Audacy Looks Ahead, As ’19 Revenue Return Awaits


What’s the biggest takeaway from Audacy Corp.‘s Q4 2021 financial report, released Wednesday morning?

Net revenue is up. Net income was achieved, with the company formerly known as Entercom swinging from a net loss in Q4 2020.

But, compared to the industry’s No. 1 creator and distributor of audio content — iHeartMedia — Audacy still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to recovery to 2019 levels and achieving more growth.

Net revenue climbed to $344.73 million in Q4 2021, from $319.5 million a year ago.

Operating income of $48.1 million was achieved, swinging from an operating loss in Q4 2020 of $204.77 million.

Net income of $21.41 million ($0.16 per share) was seen, a shift from a Q4 2020 net loss of $162.4 million (-$1.21).

Even with political dollars shrinking to $3.7 million, from $18.89 million, Audacy’s spot and digital revenue were up, as sponsorship and event revenue increased with the further opening of markets from COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Lastly, adjusted EBITDA was statistically flat at $66.23 million (compared to $66.42 million a year ago) while adjusted Free Cash Flow slid to $5.64 million from $37.97 million — likely tied to less political advertising revenue.

But, what are the 2021 to 2019 comparisons for Audacy, which saw its stock rebound by 15.8% ahead of the company’s earnings call on Wednesday?

Net revenue of $344.73 million in Q4 2021 pales in comparison to the $414.12 million seen in Q4 2019.

This shows that local and national spot revenue of $222.13 million, compared to $286.87 million in Q4 ’19, positions Audacy as a company with much growth ahead in 2022.

Quite frankly — it has to, as the COVID-19 recovery lags its biggest competitor in the industry, iHeartMedia.

And, like iHeartMedia, digital growth will likely help significantly for Audacy across 2022 and beyond. Digital revenue grew 16% year-over-year to $68.08 million. But, it is up from $47.84 million in Q4 2019.

“While the pandemic continues to hobble a large number of our advertisers, particularly locally, we are optimistic about a strong recovery in our local ad sales later this year driven by vaccinations, fiscal stimulus and pent-up consumer demand in heavily impacted categories,” Audacy President/CEO David Field said.

On the earnings call, Field offered a review of the company’s 2021, including a rebrand from Entercom and its Amperwave acquisition from WideOrbit, in addition to BetQL’s purchase and strong growth in the sports betting and podcast marketplaces.

For more details, we invite you to visit Streamline Publishing’s Radio + Television Business Report.


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