The “unique and extraordinary” events the nation is now facing put the brakes on growth at Urban One’s radio division with millions of dollars in cancellations from advertisers.
January was up 3.2% and February was up 13%. During a 10 day period during March, when the situation regarding the coronavirus turned critical, that positive momentum completely reversed with March now pacing down over 13%, according to CEO Alfred Liggins.
Like every other event that draws a big crow, the company had to cancel The Tom Joyner cruise which pulls in $10 million in revenue.
Q4 2019 revenue at Urban One was down 6.8% with radio down 11.6%. Political and national was off 21.8%, local dropped over 9% and Reach Media declined 13.3%. Excluding political, the radio division was down 2.9% in Q4.
The company saw revenue declines most significantly in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Raleigh and St. Louis markets, with Dallas up for the quarter.