Dial Global - Moving Forward
Following last weeks announcement that Dial Global would be delisting from NASDAQ, Radio Ink spoke to co-COO Spencer Brown to discuss the future of the company. Brown says Dial Global continues on a normal course. "I'm not saying it hasn't been a tough year, but through the first nine months, Dial Global is generating positive cash flow. Nothing that's occurred and nothing as a result of what's been reported is going to impact the quality of service that our clients have received over the years." Here's more from our interview with Brown.
RI: Is Dial Global going to be OK?
Brown: Yes. It's been a tough year. I am not running away from that. With that being said, operations are going to continue like they always have, in terms of the service we provide to our clients. We have the backing of our equity holders. We are working with our banks. I don't believe the situation will impact our clients- our stations and our advertising clients in any way. We will be able to provide the same service to them that we have consistent with past practices. We've done well for them and they've done well for us. I can't predict the future. If you can tell me whether Congress is going to solve this fiscal cliff.... I am not saying that's directly related, but there are a lot of unknowns out there in the environment, beyond our control as a company, as an industry. No one can predict the future here.
RI: What is your sense of the economy right now?
Brown: I think the economy is fragile. I believe the companies are on record, and some are not on record as really holding their money, and waiting to see directionally where the government comes out in terms of an economic and fiscal policy for 2013 and beyond. When you don't know what your tax rate is, and you don't how much money, your cash in a sense, that you will have to spend, really, starting next year, it is hard to make short, let alone intermediate and long term decisions. I think that's definitely a drag on certain companies's advertising stream.
RI: Was the announcement to de-list part of a process to turn things around or put you in a place where you can operate better?
Brown: In terms of the de-listing, we came to the conclusion that given the small amount of float that's out there, because our company is really, I believe it is 97% held by between the Gorse Group, Oaktree Capital, and some of the pre-Dial Global de-listing, Westwood institutions... there are really few shares out there in the "public's hands." Therefore, given the environment, and like I said, it's been a tough year, and the cost associated with being listed on NASDAQ, we couldn't justify them with the benefits that a company could have, which is; liquidity for its shareholders, potentially using the stock as a currency for acquisitions- all those things were made very difficult, again, by the very small float and the tough environment that we are in this year.
RI: The one thing in the release was the mention of a talk show host costing you revenue, which I am guessing was Rush Limbaugh. How did that incident impact your revenue?
Brown: What Dial Global has experienced is that the news-talk sector for us, has materially slowed down in terms of billing, particularly on the news front. As a result, we are proud of our representation, but we represent CBS News and the Wall Street Journal. News is a significant part of our company's inventory. At least this year-to-date, advertisers have kind of shied away from advertising in news-talk. They've bundled them as one in the same. I just want to be specific, I am talking about national non-direct response advertisers.
RI: You think it had to do with what Rush said?
Brown: Well, certainly, we started to experience the slow down the day after he made the comments. It has continued. Yes, I believe that a lot more national advertisers have shied away from news/talk impacting both demand and pricing, after this comments.
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