In an exclusive interview for the October 9 issue of Radio Ink Magazine, Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says, operationally, due to the changes she’s made to the company over the past two years, Cumulus has turned the corner.
Back in August Cumulus reported Q2 revenue of $290.5 million, compared to $287.2 million in Q2 2016. Berner tells Radio Ink her plan to turn the company around is working. “We have turned the corner and now we are starting to grow the company again.” Here’s an excerpt from that interview.
Radio Ink: Can you give us an idea how the 3rd quarter is looking?
Mary Berner: I think the story here is I think that Cumulus is turning the corner. Our 2nd quarter is indicative of a real milestone for the company. It follows several quarters of market share gains and many many quarters of listener gains. Plus, turnover is declining. It was an incredible performance in the face of a very soft market. That is the Cumulus story. As we said 18 months ago that we would turn the company around. We said it would be a slow steady process. We said there were 4 things we would focus on and we have focused on them. It worked. We have turned the corner and now we are starting to grow the company again.
Radio Ink: How did you turn the ratings around and how much of the turnaround had to do with the technology.
Mary Berner: Of course some of it did. The technology was obviously a benefit for us. We have more than lapped Voltaire. We lapped Voltaire almost a year ago at many stations and the ratings increases have continued and the performance increases have continued. That was a benefit for us but really it was the broader. We’ve invested heavily in promotions and people. We developed new training and tactics. We most notably eliminated command and control of our programmers in the markets and that’s what is keeping the ratings share growing. We had a couple markets in the spring book hold us back but the trend has been to grow in the diary markets as well where there is no Voltaire. Of course it has some impact in the PPM markets but I want to stress that we have lapped that. It’s proven out. It doesn’t at all explain the diary markets because there is no Voltair.
Radio Ink: Were there any formats that were outperforming others?
Mary Berner: It was across the board increases. I think when you do command and control and ignore some of ‘the local,’ what makes stations unique, I think that hurt us. It certainly has helped letting our programmers program. That’s why we get so upset about the Voltaire thing, it’s silly. Everybody else had all the technology, then we get it, and it gives us a little bump just in our PPM markets. Yet all the markets continue to gain share, and have, well beyond the lapping of when we installed it. So that is the proof in the pudding.
To subscribe to Radio Ink Magazine in time to receive our October 9th issue GO HERE. This issue also features Shark Tank’s Daymond John on the cover and our list of Radio’s Best Managers. Daymond John will be on of our keynote speakers at Forecast November 15.