Entercom Hiding Serious Financial Risk

There are signs that Entercom is fighting a losing battle to keep the radio group afloat.

No one cuts more operating costs per station than Entercom and even that looks like it will not turn out to be enough.

In better times, they would likely have years to turn the company’s finances around – now that time frame has been revised.

Entercom doesn’t have a Liberty Media waiting in the wings with which to merge like iHeart does– the second biggest radio group will have to do it as essentially a pureplay radio company in spite of all their hype about live events and podcasting.

Behind the scenes Entercom has made moves to keep the wolf away from the door and now we know the price they are paying for them.

Entercom is a public company that values its privacy but unless the coronavirus magically disappears, it will have to downsize everything and do things it has vowed not to do.

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Newstips  

Radio’s 2nd Quarter Losses Expanded

This is the worst quarter in radio’s history as financial analysts prepare to warn their clients about new data.

That means even greater losses than the ones radio groups previously predicted.

What’s worse is how many quarters the industry can sustain further losses before more drastic measures will be taken especially as a second lockdown looms in many states.

No radio group can sustain these losses looking to the current third quarter and for whatever happens for the entire year.

There are some surprises as to which radio groups are doing better and losing less.  No company will likely post positive growth for the year.

There is only one radio group that is already restructuring to stay afloat and one that – believe it or not – could become immune to coronavirus losses within 6-9 months.

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Newstips  

Entercom to Cut Remaining Talent Pay

It’s come to this – David Field chipping away at talent salaries (especially CBS Radio) until he has run out of time.

Even though Entercom is in the process of reducing live talent to no more than one person (and salary) at a station (if that), the surviving personality tends to be highly paid.

This is Field’s war on what he considers highly paid air talent and there’s a timetable.

It’s going to focus on salaries and redeploy what talent remains in a unique way.

Not all will be offered a chance to stay and those that do are going to see their compensation devastated.

Debt and the second lockdown of local businesses will prompt Entercom to rethink the pay structure – yes, of even personalities who generate the most revenue. 

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Newstips  

Liberty/iHeart Merger Set to Weaken Competitors

  • Now that the DOJ has given Liberty the greenlight to buy up to 50% ownership of iHeart, the new satellite, streaming, podcasting, terrestrial radio and live events behemoth will target Beasley, Entercom, Cumulus, Saga and smaller operators.
  • None of Liberty’s potential competitors joined the public interest groups in fighting the DOJ’s approval – and now they will pay.
  • Liberty will pay down iHeart debt and then use a shrewd tactic to eliminate most local radio costs including programming, sales and management while competitors fail to keep up with their own debt payments and are forced to restructure.
  • The feared “Malone Bundle” will put pricing control for the entire radio industry squarely in Liberty’s hands.
  • And radio groups not named iHeart or Liberty will be frantically searching for non-radio merger partners – here’s what that looks like.

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David Field Makes His Move on All-News Content

  • The inherited CBS all-news formats might just be the CEO’s biggest frustration.  Dropping ratings as all but two of Entercom’s seven stations languish on the AM dial.
  • Restrictive union agreements. And, all are run by PDs who worked for CBS. Some date back to the Group W days.  You know how Field really feels about CBS.
  • Something unusual caught the eye of Entercom insiders last week: a mysterious job posting for a VP/News, to “manage all broadcast and digital news content across 8 All News and 18 News/Talk stations in 23 markets working with brand managers [PDs] and news directors across the country.” (For the record, there are seven, not eight all-newsers – somebody forgot they sold WBZ-AM to iHeart.)
  • This is a brand-new position for Entercom. Under CBS ownership, all “format captains” carried VP titles, which were dropped when Entercom took over. The last VP/News was Steve Butler, who also programmed KYW in Philadelphia.
  • New concerns about mixing advertising with news content and the hiring of a czar to transform the all-news franchise.

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