By John Eckberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer
A recovering market for local advertisers and better operations at stations in 15 markets led Regent Communications Inc. to post a 12.3 percent increase in station operating revenues in 2003, officials of the Covington-based radio company reported Thursday.
With 85 percent of the advertising at the stations coming from local companies, the results reflect an improving market for firms that do no rely on national marketing campaigns, said Terry Jacobs, chairman and chief executive.
"A lot of the stations we had acquired have started to mature. There have been significant improvements in ratings and we've been able to grow revenue as a result," Jacobs said
The company reported net income of $5.7 million for 2003, or 12 cents a share, compared with a reported net loss of $6.5 million for a loss of 15 cents a share in 2002.
Regent owns 75 stations in mostly small to mid-size markets throughout the United States.
The company reported net income of $1.5 million for the quarter, or 3 cents a share, compared with a reported net loss of $3.9 million, or 8 cents a share, in the same period last year.
Looking forward to 2004, Jacobs said the advertising climate is likely to improve, at least for Regent.
"Our guidance - growth in the middle-single-digits - is stronger than what other companies have reported," he said. "Ours was a very strong January, and we believe that a lot of transactions in the last 18 months have put us in a position to grow faster than the industry."
Shares in Regent closed down 18 cents at $6.84.
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