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.