I am writing to provide you with my midyear update on Entercom and share my thoughts on how we are doing and where we are headed. I am pleased to report that we had a great first half of 2016, achieving strong sales and financial growth and making significant progress in a number of areas to enhance our future.
Our steadfast focus on our core strategies and values is paying off. We have never strayed from our fundamental belief that the key to success in this business is building great local radio brands, personalities and content; making Entercom a great place to work; adding powerful local marketing solutions for customers; and making a difference in our communities. And the many millions of dollars we are investing in new people, brands, content, technology, capabilities, benefits and resources are paying off and enhancing our performance.
Allow me to share with you some of the highlights of our recent achievements:
- Our stations are strong and growing. Over the past couple years, our ratings are up double-digits, ranking #1 among all leading radio broadcasters.
- Our revenues are strong and growing. Not only have we been consistently #1 or #2 among all leading broadcasters over the past year, but we are also growing faster than many large growth companies, including Apple, Fed Ex, Verizon, Cisco, Ebay, Ralph Lauren, American Express, and many more.
- We are financially strong and our stock is now at a six-year high, significantly outperforming the stock market over the past few years, a direct reflection of our solid performance and our increasingly bright prospects. And as a reflection of our confidence in our future and our financial strength, we launched a dividend on our stock in June.
- In recent months, we have added the Los Angeles Rams and San Diego Padres and some great local shows to our programming lineup. We also expanded SmartReach Digital into several new markets.
- We are rolling out a number of new world class tools to all of our markets, including SalesForce, a new video-based sales training system, and a number of enhancements to our digital platforms.
- Our investment in programming innovation has led to exclusive Entercom programs with a number of world class artists, including Chris Martin, Justin Timberlake and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with a number of other content innovation projects in the pipeline.
- And our recent investment in an Entercom marketing team led by our first Chief Marketing Officer will make us a significantly stronger organization in the months and years to come.
While all of this should make us proud and excited about our future, we should also be proud of all the great things we are doing to make a difference for our listeners, our customers, our communities and for the people on the Entercom team.
- Entercom stations continue to make a huge impact on the lives of our listeners and our communities in ways large and small. Earlier this month, Johnny Dare and the team at the Rock in Kansas City raised life-saving funds for an elderly man in dire need of help. That is just one example of the many extraordinary acts we perform throughout the year to make this world a better place.
- Collectively, we generate well over $100 million per year in support for wonderful organizations and needy individuals across the country. And we continue to reduce our environmental footprint, working to be a good corporate citizen to help ensure a sustainable planet for our children and grandchildren.
- And close to 200 members of our team have already signed up for our new Entercom Stock Purchase Plan which will enable participants to buy our stock at roughly $2 below its market value. And well over 100 of the recent graduates on our team have signed up for our Student Loan Payment Assistance Plan.
And the news on Radio remains excellent. As we all know, last year Nielsen declared Radio to be the #1 Reach Medium in the country, surpassing TV over the past year as millennials (and others) are cutting the TV cord in record numbers. And while competitive media are suffering severe disruption from declining usage, DVR’s, digital fraud and blocking technologies, etc., Radio stands tall as the least disrupted and highest ROI medium in the nation.
Radio is winning because we establish powerful personal connections with our listeners, providing top notch entertainment, information, engagement, and companionship to the massive 93% of the population that listens weekly. As Sir Richard Branson explains, “People want personality, local insight, and a feeling of connection – all qualities great DJ’s on radio stations can share, and streaming sites can’t duplicate”.
We should all feel very good about our recent performance. But as we take pride in our accomplishments and progress, we also recognize that in this hypercompetitive world of constant change, any organization that isn’t getting better every day will ultimately fall behind and fail. What was good enough to win yesterday, won’t be good enough tomorrow. As a company, we are making huge investments in people, content, capabilities, and other important areas to ensure that we grow, thrive and succeed in the years ahead. And as individuals, each of us must also commit ourselves to advancing our knowledge, skills, and capabilities in order to keep pace or risk falling behind. We should all heed the words of the late, great Vince Lombardi who said, “We will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.”
My deepest thanks and appreciation to each of you for all of your contributions to our collective success during the first half of 2016. I am grateful to be able to serve you and lead this special organization of terrific people that is positioned for great things in the years ahead.
With all best wishes,