Salem’s Evan Masyr: Radio Is A ‘Very Viable Medium.’
Calling traditional radio a “very viable medium that gets steady results for our advertisers,” Salem Media Group CFO Evan Masyr outlined the company’s multi-platform infrastructure, which he said “enables us to cross promote hundreds of owned media properties,” during a presentation at the Noble Financial Capital Markets’ NobleCon14 conference this week.
With its double-edged target of the Christian audience and political conservatives, Masyr said the company’s radio, digital and publishing assets reach “millions of consumers.” He cited statistics that 71% of Americans identify with a Christian religion, while 42% lean toward the Republican party.
Salem’s radio revenues by far generate the most dollars for the company, at $197.7 million, he said, with digital media – including national conservative websites – contributing $44.7 million, and publishing $24.8 million.
With 199 radio stations in 40 markets, and more than 3,100 network affiliates for its conservative talk programming, Masyr explained, “People don’t often recognize that Salem is the third largest radio broadcaster in the top 25 U.S. markets, behind iHeartMedia and Entercom.” The company’s presence extends to 73 stations in all of the top 25 markets, except for Baltimore and Charlotte.
Masyr told the audience that when it makes a radio acquisition, the company estimates 18-24 months to turn a profit. For example, he explained that it bought 10 outlets from Disney in 2015: “When we buy a station we change the format right away. We then need to market those stations, so those Disney stations are just now getting into their growth cycle.” In fact, he said, the company has been in growth mode, acquiring 16 radio stations and 32 translators since 2015.
In its digital division, Salem’s national website properties generate 145 million monthly page views, he said, and have become its fastest growing segment. It also publishes more than 2 million books annually, with some 75 titles that have been listed on The New York Times bestseller list (primarily from its syndicated conservative radio hosts), alongside dozens of mobile apps, which it uses to drive traffic to its branded websites.
And thus, cross-promoting those radio, digital and publishing divisions is a major part of the company’s overall success strategy, according to Masyr. “This is why we’re different: synergies between divisions. Our radio hosts drive listeners to our websites, our websites promote radio programs and books, and there is cross-selling between radio and digital with larger advertisers. We hold pastor events that then promote digital resources, while our radio stations hold book signing events that grow book sales.”