Emmis Communications Corporation (EMMS)

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Emmis Communications Corporation (EMMS)

F4Q08 Earnings Call

May 12, 2008 9:00 am ET


Kate Snedeker – Investor and Media Relations

Jeffrey H. Smulyan – Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Patrick Walsh – Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer

Richard F. Cummings – President Radio Division


Victor Miller – Bear Stearns & Co.

Mark Wienkes – Goldman Sachs

Lee Westerfield – Harris Nesbitt

Marci Ryvicker – Wachovia

Jim Boyle – C. L. King & Associates



(Operator Instructions) I’d now like to turn the call over to Kate from Emmis Communications.

Kate Snedeker

Thank you for joining us for today’s Emmis Communications conference call regarding fourth quarter and full year earnings. I want to extend a special welcome to all the Emmis employees who are joining us and listening in and those of you listening in from our website www.Emmis.com.

We’ll begin in just a moment with opening comments from Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan and Pat Walsh, CFO. After their opening comments our conference call moderator will come back on the line to instruct you how to submit questions. On the line to help answer your questions is Rick Cummings, President of Emmis Radio.

A playback of this call will be available for the next week by dialing 1-203-369-1082. This conference call may include forward-looking statement within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Please refer to Emmis’ public filings with the SEC for more information on the various risks and uncertainties. Additional disclosure related to non-GAAP financial measures can be found under the investors’ tab of our website.

Jeffrey H. Smulyan

We said last quarter, and I said that we were optimistic that we would reach the bottom and that things were looking up. I feel more strongly about that now, a few months later. That’s not only true for the company but I am seeing some signs in our industry that are very encouraging. Let me elaborate.

At Emmis in our domestic radio segment we’ve cleared caught our markets as many of you remember, we lagged behind our markets quite a bit last year at this time. We’ve now caught our markets and we expect this year that we will actually exceed market revenues in our market. The turnaround is especially pronounced in New York where in New York we’ve beaten our market five of the last six months and that’s even made more compelling we think because we have a brand new turnaround, a new format launch at 101.9 which is WRXP, New York’s Rock Experience.

Ratings have been consistently good. Power 106 is back to number one in Southern California in our target demographic 18 to 34. KISS and HOT both have performed very, very well in New York City. We’ve had an especially good set of ratings in Austin, St. Louis and Indianapolis, very, very strong books, couldn’t be prouder of our performance. So, in the domestic radio segment there’s no question that we feel we’ve turned a corner but it’s more than that.

Year-end performance at Emmis International, we had a very, very good year there. In addition to that, we just celebrated our 10th anniversary at Slager and Slager had celebrated the best ratings in the station’s history, by far the best ratings in the country’s history. We couldn’t be prouder of Slager as well as our new format launch in Bulgaria with our rock station which complements our networks there, as well as the continued spectacular success in Slovakia.

Emmis Publishing, an excellent, excellent year. You’ve seen the numbers, we could not be prouder of our publishing group. Not only great sales performance and SOI but also significant editorial achievements highlighted last week by the recipient by Atlanta Magazine winning the National Magazine Award, a remarkable achievement that we could not be prouder of.

Emmis Interactive is our newest division. This continued its great work including today’s announcement reached with Apple and their iTune stores. This is just another example of the innovation of Emmis Interactive which has been renowned by broadcasters as being on the cutting edge of redefining how radio is conducted not only in the United States but now elsewhere in the world.

Another place that our people have led that I couldn’t be more pleased with is in creating the Broadcasters’ Traffic Consortium. You’ll hear more about this but it’s a partnership with NAVTEQ and Traffic.com which will deploy through HD radio technology traffic information. And, this is just the first step in providing all sorts of information to consumers in new and very, very novel and productive ways.

We’ve also beefed up our corporate staff with the hiring of Terry Hardin, he’s our new head of sales and we couldn’t be more pleased that Terry has come on board. And, our industry is also fighting back. We have talked about this industry needing to come together and it now is doing so.

I think as the industry has bottomed out, we’re certainly in a tough economy but I’ve seen more progress from our industry in the last six months than I’ve seen from it probably in the previous 15 years and whether it’s the Katz-Interep-RAB National Sales Initiative or Radio 20/20 which is going to highlight the ubiquity of radio to consumers and decision makers alike, or the part which I’m most engaged in which is the technology front which is to deploy radio tuners in all cell phones and portable devices. All of these areas we’ve made very, very good strides and as a company and as an industry we’re fighting back and I couldn’t be more pleased that we’re starting to see the very early stages of the fruits of those labors.

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