Is the revenue tide turning for radio? After another Q4 earnings call, we have yet another happy radio CEO. With a nice kiss from political revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018, Urban One turned in a healthy 4.1% increase to end the year. That was highlighted by a 16.5% boost from the radio division.
CEO Alfred Liggins said he’s very happy with the results and the company had a better radio quarter than most people thought they would. “I’m really proud of the radio guys.”
Excluding political ad revenue, Urban One’s radio division was still up 8.8%, with 10 of the company’s clusters outperforming its competitors. Revenue growth came from clusters in the Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Raleigh, St. Louis, and Washington, DC, markets. Richmond declined in the quarter. Political revenue was $4.1 million for the quarter, up from $800,000 in Q4 2017. Every ad category made gains except for retail and food and beverage. Auto was up significantly.
Digital revenue underperformed expectations, declining $2.3 million in the quarter, and the company has taken “significant” steps to fix the digital division’s underperformance.
Net revenue from Reach Media decreased 5.9% for the quarter.
Urban One is pacing down mid-single digits in Q1 due to big one-time buys from Walmart and PCS a year earlier. Excluding those two buys the company is pacing slightly up. Q2 is also pacing up.
The company also took in $1.9 million in revenue from its MGM Grand Casino investment.