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Chum gets chummy with Canuck b’casters

Radio revenue increased 3.7% to $100.2 million

Chum posted a hefty bottom line boost after a busy year that included inking a deal to buy Canada’s largest remaining family-owned broadcaster. Earnings for the Toronto-based radio and conventional and specialty TV station were up 46% to C$37 million ($30.2 million) for the year ended Aug. 31 on revenue that climbed 3.8% to $457.6 million.

Television revenue inched up 4% to $348.4 million, driven primarily by ad and subscriber increases at the company’s specialty channels. Revs at the company’s conventional TV channels in Ontario and British Columbia dropped by 1.5%, which Chum attributed to the entry of two new conventional Toronto TV channels.

Radio revenue increased 3.7% to $100.2 million, and revenue designated as “other” (environmental music distribution and corporate expenses) declined 5.8% to $9 million.

During the year Chum’s net debt increased 8.7% to $92.9 million due to a deposit made on its deal, inked in April, to purchase Craig Media, for $216.2 million. Chum has said it intends to finance the purchase with bank debt. The transaction has yet to be approved by Canada’s broadcast regulator.

Craig Media owns three conventional TV channels in Alberta and Manitoba, several digital channels and a recently launched conventional TV channel in Toronto called Toronto 1, which Chum has agreed to sell to TVA Group and Sun Media, both subsids of Quebec cable giant Quebecor Media.

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