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Downs Says His 3rd Quarter Was Very Strong


For public companies, earnings season kicked off yesterday when we heard from Emmis Communications. Today, in an effort to cover the entire spectrum of operators, we take a look at how one of radio's successful small market broadcasters performed in the 3rd quarter. Ben Downs is the Vice President/General Manager of Bryan Broadcasting which owns 7 stations, all in Bryan/College Station, Texas. Downs says he was up 14% in the third quarter. "The Texas primary season was a substantial influence with considerable political money coming into the stations.  Since Texas is the reddest of the Red states it is not contested nationally, thus we have seen very few dollars for the general election."

Bryan says his station outperformed the market. "Given were a market with nearly 60,000 college students, advertising market fluctuations are much less severe; the whole market is most likely up over 2011.  I would estimate it to be up 3%.  Because of that unusual composition our largest category is apartment housing, followed by entertainment, automobiles, healthcare and political.  As far as categories, its about the same order as it has ever been.  One interesting outlier has been our sports station.  Perhaps it is a reflection of the mainstreaming of the format and the influx of new talent, but the station is outperforming all our other stations.  During August is was up 25% over 2011.

And looking ahead to the 4th quarter Downs says it looks like things are cooling off. "Were seeing some softness developing in our 4th quarter.  Our tracking is about 5% below our projected growth curve for 2012.  As a local, direct market I suspect that there is a lot of attention on the Presidential campaign.  Once that is settled we expect our advertisers to turn their attention back to the business at hand: growing market share and profitability.
If I had to test the waters this early in the 4th quarter, Id say the mood is less positive among clients than earlier in the year.  Perhaps it is simply election fatigue."

Reach out to Ben Downs HERE

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