Regarding the wind-down of NextRadio and TagStation, CEO Jeff Smulyan confirmed 35 employees were terminated and $1.2 million in severance was paid out. Emmis also took a $300,000 impairment charge for property and equipment related to NextRadio and TagStation. The company lost $8.4 million on NextRadio and TagStation between November 1, 2017 and November 30, 2018.
Smulyan said shuttering NextRadio was a painful chapter for the company but it just wasn’t possible to continue without much help from others in the industry. “We believe strongly that marrying the FM chip into all sorts of portable devices is very critical. Radio needs to regain some portability. The learning that we had was that the data that we can capture in this environment really is a game changer for the industry. This industry has to have aggregated data. That allows us to compete with Google and Facebook. Having said that, we were not willing or able to build out the massive data capabilities that the industry needed, on our own. When we passed the hat, we had some wonderful companies that stepped up, but there were a lot of people that said ‘gee we can’t do this.’ We said we can’t do it alone so now it will be up for others to figure it out. Sometimes you work hard and you just don’t see the success you think you should have seen.” He said he’s very proud of what the NextRadio team, lead by Paul Brenner, accomplished.