary shifts to increase a.) appeal to the audiences and, b.) greater effectiveness for the advertisers…?
    Cost cutting? Oh, that will help – if delaying the inevitable is important.
    Meanwhile the Cumulus stock price is endeavouring to cross the threshold where it will get booted off NASDAQ – again!


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