Radio cuts, TV revs deliver CHUM profit

Television ad sales outperformed weak nat'l market

TORONTO — Cost cutting in radio and a jump in TV revenue helped Toronto-based CHUM turn a loss a year ago into a quarterly profit of C$1.2 million ($893,000).

Earnings, posted for the second quarter ended Feb. 29, compare with a loss of $37,000 a year ago. Revenues were up to $93.5 million from $90 million.

TV revs, which accounted for 77% of the company’s quarterly revenue, were $72 million, up from $68 million a year ago. Radio generated 21% of revenues at $19.8 million, up slightly from $19.5 million. Music distribution made up most of the balance.

Company noted that television ad sales outperformed a weak national market, while specialty TV sales were up significantly.

Improvement looks even better than the bottom line indicates, according to prexy-CEO Jay Switzer, noting that the company took a one-time $1.6 million corporate restructuring charge for the quarter.

CHUM owns 30 radio stations, eight local TV stations and 18 specialty channels. Last week it announced plans to buy privately owned Craig Media. Craig owns a handful of conventional and specialty channels in Ontario and Western Canada. Takeover, pending regulatory approval, will take CHUM’s national coverage from 60% of the English-language Canadian market to 80%, making it a national network in the eyes of regulators.

In accordance to increasing drama programming commitments, CHUM announced late last year that it has commissioned TV series “The Collector” and, more recently, “Charlie Jade.”

During the quarter, CHUM pink-slipped 34 when it combined the master control operations of two stations in British Columbia, Citytv Vancouver and the New VI. One-time costs were put at $446,000, with annualized operating savings of about $1.5 million.

In addition, there was a common-share split in January.

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