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Cumulus posts revenue drop of 11 percent, digital revenue up

Like other media companies, Cumulus continues to be hammered by a weak advertising market.

Like other media companies, Cumulus continues to be hammered by a weak advertising market.

A sign for KGO Radio outside a studio in San Francisco.
A sign for KGO Radio outside a studio in San Francisco. The station, which now offers sports betting-related programming, is owned by Cumulus Media. (File photo by Matthew Keys)

Radio broadcaster Cumulus Media brought in $205.7 million during the first three months of 2023, a decline of 11 percent compared to the same quarter last year, according to the company’s financial earnings report released on Thursday.

Overall, Cumulus logged a net loss of $21.5 million for Q1 2023, widening its loss from the $900,000 reported during Q1 2022, due in large part to a slow recovery of the advertising market after companies pulled back on marketing spend following the coronavirus pandemic.

“Though the difficult national market trends persist, we have confidence in our ability to successfully navigate adverse environments such as this one,” Mary Berner, the president and CEO of Cumulus, said in a statement on Thursday. “Since 2019, through the COVID-19 impacted years, we have had best-in-class performance in terms of fixed cost reduction.”

Those cost reduction maneuvers saw the company save around $10 million, according to its earnings report. Cumulus also revealed the sale of a Bronx-based radio station, WFAS-FM (103.9 FM), generated more than $7 million. WFAS was sold to VCY America, with the call letters changed to WVBN.

Cumulus is the third-largest owner of AM and FM radio stations in the United States, with nearly 430 broadcast outlets operating in around 90 media markets. The company also operates the Westwood One program syndicate and Westwood Sports.

Broadcast radio revenue brought in $148 million, spurred in large part by spot advertising across local radio stations. The figure represented a 12.5 percent decline compared to the $169.2 million earned during Q1 2022. Digital ad revenue increased slightly to $32.1 million, up 0.6 percent from $31.9 million brought in during the same period last year.

Net revenue declined to $205 million, a dip of 11.4 percent. Shares of Cumulus Media were trading at $3.36 as of lunchtime, down 7 percent from the market open price. Overall, the stock price is down nearly 50 percent since the start of the year.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).