Beasley Reports Q4 2017 Tally

Greater Media addition and tax reform polish results
By Randy J. Stine ,

We are getting a better look at why Beasley Broadcasting was eager to fully integrate those 18 Greater Media radio stations into its operations. Fourth quarter 2017 results show a steep 9% increase in year-over-year revenue for the Naples, Fla.,-based broadcaster.

But while the broadcaster’s three-month total revenue ending Dec. 31, 2017 measured up to $58.5 million, those numbers are skewed since the Greater Media transaction didn’t close until Nov. 1, 2016, which means the Q4 revenue numbers announced today by Beasley are being measured against only two months of revenue from Greater Media in 2016. The adjustment and several other transactions were noted in pro forma net revenue, was actually down 6.9% in the fourth quarter 2017, though much of that was due to a drop in political, according to the company. Caroline Beasley, CEO of Beasley Broadcast Group, says the quarter’s revenue decline was partially offset by a 6.5% drop in pro forma station operating expenses.

Beasley, which now operates 63 radio stations in 15 markets, saw a flurry of business dealings at the end of 2017. The group completed the asset swap transaction of its WMJX(FM) for Entercom’s WBZ(FM) in December 2017. The deal included a sweetened $12 million cash payment from Beasley. The broadcaster also refinanced its debt in November 2017, increasing the principal amount to $225 million while reducing the interest rate, according to company financials.

Caroline Beasley, CEO of Beasley Broadcast Group, says the company will be remain focused on “strong core programming” and “targeted original local content” across all distribution platforms.

[Related: Mike Cooney, Excellence in Engineering]

“In this regard, during the fourth quarter we made progress on Phase 2 of our mobile technology update and expect to roll out our new mobile applications by mid-year 2018,” Beasley said today on the earnings call. “In addition, the Amazon Alexa platform now features live streams and podcasts from 65 of our brands and we are encouraged by the preliminary data we have received on this initiative.”

For the year Beasley’s net revenue spiked to $232.2 million in 2017 compared to $136.6 million in 2016, which again was a huge jump made possible by the integration of the Greater Media radio stations.

The deep dive financial outlook provided today by Beasley Chief Financial Officer Marie Tedesco illustrates the benefit of the federal business tax cuts, which will result in a “significant recurring free cash flow benefit” for the broadcaster. “The reduction of the federal tax rate from 35% to 21% resulted in a $59.7 million deferred tax benefit during the fourth quarter 2017,” Tedesco said.