It’s always been a question of time. Will Cumulus CEO Mary Berner have enough time to turn around a company burdened with $2 Billion in debt. She’s never tried to sugar coat the problems Cumulus has been facing since she took over 18 months ago. She’s consistently said they are real and significant. At the same time, she remains positive for the employees and confident about her blueprint to turn Cumulus into a successful, growing radio company. Here’s some of what she had to say yesterday on the earnings call.
Berner said the plan she implemented to change the culture and keep employees from leaving is working. “Our most recent employee survey completed in November maintains the dramatic improvements in sentiment we’ve been seeing all a year and the nearly universal embrace of our new cultural dynamics. 97% of employees say they plan to be with the Company in 12 months, 93% of employee say they believe Cumulus is changing for the better, 93% are proud to work at Cumulus, and 85% of employees are excited for the future.”
According to Berner turnover is down at the company, from a high point in the upper 40s during 2015 to 24% now. “Full-time turnover is down from 30% in 2015 to 20% in 2016, and voluntary sales turnover is down from 36% to 23%. These are strong numbers which are not only significant, not only right, but a key factor and our ability to deliver against our third foundational priority, improving execution in every job and by every employee.”
Overall, Berner says she feels very good about the progress being made. “Our track record of identifying the critical issues, developing appropriate strategies to address those issues and executing against those strategies to deliver better results; and you should note what’s outstanding that our work to continue to grow rating, to reinforce the cultural initiatives and to excel blocking and tackling operational blocking and tackling will continue, as further progress in each remains essential to get into the business on the path of delivering positive financial results. We are also now seeing signs that our efforts are resulting an improved financial metrics. In prior earnings calls, we noted that it takes some time for ratings improvements to be reflected in revenue because you not only have to generate the increase in ratings, you have to do so consistently over a period of time, have those ratings published and then go-to-market with those published ratings.”