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CC: Radio Revenue Up 3% in Q3

Pittman cites successful return of music festival and recent music rights agreements as notable achievements

“Solid results in a difficult economy.”

That’s the theme sounded by CEO Bob Pittman in describing the new financial results from CC Media Holdings, parent of the largest U.S. commercial radio company.

Pittman said increased revenues from major national advertisers led to “improved performance” at CC’s Media & Entertainment business, which includes radio, in the third quarter.

“The successful return of the iHeartRadio Music Festival drew record audiences and attracted a diverse array of major brand sponsors.” Pittman also noted the company’s recent direct music rights agreements with record labels, which it believes will help it “achieve a sustainable business model that will spur the growth of digital radio.”

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Tom Casey said the company’s recent debt management moves give it “more flexibility to manage our liquidity and debt maturity profile in the future.”

Overall revenues at the parent company increased $4 million to $1.59 billion in the quarter compared to a year earlier. Putting aside the effect of foreign exchange rates, CC Media Holdings’ revenues rose 2%.

At the Media and Entertainment business, which includes radio, revenue grew $7 million or 1% compared to the third quarter of 2011, “due primarily to 3% growth in radio revenues, excluding CCME’s acquired traffic business, largely from increased national advertising, as well as digital radio services and the iHeartRadio Music Festival.” Those revenue increases were partially offset by declines in advertising in the traffic business.

Ad categories with strong growth included automotive, political, telecommunications and media and publishing. Music license fees dropped; and the Media and Entertainment business also saved money on personnel costs as a result of “strategic cost initiatives,” though it spent more on digital streaming expenses due to increased listenership, costs associated with the music festival and other expenses.

The company also reported a 2% increase in Americas outdoor revenues but a decline in its international outdoor business due to the divestiture of two businesses and the effects of movements in foreign exchange rates.

Among other recent business highlights, CC mentioned the pending purchase of WOR, its first AM in New York City; renewal of its contract with syndicated personality Elvis Duran; and launch of “Clear Channel Airport’s ClearVision,” an in-airport TV network that launched at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.