January 4, 2016
Happy New Year!
As we kick off the new year, I am writing to share my annual thoughts on our 2015 achievements and our outlook for 2016 and beyond.
I am delighted to report that 2015 was a year of great accomplishment and progress at Entercom. We started the year by announcing our acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media and while we had to endure some regulatory challenges, in July we added terrific new stations and teammates in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, San Diego and Denver. We are excited about our early progress in our new markets and expect great things in the years ahead. During 2015, we also invested millions of dollars across the company in new content, staff positions, technology, tools and resources to enhance our competitive position and bolster our opportunities. And I am proud to report that we had the industry’s best ratings growth and our sales execution continued to improve from quarter to quarter, enabling us to finish the year with strong second half financial results.
2015 was also a great year for the Radio industry. We all know that Radio is a massive, highly undervalued medium which does not get anywhere close to fair recognition for its outstanding virtues. But Radio’s outlook brightened considerably in 2015 as a number of important research studies were published showing that Radio is thriving while many competitive forms of media are rapidly eroding. This Summer for the first time ever, Radio surpassed TV and became America’s #1 Reach medium. As the New York Times reported in October, “More adults use AM and FM Radio than any other media.” And multiple 2015 studies confirmed the landmark 2014 Nielsen/Catalina study which found Radio delivered outstanding ROI for advertisers, significantly exceeding TV and digital. Meanwhile, substantial audience erosion from alternatives like YouTube, Hulu and Netflix and widespread DVR usage have rendered broadcast TV less effective for advertisers. Last month, Ad Age reported “No End in Sight for TV Ratings Freefall” as over 25% of millennials have already cut the cord on TV. The bottom line is that Radio’s competitive position vs. other media has never been stronger. The opportunity for Radio to take far larger shares of customer ad spending is better than ever.
As a result of our achievements and progress in 2015, I am pleased to report that today, Entercom is Radio’s best positioned broadcaster. We are Radio’s fastest growing company with the strongest and best performing local brands and personalities. We have a strong financial position and the capacity to continue to invest boldly in acquisitions and capabilities to enhance our future. And we are rapidly building strong events and digital marketing solutions businesses to complement our relationships with our listeners and customers.
Our strategies are clear and straightforward and they are working. We strive to build the best local brands with the best local personalities and content and to be the best local marketing solutions partner for our customers. We are passionate about building the best and most talented team in broadcasting and believe that work at Entercom should be meaningful, fun and rewarding. And we are an organization that cares. We believe we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to make a significant difference in our communities. Each year, we provide over $100 million in various forms of support to local and national charitable organizations. And we have an active sustainability program and are committed to reducing the company’s impact on the planet.
But of course, we are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and make Entercom a better organization. And so in 2016, we are adding a number of significant, new investments that will make us even stronger:
- Salesforce, the country’s leading CRM tool
- An enhanced digital content management system for our stations
- A new proprietary sales training system, and
- As recently announced, three exciting new enhancements of our employee benefits plans: a Discounted Stock Purchase Program, quarterly Personal Volunteering Time, and a Student Loan Reimbursement Program.
We ended 2015 on a very nice roll and begin 2016 primed for significant growth. We have no shortage of meaningful opportunities: an outstanding lineup of powerful local brands with the industry’s fastest growing ratings; large revenue growth potential across most of our markets; SmartReach and a growing lineup of great events; enhanced sales department capabilities and resources; and a huge emerging opportunity to grab a far larger ad share from TV, print, direct mail and other declining and vulnerable media competitors.
Getting off to a great start over the next couple months will be critical. As we think about our New Year’s resolutions, let’s make sure we double down on our efforts to start the year strongly and surpass our professional goals to ensure that we all achieve a super successful 2016.
In closing, I want to acknowledge all of the great work from so many of you that has put us in position to win big in 2016. It is greatly appreciated. We are blessed to have so many highly talented stars throughout the company. Thanks to each of you for all you do to make Entercom such a special company. I look forward to a successful and rewarding 2016 and wish you and your families a year of great health, happiness, achievement and fulfillment.
All the best,