Fourth quarter 2020 revenues at Cumulus Media declined 13.1% on a same-station basis to $245.9 million, compared to the same period in 2019. While the negative impact of COVID continued, the rate of decline was less than half of what the company endured in third quarter. Same-station earnings were $39.7 million. Digital, the company’s best performing revenue channel, rose 9.4% year-over-year (12.1% on a same station basis), driven by podcasting growth of nearly 40%. Record political spending also helped buoy radio’s third largest group in fourth quarter.
Spot revenue took a bigger hit than the company’s network radio division. Broadcast radio spot billings fell 19.3% to $128.1 million (-18.4% on a same-station basis). Revenues at Westwood One, meanwhile, declined 9.1% to $72.6 million. Total broadcast revenue tumbled 15.9% to $200.7 million or -15.2% on a same-station basis.
"Given 2020’s extenuating circumstances, I am extremely proud of the company’s performance and the efforts of the entire Cumulus team to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19,” CEO Mary Berner said in a press release ahead of the company’s quarterly earnings call with analysts and investors. “In the face of the pandemic, we maximized revenue performance, materially reduced expenses, generated cash through strong working capital management, and executed highly accretive divestitures that strengthened our balance sheet.
“As a result of these efforts and with a recovering economy, we believe that we are well-positioned to return our business to its pre-pandemic trajectory and to capitalize on strategic and financial options to best drive shareholder returns,” Berner added.