Cox Radio reports sales slipped at isle stations
The national radio chain says it remains satisfied with the six stations' performance last year
Cox Radio Inc. said yesterday that revenue at its Honolulu radio stations declined in the fourth quarter, as the national broadcasting chain reported a quarterly net loss for the first time since 2002.
Cox, which operates 80 U.S. stations including six in Honolulu, reported the loss after writing down the value of stations in five mainland markets.
Revenue at Cox's Honolulu cluster of six radio stations dipped in the fourth quarter compared to the year earlier, "however for the total year revenues for Cox Hawaii were up versus 2005," Bob Neil, chief executive officer, told the Star-Bulletin.
"It's not unusual in radio to have month to month and quarter to quarter revenue fluctuations," Neil said. "We tend to focus on the total year, not just one quarter. We're very pleased with performance of the Honolulu stations in 2006."
Honolulu's Cox stations had lost four key sales managers in September, when John Aeto, Stuart Chang, Mark Haworth and Kuulei Park resigned to join Maui-based Visionary Related Entertainment LLC, a competitor.
Neil said it was "doubtful" the departures caused the fourth-quarter revenue dip.
"October is usually pretty much done by mid-September, November more than 50 percent done. So, unless they were not selling anything in the months before they left, it wouldn't have much effect." Neil added, "They were managers, not the actual sellers of time, so sales efforts continued after they left."
"Cox Honolulu is currently pacing nicely ahead for the first quarter of 2007, so I guess if there was any effect it was short-lived," Neil said.
Cox reported a fourth-quarter loss of $88 million, or 93 cents a share, compared with $5.46 million, or 5 cents a share a year earlier. That includes a $176.3 million charge to write down the value of intangible assets in Birmingham, Alabama; Louisville, Kentucky; Richmond, Virginia; Green-ville, South Carolina; and Houston.
Sales at the Atlanta-based company rose 3.8 percent to $113 million from $109 million. Analysts had expected $114 million, according to the average of eight estimates compiled by Bloomberg. National sales increased 12 percent while local sales were flat, the company said.
Sales fell at stations in Honolulu, Richmond, Va., and Miami. Cox Radio stations saw "solid growth" in Orlando, Florida; Louisville; Greenville; Southern Connecticut; and New York's Long Island, the company said. Sales rose 4.8 percent in Atlanta, its biggest market.
COX RADIO IN HAWAII:
||Hawaiian adult contemporary
||Rhythmic contemporary hits
Source: Cox Radio
Erika Engle and Bloomberg News Service contributed to this story.