Entercom Q1: Digital a “bright light” led by podcasting and streaming

In the company’s Q1 earnings  call, Entercom CEO David  Field expressed pride and bullishness in the digital aspects of his business, especially in podcasting.

Entercom has mainly acquired its admirable podcasting footprint, starting with the CBS Radio merger which delivered RADIO.com. Field noted that RADIO.com reaches over 40-million listeners, excluding those who use the platform for podcast listening. Later grabs of the Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios podcast networks locked in a podcast publishing stature which places Entercom as the second-biggest commercial radio podcast entity. “”We are one of the two largest commercial podcast publishers in the U.S. with a rapidly growing business, competing at scale that has grown to 28 million monthly unique listeners worldwide and more than 150 million podcast downloads per month,” the CEO said.

“We have high expectations for our podcasting business and believe it will be an important driver of future growth.” –David Field

Naturally, the earnings call took stock of Covid-19 Q1 disruption. David Field framed that update around digital revenues which maintained  growth compared to Q1 2019:

“While we are on track to have a great quarter, in March, revenues declined 22% for the month as we experienced a large number of cancellations across our business related to the pandemic. As a result, Q1 revenues declined 4%, and EBITDA was down 19%. Local spot advertising and events were both down significantly, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and the cancellation of most of our March event slate. There were, however, a number of bright lights for the quarter, including our digital revenues, which grew by 41% year over year, led by strong podcasting and streaming audio advertising growth as well as continued strong double-digit Entercom Audio Network growth.”

“Scale has also enabled us to develop a strong and emerging set of data and analytics capabilities and build out a national client partnership and marketing solutions team […] But it isn’t just the scale or quantity of our offerings, it is also the premium quality of our original content, both across our stations and podcasting, that distinguishes the company.” –David Field

Later in the call, replying to an investor question, Field noted that digital  revenues were “over 10%” of total revenues.

As other radio groups have done (e.g. Townsquare Media and Cumulus Media), Entercom seems to be defining itself away from its over-the-air roots, and aligning with the broader scope of audio regardless of platform. Here is David Fields on how he conceives of Entercom: “Since the closing of the merger  [with CBS Radio], we have transformed ourselves into a leading audio-based integrated media and entertainment company with outstanding positions across broadcast, digital and podcasting.”


Brad Hill