Wells Fargo Director Davis Hebert, speaking at the Radio Show in Austin, Wednesday, said the market is concerned about the sustainability of iHeartMedia and Cumulus over the next two years. “It may be tough for both companies to get through 2018 without some sort of restructuring. There’s not as much sand in the hourglass and there will be no significant deal volume in the near-term until iHeart and Cumulus get fixed.”
Hebert had high praise for Beasley Media’s performance, especially how the company has been paying down debt. He said Entercom’s stock has been down 30% since the announcement of the merger with CBS Radio but blamed that on the weak performance of the CBS stations. He called CBS Radio a chronic underperformer for two years. He said it’ll be up to David Field to prove the market wrong.
Hebert said investors want to see positive ad sales, conservative balance sheets, more consolidation, and multi-platform extensions. He said investors are worried about the weak advertising environment, audience fragmentation, and radio’s place in the dash.
Hebert predicted that radio will see revenue decline 2% in 2017 and be either flat or up 1% in 2018. He said radio’s ability to expand its audience could be the catalyst for radio over the long run and gave the example of smart speakers as one of the area’s radio should be leaning.