Regent still pushing hard for local direct


Yes, Q1 revenues were down 12.3%, but CEO Bill Stakelin noted that Regent Communications once again outperformed the radio industry. With its small market focus, Regent is working hard on local direct sales and identifying automotive business opportunities that go beyond hawking new cars.

“Our company, for the last X-months, has been focused on the increase of local direct business, as you’ve heard us say, and results from the development of these new dollars happen more readily than they do in the larger markets – especially, if like Regent, your sellers are trained and motivated to do the heavy lifting that it takes to go out and create and develop new direct business,” Stakelin told analysts and investors. He noted that direct local business was up over 200 basis points (two full percentage points) in Q1 from a year earlier and now accounts for over 35% of Regent’s total revenue stream.

While we have been hearing in conference calls of dramatic declines in automotive advertising, Stakelin said the auto category varied widely by market at Regent in Q1 – from down only 3% to down 65%. “We all realize that this is a major category, and while it’s not going to turn around overnight, I do tell you that management feels that we are bumping along the bottom at the present time,” he said. “And we’re not just relying on where the major dollars come from – our local dealerships in our markets. Our sellers have been focused on the automobile after-market – repairs, parts and service. And we have gone after these automotive dollars aggressively on the local level,” Stakelin said.

Regent reported that Q1 revenues declined 12.3% to $18.3 million, while station operating expenses dropped 6.4% to $13.9 million. So, station operating income (SOI) decreased 27.2% to $4.4 million.

On a same station basis, revenues were down 13.4% and SOI 29.2%.

What about Q2? Stakelin said it is mirroring Q1.

RBR/TVBR observation: Necessity is the mother of invention. Tough times make people come up with new ideas. Finding new ways to sell in the automotive category, now that it’s no longer easy money, will pay off for years to come.

RBR/TVBR has been focusing on the auto area with some recent features.

Americans still planning to buy cars

Jacobs survey looks at auto buyers

There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel

Motivating people to buy cars

A look at the most popular used cars

A “Sales Stimulus Package” for Broadcasters