Friday, October 10, 2014

Jeff Smulyan: We Suck Less

Jeff Smulyan
While not exactly using those words, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan basically said as much.

On Thursday's conference call with financial analysts, Emmis CEO continued his upbeat appraisal of the 2Q earnings report.

Smulyan said the quarter was interesting as "the performance of the radio industry as a whole was very challenged and I guess the highlight of what I want to say today is there seems to be much better news on the way."

"We are happy at Emmis because once again for now four and a half years we have outperformed our markets. This is another quarter our radio revenues based on Miller Kaplan were down 1.7% for the quarter our markets were down 5.1%. So, that’s good news and obviously bad news is they are – we’re outperforming but our sector certainly is challenged.

He also stated  there are encouraging signs for  Q3 and  Q4 is looking "dramatically better".

Other highlights:
  • NextRadio: "We now have interactive activity from just about every major company. I think all of the top-20 are either interactive now or in the final stages of doing it. We’ve had support for the Sprint deal from just about every major company. The top selling five companies either had checks or commitments of time for I think 70 of them. As I have said in my 40 years in the industry I have never seen the industry come together for something as much as this."
  • Summer Slowdown:    "We do believe that it’s an industry that needs a catalyst. It’s quite remarkable to see the disconnect between an industry which still gets 93% of the population every week and on a six plus basis that’s 275 million people. And pretty significant time spent listening with the view sort of the public is, oh my gosh, is radio over? "We’ve always said that radio needs a catalyst and that’s why we are so bullish about NextRadio. Didn’t take a rocket scientist to see that if you can turn on the chip in 300 million smartphones as well as make a dashboard come alive with the interactivity of NextRadio based on the research we’ve seen, based on all the metrics we’ve seen, that alone would be the catalyst to change the perception of radio."
  • Radio Consolidation: "We’re always open to ideas. The biggest challenge again is that an industry has not shown growth characteristics has challenged in excess to capital. So for that reason it’s going to be tougher but yes I think, and we’re obviously very close to the Beasley people and very close to the CBS people and I was thrilled when I told Caroline and George and Dan and Scott Herman that was a win-win for everybody and a very, very good deal. And whether our situations like that where clearly that made sense for CBS to increase its stake in Philadelphia and Miami and it clearly made sense for Beasley to have very strong clusters in Charlotte and Tampa and the other markets it was a win-win."

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