With revenue of just over $414 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, Entercom added just about $3 million to its top line compared to Q4 2018. For the year, Entercom says revenue was up 2%.
The strongest markets for the company were New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Cleveland. The strongest categories were Professional Services, Financial Services, Insurance, Entertainment, Gambling, and Home Improvement. Auto was down in the mid-single digits. December was Entercom’s strongest month in the quarter and October was the weakest.
Digital, including podcast revenue, events, national revenue, and network revenue were strong for Entercom. Local advertising didn’t even get a mention. Political revenue was down for the quarter, which was expected in an off-year.
Entercom CEO David Field said the top priority for the company is to pay down debt. He wants leverage to be at 4X by the middle of 2021. Last week Entercom sold long-time rocker WAAF to Educational Media Foundation for $10.8 million.
Investments in podcasting seem to be paying off for Entercom. CFO Rich Schmaeling said Entercom took in over $12 million in podcast revenue in the fourth quarter of 2019. Entercom owns Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Media which they acquired in 2019 to bulk up their podcast strategy and help them produce original content. Field said Entercom podcasts now receive 2 billion annual downloads.
Schmaeling said podcasting is very complementary to Entercom’s core business and will provide the company with a significant amount of revenue synergies moving forward.
When giving revenue guidance for the first quarter of 2020, Field said he expects revenue growth of 3-4%, however, he expects revenue to be flat for the company outside of podcasting.
The company did record a loss of $455.5 million in the quarter, compared to $377.6 million in Q4 2018.