Radio One's fourth-quarter loss nearly doubles

Company and analysts say broadcaster is outperforming industry

February 22, 2002|By Andrea K. Walker | Andrea K. Walker,SUN STAFF

Radio One Inc. said yesterday that it suffered a $15.4 million fourth-quarter loss, but analysts and company officials said other key indicators show that the nation's largest radio broadcaster serving black listeners is performing well.

The loss, which amounted to 16 cents a diluted share, compares with a loss of $7.87 million, or 9 cents a diluted share, a year earlier.

"The tragic events of [Sept. 11] brought business to a halt for a while, and advertising cancellations were numerous during the days and weeks following the attack," Radio One Chief Financial Officer Scott Royster told analysts in a conference call yesterday. "This spilled over into October, and, in addition to the recession, kept a lid on any potential growth for most of fourth quarter."

Company officials and analysts said Radio One continues to outperform the rest of the industry as it focuses on its strategy of targeting black audiences.

The Lanham-based company's net broadcast revenue was $67. 4 million, up 16 percent from the corresponding period a year earlier, while broadcast cash flow increased 10 percent to $32.9 million. Both are key indicators of success in the radio industry.

"It was a great quarter for them, particularly when you look at the rest of the industry," said Paul T. Sweeney, an analyst with Credit Suisse First Boston. "They had the highest revenue growth in the industry."

Analysts and Radio One officials say they expect the advertising climate to improve in the next two quarters.

"While we can't predict the future, it seems the industry has bottomed out and we're starting to see some signs of life," said Alfred Liggins III Radio One's chief executive officer and president.

Royster said the company also suffered some fourth-quarter start-up costs associated with its partnership with XM Satellite Radio. Radio One is providing programming for the satellite radio venture.

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