Radio broadcasting giant Clear Channel Communications may lose as much as $50 million in advertising revenue as an immediate result of the terrorist attacks on America, chairman and chief exec Lowry Mays said at an investment confab in Gotham on Tuesday.
Speaking at Goldman Sachs’ “Communacopia X” conference, Mays added that longer-term losses stemming from the economic fallout of the tragedy are far harder to predict.
Exec said Clear Channel lost $20 million in revenues right off the bat when many of its nearly 1,300 stations in the U.S. switched to commercial-free programming from the company’s all-news feed to follow the attacks.
The broadcasting, outdoor ad and live entertainment conglom also lost between $25 million and $30 million as advertisers pulled spots for reasons related to the disaster, including promotions for canceled events and ads considered inappropriate under the circumstances.
However, Mays was hopeful that Clear Channel will recoup some of the latter loss in the coming months, as events are reskedded and sensitivities ease. He predicted that the company could narrow that loss to between $8 million and $10 million over time.
The attack-related losses come at a tough time for Clear Channel, which, like most businesses that rely on ad revenue, was already fighting a slump in the market. Back in August, the company reported a loss in the second quarter and warned that third-quarter results would be below expectations.
Clear Channel Radio also suffered a bout of bad PR when it circulated a list of roughly 150 songs to its stations that it suggested might be inappropriate to play in the aftermath of the crisis. After some confusion, the company later stated emphatically that the list, which included tracks ranging from AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” to John Lennon’s “Imagine,” was not meant to ban songs from playlists.