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Clear Channel Revenue Up 5% in 2011

Local/national radio ad sales drop slightly but digital grows

The part of Clear Channel that used to be called its radio business had slight declines in local and national radio advertising in 2011, but it grew revenue through other channels.

Parent CC Media Holdings reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year. Its Media and Entertainment segment, “CCME,” formerly known as radio, reported an increase of 4% in revenues, up $118 million; of that, $107 million in growth came from its Metro/Shadow Traffic acquisition. For the year, CCME’s revenue was $2.98 billion.

“The company experienced growth in its digital radio services revenues, reflecting improved rates, greater volume and revenues related to its iHeartRadio Music Festival,” it stated.

“Offsetting these increases were slight declines in local and national advertising across various markets and advertising categories, including telecommunication, travel and tourism and, most notably, political spending.”

(Clear Channel not surprisingly seems to be reflecting the overall U.S. radio industry in its latest numbers. The Radio Advertising Bureau reported last week that industry revenue for the year was up slightly in 2011 thanks to a push from non-traditional sources like streaming and website ad sales, while industry spot sales were down a bit.)

The company’s overall revenues increased 5% last year to $6.16 billion, with OIBDAN up 10%. The latter is a financial statistic that Clear Channel likes to use because, it says, the statistic provides a link between profitability and net income.

The company posted a consolidated net loss of $268 million for 2011 compared to a consolidated net loss of $463 million in 2010. CEO Bob Pittman expressed pleasure with the company’s business performance.

Listing achievements for the past year, Clear Channel mentioned the relaunch of iHeartRadio, including custom stations; the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas; improved digital radio operations including the acquisition of music company Thumbplay; the development of the Strategic Partners and Distribution group and National Programming Platforms group; and the appointment of Pittman as CEO of CC Media Holdings and Clear Channel Communications as well as executive chairman of the board of Clear Channel Outdoor.