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Salem Media becomes latest radio owner to face removal from stock exchange

Officials at NASDAQ warn the radio broadcaster it could be removed from their exchange if it doesn't bring it stock price into compliance.

Officials at NASDAQ warn the radio broadcaster it could be removed from their exchange if it doesn't bring it stock price into compliance.

Radio broadcaster Salem Media has become the latest media company to receive a warning letter from officials at NASDAQ, urging them to raise their stock price or face removal from their public exchange.

The letter was disclosed late last week in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, through with officials at Salem affirmed the start of a 180-day “shot clock” to bring their stock price within the minimum $1 per-share price required for listing on the NASDAQ exchange.

Salem’s stock price has traded below the $1 price point for more than 32 days. To regain compliance, it must trade at or above $1 per share for at least 10 consecutive days.

Officials at Salem say they intend to “monitor the closing bid price of the common stock and may, if appropriate, consider implementing available options to regain compliance with the minimum bid price requirement” under NASDAQ’s listing rules. It wasn’t clear from that statement how Salem intended to boost its share price above $1 for the required term.

Salem is the third radio broadcast owner to receive a letter of non-compliance from NASDAQ in the last few weeks. In May, NASDAQ announced it was kicking media owner Audacy off its exchange over the same issue. One week later, officials told executives at Urban One that they had failed to file timely financial disclosure reports on an annual and quarterly basis as required.

Salem is one of the largest operators of talk radio stations in the country, offering mostly conservative and Christian-oriented programming across nearly 120 radio stations in three dozen broadcast markets. It also owns a program syndication service that offers talk and news programming to more than 2,400 radio affiliates.

Late last year, the New York Times profiled the company, describing it as an activist media group that takes positions in national elections, mostly to the benefit of conservative political candidates. The Times report accused Salem of participating in election-related misinformation campaigns; among other things, Salem financially backed a now-debunked documentary that claimed voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election, and allowed its host to spread false narratives about the 2022 midterm election along the same lines.

In an interview with WNYC’s “On the Media” earlier this year, Salem executive Phil Boyce said the mission of the broadcaster was to “save America” through programming that was more entertaining tha journalistic in nature.

“My hosts are storytellers, they’re opinion makers, they are thought leaders, and I think there’s room for all of that,” Boyce affirmed. “Somebody has to tell the other side, otherwise we’ll continue to drift to the left, to the point where I worry about the future of our country.”

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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).