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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 10-K

 

 

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2020

OR

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

COMMISSION FILE NUMBER 000-26497

 

 

SALEM MEDIA GROUP, INC.

(EXACT NAME OF REGISTRANT AS SPECIFIED IN ITS CHARTER)

 

 

LOGO

 

 

DELAWARE   77-0121400

(STATE OR OTHER JURISDICTION OF

INCORPORATION OR ORGANIZATION)

 

(I.R.S. EMPLOYER

IDENTIFICATION NUMBER)

6400 NORTH BELT LINE ROAD

IRVING, TEXAS

 

75063

(ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL EXECUTIVE OFFICES)

  (ZIP CODE)

REGISTRANT’S TELEPHONE NUMBER, INCLUDING AREA CODE: (805) 987-0400

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol

 

Name of the Exchange on which registered

Class A Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share   SALM   The NASDAQ Global Market

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  ☐    No   ☒

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.    Yes  ☐    No   ☒

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  ☒    No  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files.)    Yes  ☒    No  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer     ☐   Accelerated filer   
Non-accelerated filer     ☒   Smaller Reporting Company   
    Emerging Growth Company   

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes  ☐    No  ☒

As of June 30, 2020, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $14,940,846 based on the closing sale price as reported on the NASDAQ Global Market.

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date.

 

Class A

  

Outstanding at February 24, 2021

Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share    21,130,667 shares

Class B

  

Outstanding at February 24, 2021

Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share    5,553,696 shares

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

Document

  

Parts Into Which Incorporated

Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Stockholders    Part III, Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14

 

 

 


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

          PAGE  
PART I  

Item 1.

   Business      2  

Item 1A.

   Risk Factors      24  

Item 1B.

   Unresolved Staff Comments      24  

Item 2.

   Properties      24  

Item 3.

   Legal Proceedings      25  

Item 4.

   Mine Safety Disclosures      25  
PART II  

Item 5.

   Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities      26  

Item 6.

   Selected Financial Data      26  

Item 7.

   Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations      27  

Item 7A.

   Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk      67  

Item 8.

   Financial Statements and Supplementary Data      68  

Item 9.

   Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure      133  

Item 9A.

   Controls and Procedures      133  

Item 9B.

   Other Information      134  
PART III  

Item 10.

   Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance      135  

Item 11.

   Executive Compensation      135  

Item 12.

   Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters      135  

Item 13.

   Certain Relationships and Related Transactions and Director Independence      135  

Item 14.

   Principal Accounting Fees and Services      135  
PART IV  

Item 15.

   Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules      136  

Item 16.

   Form 10-K Summary      136  
   Exhibit Index      145  
   Signatures      146  


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CERTAIN DEFINITIONS

Unless the context requires otherwise, all references in this annual report to “Salem” or the “company,” including references to Salem by “we” “us” “our” and “its” refer to Salem Media Group, Inc. and our subsidiaries.

All metropolitan statistical area (“MSA”) rank information used in this annual report, excluding information concerning the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, is from the Fall 2020 Radio Market Survey Schedule & Population Rankings published by Nielsen Audio (“Nielsen”). According to the Radio Market Survey, the population estimates are based upon the 2010 U.S. Bureau Census estimates updated and projected to January 1, 2021 by Nielsen.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Salem makes “forward-looking statements” from time to time in both written reports (including this annual report) and oral statements, within the meaning of federal and state securities laws. Disclosures that use words such as the company “believes,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “will,” “may,” “intends,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “seeks,” “predicts,” or “plans” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, as defined under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which reflect our expectations based upon data available to the company as of the date of this annual report. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. Except as required by law, the company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements made in this annual report. Any such forward-looking statements, whether made in this annual report or elsewhere, should be considered in context with the various disclosures made by Salem about its business. These projections and other forward-looking statements fall under the safe harbors of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”).

 

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PART I

ITEM 1. BUSINESS.

Corporate Information

Salem is a domestic multimedia company specializing in Christian and conservative content, with media properties comprising radio broadcasting, digital media, and publishing. Our content is intended for audiences interested in Christian and family-themed programming and conservative news talk. Our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) are available under the Investor Relations section of our website at www.salemmedia.com. Any information found our website is not a part of or incorporated by reference into this or any report of Salem filed with or furnished to the SEC.

We have three operating segments: (1) Broadcast, (2) Digital Media, and (3) Publishing, which also qualify as reportable segments. Our operating segments reflect how our chief operating decision makers, which we define as a collective group of senior executives, assess the performance of each operating segment and determine the appropriate allocations of resources to each segment. We continually review our operating segment classifications to align with operational changes in our business and may make changes as necessary.

We measure and evaluate our operating segments based on operating income and operating expenses that do not include allocations of costs related to corporate functions, such as accounting and finance, human resources, legal, tax and treasury, which are reported as unallocated corporate expenses in our consolidated statements of operations included in this annual report. We also exclude costs such as amortization, depreciation, taxes and interest expense when evaluating the performance of our operating segments.

Business Strategy

We are fundamentally committed to programming and content emphasizing Christian values, conservative family themes and news. Our commitment to these values means that we may choose not to switch to other formats or pursue potentially more profitable business opportunities in response to changes in audience preferences.

Our goal is to produce and deliver compelling content to audiences interested in Christian and family-themed programming and conservative news talk and to be considered the market leader in these segments for all audiences, programmers and advertisers. Our integrated multimedia platform includes traditional media, such as radio broadcasting, book publishing and print magazines, as well as emerging forms of media, such as websites, podcasts, mobile applications and digital publications. We pursue the ongoing expansion of our media platform as the marketplace evolves while aggressively managing operating costs and cash flows. Expansion opportunities include increasing the strength and reach of our broadcast signals, providing state-of-the-art broadcast and digital marketing services to our customers, investing in and building our websites, mobile and tablet applications, promoting our authors and on-air talent, and increasing the distribution and page views for our print and digital content. Our national presence in each of these mediums provides advertisers and programmers with a powerful and integrated platform to reach audiences throughout the United States without compromising the sense of community involvement and branding that we generate through local events and promotions.

Broadcasting

Our foundational business is the ownership and operation of radio stations in large metropolitan markets. We assemble market clusters, or multiple radio stations operating within the same geographic market, to achieve operational efficiencies. Several benefits are achievable when operating market clusters. First, we can offer advertisers and programmers access to multiple audiences by providing airtime on each radio station in that market. Second, we realize cost and operating efficiencies by consolidating sales, technical and administrative support, promotional functions and other shared overhead costs, such as facilities and rent, when possible. Third, the addition of new radio stations in existing markets allows us to leverage our hands-on knowledge of that market to increase our appeal to new audiences and advertisers.

 

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Our broadcast operating segment creates and distributes programming content though our radio stations and our networks, including our national and local on-air hosts. Broadcasting also includes our media strategists, our national advertising sales firm, and Salem Surround, our multimedia advertising agency specializing in digital product offerings.

Digital Media

The Internet, smartphones and tablets continue to change the way in which content and advertisements are delivered to audiences. Continual advancements with online search engines, social media and mobile applications provide consumers with numerous methods to locate specific content and information online. Digital tools allow us to effectively deliver our content and to provide strategic marketing services to our customers. Our editorial staff, including our on-air personalities, provide digital commentaries, programs, text, audio and video content that we believe to be knowledge-based, credible and reliable. We make strategic decisions to invest in website development, mobile applications and tablet applications given the ongoing shift in consumer demand. We continually seek opportunities to diversify our digital traffic sources to avoid reliance on any one provider. We offer custom digital product offerings, including tools for metasearch, retargeting, website design, reputation management, online listing services, and social media marketing.

Publishing

Print books and eBooks provide a distribution network for audiences interested in Christian and family-themed content as well as conservative news and opinion. Our strategy to attract highly sought-after authors and high-profile Christian commentators expands our presence in the conservative and Christian media market and increases the likelihood of printing books that appear on the best-seller lists.

Seasonality

Our results are subject to seasonal fluctuations. As is typical in the broadcasting industry, our second and fourth quarter advertising revenue typically exceeds our first and third quarter advertising revenue. Seasonal fluctuations in advertising revenue correspond with quarterly fluctuations in the retail industry. Additionally, we experience increased demand for political advertising during election, or even numbered years, over non-election, or odd numbered years. Political advertising revenue varies based on the number and type of candidates as well as the number and type of debated issues. We also experience fluctuations in quarter-over-quarter comparisons based on the date on which the Easter holiday is observed, as this holiday generates a higher volume of product downloads from our church product websites.

Audience Growth

Our success depends on our ability to reach a growing audience. We seek audience growth opportunities by increasing the strength and number of our broadcast signals, increasing product offerings through digital marketing services, increasing the number of page-views through our digital media platform, increasing book sales, and increasing the subscriber base for our digital content and print magazine.

Our audience growth is also contingent upon the desirability of our content to our audience. We produce and provide content that we believe is both compelling and of high commercial value. We rely on a combination of research, market testing and our understanding of our audience to target promotions and events that create visibility and brand awareness in each of our local markets. For maximum results, we cross-promote our content on each of our media platforms. By maximizing our audience share, we achieve growth in ratings, growth in page views and growth in subscribers that we believe can be converted into revenue from programmers and advertisers that are interested in reaching our audience.

Media Strategists

We have assembled an effective, highly trained sales staff that is responsible for converting our audience into revenue. Media strategists are trained to provide integrated marketing strategies that includes all of our media

 

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platforms and our full-service digital marketing agency. We operate a focused, sales-oriented culture that rewards selling efforts through a commission and bonus compensation structure. Our media strategists create custom advertising campaigns and provide comprehensive solutions to our clients. Campaigns may include specific geographic coverage areas, event sponsorships, special promotions, e-mail sponsorships, print advertisements, and various digital media elements, including banner advertisements, site retargeting, search engine marketing, tools for metasearch, website design, reputation management, online listing services, and social media marketing.

Significant Community Involvement

We expect our public image to reflect the lifestyle and viewpoints of the target demographic groups that we serve. We regularly collaborate with organizations that serve Christian, conservative, and family-themed audiences as well as sponsor and support events that are important to this group. We believe that our ongoing active involvement and our strong relationships within Christian and conservative communities provide us with a unique competitive advantage that significantly improves the marketability of our media platform to advertisers and programmers targeting such communities. We produce and sponsor a number of local events that we believe are important in building our brand identity. Our sponsored events include listener rallies, speaking tours, pastor appreciation events and concerts such as our Fishfest® concerts. Local events such as these connect us with our audience and enable us to create an enhanced awareness and name recognition in each of our markets. We believe that this brand awareness creates loyalty with our audience and increases our audience share and ratings over time.

Corporate Structure

Management of our operations is largely decentralized with operational vice presidents and general managers located throughout the United States. We believe that this decentralization encourages each general manager and vice president to apply innovative techniques for improving and growing their operations locally in ways that may become transferable to benefit other markets and operations.

Our broadcast operations vice presidents, some of whom are also station general managers, are experienced radio broadcasters with expertise in sales, programming, marketing and production. Each of our broadcast operations vice presidents oversees several markets on a regional basis. Our digital and publishing operations vice presidents and general managers are also located throughout the United States at various locations in which we operate.

All our locations receive executive leadership and oversight from our corporate staff. Corporate staff members have experience and expertise in, among other things, accounting and finance, treasury, risk management, insurance, information technology, human resources, legal, engineering, real estate, strategic direction and other support functions designed to provide resources to local management. Corporate staff also oversee the placement and rate negotiations for national block programming on our stations. Centralized oversight of national programming is necessary because many of our key programming partners purchase times in multiple radio markets.

Human Capital

As of February 11, 2021, we employed 1,338 total employees of which 1,076 were full time and 262 were part time. These employees consisted of 913 in broadcasting, 149 in digital media, 103 in publishing, and 173 corporate employees. We consider our relations with our employees to be good and none of our employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements. The average tenure for all of our employees is 8 years.

We employ on-air personalities and we may enter into employment agreements with these on-air personalities in order to protect our interests in these relationships. However, on-air talent may be lost to competitors for a variety of reasons. While we do not believe that the loss of any one of our on-air personalities would adversely affect on our consolidated financial condition and results of operations, the loss of several key on-air personalities combined could adversely affect on our business.

 

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Our success depends on the continued contributions from our employees and senior management team. Effective succession planning is also important for our long-term success. The Nominating and Governance committee of our Board of Directors (“Board”) discusses succession planning annually. The loss of any of our senior management team could harm our ability to implement our business strategy and respond to the rapidly changing market conditions in which we operate.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a global pandemic. The responses by federal, state and local governments to restrict public gatherings and travel rapidly grew to include stay-at-home orders, school closures and mandatory restrictions on non-essential businesses and services that has adversely affected workforces, certain economies, and financial markets resulting in a significant economic downturn. We experienced declining revenue from advertising, programming, events and book sales. Several advertisers reduced or ceased advertising spend due to the outbreak and stay-at-home orders that effectively shut many businesses down. This was particularly true within our broadcast segment, which derives substantial revenue from local advertisers who have been particularly hard hit due to social distancing and government interventions and in our publishing segment that sells books in retail stores and through live events.

While this disruption is expected to be temporary, there remains to be considerable uncertainty around the duration. Although advertising revenue continues to improve from the lowest levels experienced during April and May of 2020, it remains significantly below prior years. The exact timing and pace of the recovery has not been determinable as certain markets have reopened, some of which have since experienced a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, resulting in varying degrees of reinstated stay-at-home orders. Due to continuing uncertainties regarding the ultimate scope and trajectory of COVID-19’s spread and evolution, it is impossible to predict the total impact that the pandemic will have on our business. If public and private entities continue to enforce restrictive measures, the material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows could persist. Our businesses could also continue to be impacted by the disruptions from COVID-19 and resulting adverse changes in advertising customers and consumer behavior.

Future availability under our credit facility is contingent upon our eligible receivable balance, which is negatively impacted by lower revenue and longer days to collect. Availability under our Asset Based Loan Facility (“ABL Facility”) is subject to a borrowing base consisting of (a) 90% of the eligible accounts receivable plus (b) a calculated amount based on the value of certain real property. The maximum amount available under our ABL Facility declined to $24.2 million at December 31, 2020 from $26.4 million at December 31, 2019, of which $5.0 million was outstanding at December 31, 2020 compared to $12.4 million outstanding at December 31, 2019.

In response to these developments, beginning in March 2020, we implemented several measures to reduce costs and conserve cash to ensure that we have adequate cash to meet our debt servicing requirements, including:

 

   

limiting capital expenditures;

 

   

reducing discretionary spending, including travel and entertainment;

 

   

eliminating open positions and freezing new hires;

 

   

reducing staffing levels;

 

   

implementing temporary company-wide pay cuts of 5%, 7.5% or 10% depending on salary level;

 

   

furloughing certain employees;

 

   

temporarily suspending the company 401(k) match;

 

   

requesting rent concessions from landlords;

 

   

requesting discounts from vendors;

 

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offering early payment discounts to certain customers in exchange for advance cash payments; and

 

   

suspending the payment of distributions on our common stock indefinitely.

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) was signed into law. The CARES Act provides opportunities for additional liquidity, loan guarantees, and other government programs to support companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and their employees. On December 27, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (“CAA”) that includes a second relief package, which, among other things, provides for an extension of the Payroll Support Program established by the CARES Act. We have utilized certain benefits of the CARES Act, and we may be entitled to benefits under the CAA based on our individual locations, including:

 

   

the deferral of all employer FICA taxes beginning in April 2020 for the remainder of 2020, with 50% payable in December 2021 and the remainder payable in December 2022;

 

   

relaxation of interest expense deduction limitation for income tax purposes; and

 

   

Payroll Protection Plan (“PPP”) loans available based on the eligibility determined on a per-location basis of up to $11.2 million on a consolidated basis.

We believe that our customers have benefited from the enhanced benefits provided by the CARES Act, and that they will also benefit from the CAA. The CAA provides for another round of direct payments, enhanced unemployment benefits, education funding, and aid to sectors still reeling from the economic fallout of the pandemic. While these measures may benefit many of our customers, we cannot assure you that the implementation of these measures will offset the negative impact of COVID-19 on our customers. If the CAA or any additional stimulus measures are not sufficient to remediate the financial stress on our customers as a result of the pandemic, we may experience ongoing challenges in growing and maintain revenue and we may experience an increase in delinquencies that could materially and adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition in future periods.

We continue to review and consider any available potential benefit under the CARES Act and the CAA for which we qualify. We cannot predict the manner in which such benefits or any of the other benefits described herein will be allocated or administered and we cannot assure you that we will be able to access such benefits in a timely manner or at all. If the U.S. government or any other governmental authority agrees to provide such aid under the CARES Act, the CAA, or any other crisis relief assistance it may impose certain requirements on the recipients of the aid, including restrictions on executive officer compensation, dividends, prepayment of debt, limitations on debt and other similar restrictions that may apply for a period of time after the aid is repaid or redeemed in full.

Due to the adverse economic impact, we reforecast our anticipated results extending through March 2022. Our reforecast includes the impact of certain of these cost-cutting measures. Based on our current and expected economic outlook and our current and expected funding needs, we believe that the borrowing capacity under our current credit facilities, together with cash on hand, allows us to meet our ongoing operating requirements, fund necessary capital expenditures and satisfy our debt service requirements for at least the next twelve months, including the working capital deficit at December 31, 2020. Based on our current assessment, we believe that we have the ability to meet our obligations as they come due for one year from the issuance of this annual report.

Recent Developments

Cyber Incident

On August 7, 2020, we detected a ransomware attack impacting certain of our operational and information technology systems. We promptly launched an investigation, notified law enforcement and engaged the services of specialized incident response professionals. We have recovered our business systems and critical operational

 

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data. Based on our investigation, we believe the incident has not had a material impact on our business, operations or financial condition. We believe that our cyber insurance coverage is commensurate with our size and the nature of our operations.

Debt Transactions

On October 20, 2020, we entered into a fourth amendment to our ABL Facility that provides a one-time waiver with respect to the current covenant testing period allowing the covenant trigger event date to be the first day after the availability on the ABL Facility had equaled or exceeded (1) 15% of the maximum revolver amount and (2) $4.5 million and a waiver permitting our July 2020 financial statements to be issued on or before September 30, 2020 due to delays that were caused by a ransomware attack.

On April 7, 2020, we entered into a third amendment to ABL Facility that increased the advance rate on eligible accounts receivable from 85% to 90% and extended the maturity date from May 19, 2022 to March 1, 2024. The April 7, 2020 amendment also allows for an alternative benchmark rate that may include SOFR due to LIBOR being scheduled to be discontinued at the end of calendar year 2021.

During January 2020 we completed repurchases of $3.5 million of the 6.75% Senior Secured Notes (“Notes”) for $3.4 million in cash, recognizing a net gain of $49,000 after adjusting for bond issuance costs as detailed in Note 12– Long-Term Debt of our Consolidated Financial Statements.

Equity Transactions

Distributions of $0.7 million ($0.025 per share) were declared and paid in March 2020 based upon our Board of Directors’ (“Board”) then current assessment of our business as detailed in Note 19 – Equity Transactions of our Consolidated Financial Statements.

Acquisitions

On September 15, 2020, we acquired the Hyper Pixels Media website and related assets for $1.1 million in cash. We paid $0.4 million in cash upon closing with deferred payments of $0.4 million due January 31, 2021 and $0.3 million due September 15, 2021. We recorded goodwill of approximately $0.1 million associated with the expected synergies to be realized upon combining the operations into our digital media platform within Salem Web Network (“SWN”) and from brand loyalty from Hyper Pixel Media’s existing subscriber base that is not a separately identifiable intangible asset. The accompanying Consolidated Statement of Operations reflects the operating results of this entity as of the closing date within our digital media segment.

Divestitures

On April 6, 2020, we sold radio station WBZW-AM and an FM translator construction permit in Orlando, Florida, for $0.2 million in cash. We recognized an estimated pre-tax loss of approximately $1.5 million during the three months ended December 31, 2019, which reflects the sale price as compared to the carrying value of the assets less the estimated closing costs.

Pending Transactions

On September 10, 2020, we entered an Asset Purchase Agreement (“APA”) to sell radio station WKAT-AM and an FM translator in Miami, Florida, for $3.5 million in cash. We will exit the Miami market upon the close of this transaction. We entered a Local Marketing Agreement (“LMA”) under which the buyer will begin programming the station in November 2020. We recognized an estimated pre-tax loss of $1.4 million during the three-month period ended September 30, 2020, which reflects the sale price as compared to the carrying value of the assets sold, the estimated closing costs, and the write-off of the remaining Miami assets as a result of exiting this market. This transaction is subject to the approval of the FCC and is expected to close during the first half of 2021.

 

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On February 5, 2020, we entered an APA with Word Broadcasting to sell radio stations WFIA-AM, WFIA-FM and WGTK-AM in Louisville, Kentucky for $4.0 million with credits applied from amounts previously paid, including a portion of the monthly fees paid under a Time Brokerage Agreement (“TBA.”) Due to changes in debt markets, the transaction was not funded, and it is uncertain when, or if, the transaction will close. Word Broadcasting continues to program the stations under a TBA that began in January 2017.

Broadcasting

Our broadcast segment includes the operating results of our radio stations, broadcast networks, and our national sales agencies including our full-service digital agency, Salem Surround. National companies often prefer to advertise across the United States as an efficient and cost-effective way to reach their target audiences. Our national platform under which we offer radio airtime, digital campaigns and print advertisements can benefit national companies by reaching audiences throughout the United States.

Radio Stations

We own and/or operate 99 radio stations in 35 markets, including 58 radio stations in 23 of the top 25 markets, consisting of 33 FM radio stations and 66 AM radio stations. We also program the Family Talk® Christian-themed talk format station on SiriusXM Channel 131. We are one of only three commercial radio broadcasters with radio stations in all the top 10 markets. We are the sixth largest commercial radio broadcaster in the United States as measured by number of radio stations overall and the third largest operator as measured by number of stations in the top 25 markets.

We program our radio stations in three main formats: (1) Christian Teaching and Talk, (2) News Talk and (3) Contemporary Christian Music (“CCM”). Other radio station formats include Spanish language Christian Teaching and Talk, Business, Country, Urban, and Classic Hits.

Christian Teaching and Talk. We currently program 37 of our radio stations in our foundational format, Christian Teaching and Talk, which is talk programming emphasizing Christian and family themes. Through this format, a listener can hear Bible teachings and sermons, as well as gain insight to questions related to daily life, such as raising children or religious legal rights in education and in the workplace. This format uses block programming time to offer a learning resource and a source of personal support for listeners. Listeners often contact our programmers to donate, ask questions and obtain materials on a subject matter or receive study guides based on what they have learned on the radio.

Block Programming. We recognize revenue from the sale of blocks of airtime to program producers that typically consist of 121/2, 25 or 50-minutes of time. We sell blocks of airtime on our Christian Teaching and Talk format stations to a variety of national and local religious and charitable organizations that we believe create compelling radio programs. National programmers, such as established non-profit religious and educational organizations, typically purchase time on a Monday through Friday basis with supplemental programming blocks available for weekend release. Local programmers, such as community churches and organizations, typically purchase blocks for weekend releases. Historically, more than 95% of these national religious and charitable organizations renew their annual programming relationships with us. Based on our historical renewal rates, we believe that block programming provides a steady and consistent source of revenue and cash flows. Our top ten programmers have remained relatively constant and average more than 30 years on-air with us. Over the last five years, block-programming has generated 40% to 43% of our total net broadcast revenue.

Satellite Radio. We program SiriusXM Channel 131, the exclusive Christian Teaching and Talk channel on SiriusXM, reaching the entire nation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

News Talk. We currently program 32 of our radio stations in a News Talk format. Our research shows that our News Talk format is highly complementary to our core Christian Teaching and Talk format. As programmed by Salem, both formats express conservative views and family values. Our News Talk

 

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format allows us to leverage syndicated talk programming produced by Salem Radio NetworkTM (“SRNTM”) to radio stations throughout the United States. Syndication of our programs allows us to reach audiences in markets in which we do not own or operate radio stations.

Contemporary Christian Music. We currently program 12 of our radio stations in a Contemporary Christian Music (“CCM”) format, branded The FISH® in most markets. Through the CCM format, we bring listeners the words of inspirational recording artists, set to upbeat contemporary music. Our music format, branded “Safe for the Whole Family”, features sounds and lyrics that listeners of all ages can enjoy and appreciate. The CCM genre continues to be popular. We believe that the listener base for CCM is underserved in terms of radio coverage, particularly in larger markets, and that our stations fill an otherwise void area in listener choices.

The following table sets forth information about each of Salem’s stations, in order of market size:

 

Market(1)

  MSA
Rank(2)
 

Station
Call Letters

  Year
Acquired
   

Format

New York, NY

  1, 19(3)   WMCA-AM     1989     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WNYM-AM     1994     News Talk

Los Angeles, CA

  2   KKLA-FM     1985     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KRLA-AM     1998     News Talk
    KFSH-FM     2000     Contemporary Christian Music

Chicago, IL

  3   WYLL-AM     2001     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WIND-AM     2005     News Talk

San Francisco, CA

  4, 37(4)   KFAX-AM     1984     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KDOW-AM     2001     Business
    KTRB-AM     2018     News Talk

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

  5   KLTY-FM     1996     Contemporary Christian Music
    KWRD-FM     2000     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KSKY-AM     2000     News Talk
    KTNO-AM     2015     Spanish Language Christian Teaching and Talk

Houston-Galveston, TX

  6   KNTH-AM     1995     News Talk
    KKHT-FM     2005     Christian Teaching and Talk

Atlanta, GA

  7   WNIV-AM     2000     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WLTA-AM     2000     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WFSH-FM     2000     Contemporary Christian Music
    WGKA-AM     2004     News Talk
    WDWD-AM     2015     Christian Teaching and Talk

Washington, D.C.

  8   WAVA-FM     1992     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WAVA-AM     2000     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WWRC-AM     2017     News Talk

Philadelphia, PA

  9   WFIL-AM     1993     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WNTP-AM     1994     News Talk

Boston, MA

  10   WEZE-AM     1997     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WROL-AM     2001     Christian Teaching and Talk

Miami, FL

  11   WKAT-AM     2014     Operated by a third party under a TBA

Seattle-Tacoma, WA

  12   KGNW-AM     1986     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KLFE-AM (5)     1994     News Talk
    KNTS-AM (5)     1997     Regional Mexican

Phoenix, AZ

  13   KKNT-AM     1996     News Talk
    KPXQ-AM     1999     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KXXT-AM     2014     Christian Teaching and Talk

 

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Table of Contents

Market(1)

  MSA
Rank(2)
   

Station
Call Letters

  Year
Acquired
   

Format

Detroit, MI

    14     WDTK-AM     2004     News Talk
    WLQV-AM     2006     Christian Teaching and Talk

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

    15     KKMS-AM     1996     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KDIZ-AM     1998     News Talk
    WWTC-AM     2001     News Talk
    KYCR-AM     2015     Business

San Diego, CA

    16     KPRZ-AM     1987     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KCBQ-AM     2000     News Talk

Tampa, FL

    17     WTWD-AM(6)     2000     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WTBN-AM(6)     2001     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WGUL-AM     2005     News Talk

Denver-Boulder, CO

    18     KRKS-FM     1993     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KRKS-AM     1994     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KNUS-AM     1996     News Talk
    KBJD-AM(7)     1999     Other

Portland, OR

    21     KPDQ-FM     1986     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KPDQ-AM     1986     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KFIS-FM     2002     Contemporary Christian Music
    KRYP-FM     2005     Regional Mexican
    KDZR-AM     2015     News Talk
    KPAM-AM     2019     News Talk

San Antonio, TX

    24     KSLR-AM     1994     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KLUP-AM     2000     News Talk

Riverside-San Bernardino, CA

    25     KTIE-AM     2001     News Talk

Sacramento, CA

    26     KFIA-AM     1995     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KTKZ-AM     1997     News Talk
    KSAC-FM     2002     Business
    KKFS-FM     2006     Contemporary Christian Music

Orlando, FL

    28     WORL-AM     2006     News Talk
    WTLN-AM     2015     Christian Teaching and Talk

Pittsburgh, PA

    30     WORD-FM     1993     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WPIT-AM     1993     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WPGP-AM     2015     News Talk

Cleveland, OH

    34     WHKW-AM     2000     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WFHM-FM     2001     Contemporary Christian Music
    WHK-AM     2005     News Talk

Columbus, OH

    35     WRFD-AM     1987     Christian Teaching and Talk
    WTOH-FM     2013     News Talk

Nashville, TN

    39     WBOZ-FM(8)     2000     Contemporary Christian Music
    WFFH-FM(8)     2002     Contemporary Christian Music
    WFFI-FM(8)     2002     Contemporary Christian Music

Louisville, KY

    53     WFIA-FM     1999     Operated by a third party under a Time Brokerage Agreement (“TBA”)
    WGTK-AM     2000     Operated by a third party under a TBA
    WFIA-AM     2001     Operated by a third party under a TBA

Greenville, SC

    57     WGTK-FM     2013     News Talk
    WRTH-FM     2014     Classic Hits
    WLTE-FM     2014     Classic Hits

 

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Table of Contents

Market(1)

  MSA
Rank(2)
 

Station
Call Letters

  Year
Acquired
   

Format

Honolulu, HI

  64   KAIM-FM     2000     Contemporary Christian Music
    KGU-AM     2000     Country
    KHCM-AM     2000     Operated by a third party under a TBA
    KHCM-FM     2004     Country Music
    KGU-FM     2004     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KKOL-FM     2005     Oldies
    KHNR-AM     2006     News Talk

Sarasota-Bradenton, FL

  69   WLSS-AM     2005     News Talk

Colorado Springs, CO

  87   KGFT-FM     1996     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KBIQ-FM     1996     Contemporary Christian Music
    KZNT-AM     2003     News Talk

Little Rock, AR

  90   KDIS-FM     2014     Christian Teaching and Talk
    KKSP-FM     2015     Contemporary Christian Music
    KDXE-FM     2018     News Talk
    KZTS-AM     2018     Gospel

Oxnard-Ventura, CA

  123   KDAR-FM     1974     Christian Teaching and Talk

Warrenton, VA

    WRCW-AM     2012     News Talk

 

(1)

Actual city of license may differ from metropolitan market served.

(2)

All metropolitan statistical area (“MSA”) rank information used in this annual report, excluding information concerning the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, is from the Fall 2019 Radio Market Survey Schedule & Population Rankings published by Nielsen. According to the Radio Market Survey, the population estimates are based upon the 2010 U.S. Bureau Census estimates updated and projected to January 1, 2021 by Nielsen Demographics.

(3)

This market includes the Nassau-Suffolk, NY Metro market, which independently has a MSA rank of 19.

(4)

This market includes the San Jose, CA market, which independently has a MSA rank of 37.

(5)

KNTS(AM) is an expanded band AM station paired with KLFE(AM). The licenses for these stations include a condition that the most recent license renewal was granted subject to the resolution of AM expanded band dual operating authority issues in MB Docket No. 07-294.

(6)

WTBN-AM is simulcast with WTWD-AM, Tampa, FL.

(7)

KBJD(AM) is an expanded band AM station paired with KRKS(AM). The licenses for these stations include a condition that the most recent license renewal was granted subject to the resolution of AM expanded band dual operating authority issues in MB Docket No. 07-294.

(8)

WBOZ-FM is trimulcast with WFFH-FM, Nashville, TN and WFFI-FM, Nashville, TN.

Broadcast revenue includes radio advertising spots, programming revenue, digital revenue from each of our radio station websites, digital email blasts, Salem Surround revenue, event revenue, and network advertising revenue. The principal source of network broadcast revenue is from the sale of spot advertising time. Salem Consumer Products, our e-commerce site, generates broadcast revenue from the sale of host content materials.

We recognize advertising revenue from radio stations as the spots air or are delivered. For the year ended December 31, 2020, we derived 22.1% of our net broadcast revenue, or $39.4 million, from the sale of local spot advertising and 8.6% of our net broadcast revenue, or $15.3 million, from the sale of national spot advertising.

We recognize programming revenue as the programs air. For the year ended December 31, 2020, we derived 26.4% and 13.6% of our net broadcast revenue, or $47.0 million and $24.3 million, respectively, from the sale of national and local block programming time, respectively. National program revenue is primarily generated from geographically diverse, well-established non-profit religious and educational organizations that purchase time on our stations in a large number of markets in the United States. National program producers typically purchase 121/2, 25 or 50-minute blocks of time on a Monday through Friday basis and may offer supplemental

 

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programming for weekend release. We generate local program revenue from community organizations and churches that typically purchase blocks for weekend releases and from local speakers who generally purchase daily releases. Our strategy is to identify and assist quality local programs to expand into national syndication.

Salem Radio NetworkTM

Salem Radio NetworkTM (“SRNTM”), based in Dallas, Texas, develops, produces and syndicates a broad range of programming specifically targeted to Christian and family-themed talk stations, music stations and News Talk stations. SRNTM delivers programming via satellite to approximately 3,200 affiliated radio stations throughout the United States, including several of our Salem-owned stations. SRNTM operates five divisions, SRNTM Talk, SRNTM News, SRNTM Websites, SRNTM Satellite Services and Salem Music Network that includes Today’s Christian Music (“TCM”) and Singing News® Radio. SRNTM’s net revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $24.0 million, or 13.5% of net broadcast revenue.

Salem Media Representatives

Salem Media Representatives (“SMR”) is our national advertising sales firm with offices in 12 U.S. cities. SMR specializes in placing national advertising on Christian and talk formatted radio stations as well as other commercial radio station formats. SMR sells commercial airtime to national advertisers on our radio stations and through our networks, as well as for independent radio station affiliates. SMR also contracts with independent radio stations to create custom advertising campaigns for national advertisers to reach multiple markets. SMR’s net commission revenue to independent radio station affiliates for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $0.5 million or 0.3% of net broadcast revenue.

Salem Surround

Salem Surround is our national multimedia advertising agency with locations in 33 markets across the United States. Salem Surround specializes in digital marketing services for each of our radio stations and websites as well as provides a full-service digital marketing strategy for each of our clients. Salem Surround provides custom digital product offerings, including tools for metasearch, retargeting, website design, reputation management, online listing services, and social media marketing. Digital product offerings may include third-party websites, such as Google or Facebook, which can be included in a digital advertising social media campaign. We manage all aspects of the digital campaign, including social media placements, review and approval of target audiences, and the monitoring of actual results to make modifications as needed.

Digital Media

Our digital media-based businesses provide Christian, conservative, investing content, e-commerce, audio and video streaming, and other resources digitally through the web. Revenue generated from our digital media operating segment includes advertising arrangements based on cost-per-click or performance-based advertising; display advertisements where revenue is dependent upon the number of page views; and lead generation advertisements where revenue is dependent upon users registering for, purchasing or demonstrating an interest in our advertisers’ products or services. We also generate revenue from digital subscriptions, streaming, downloads and product sales through our church product websites and investing websites. Revenue is recognized upon digital delivery or page views, downloads and upon shipment of products. Revenue from this operating segment is reported as Digital Media revenue on our Consolidated Statements of Operations included in Item 8 of this annual report.

 

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Table of Contents

We own and operate numerous websites including:

Salem Web Network (“SWN”) Christian Content Websites:

BibleStudyTools.com is a free Bible website for verse search and in-depth studies featuring commentaries, reading plans, and other helpful resources designed as aids to Bible study.

Crosswalk.com® offers compelling, editorial-driven, biblically based, lifestyle and devotional content to Christians who take seriously their relationship with Christ.

GodVine.com is an online platform designed to share inspirational, family-friendly video through Facebook and other social media outlets.

iBelieve.com creates editorial-driven, lifestyle content, focused on helping Christian women use personal experience to examine the deeper issues of life and faith.

GodTube®.com is a video viewing platform for Christian videos with faith-based, family-friendly content.

OnePlace®.com is a provider of on-demand, online audio streaming for nearly 200 radio programs from more than 185 popular Christian broadcast ministries. Oneplace.com serves as both a complement to and an extension of our block programming Christian radio business.

Christianity.com offers engaging articles and video focused on exploring the deeper, theological issues and apologetics of the Christian faith. It is also a leading provider of online Bible trivia games.

GodUpdates.com provides inspiring stories, thought-provoking articles and videos about topics important to Christians.

CrossCards®.com provides faith-based, inspirational e-greeting cards for all occasions.

ChristianHeadlines.com reports the news of importance to the Christian audience with a headlines blog, Christian worldview commentary, and features on events from the worldwide Christian Church.

LightSource.com provides on-demand, video streaming for nearly 85 Christian television programs from more than 70 ministry partners.

AllCreated.com offers recipes, clever life hacks, no-sense beauty tips and simple do-it-yourself projects for your home.

ChristianRadio.com directs visitors towards Christian Teaching Talk Stations and Christian Music Stations in their state from Salem Radio NetworkTM.

CCMmagazine.com provides information and insight on Christian music.

SingingNews®.com provides information on Southern Gospel artists, industry news, concerts, and more.

SouthernGospel.com features the latest in new music, news, stories, tours and features the most vibrant Southern Gospel community on the web.

Townhall Media—Conservative Opinion Websites:

Townhall.com® is an interactive community that brings users, conservative public policy organizations, congressional staff and political activists together under the broad umbrella of conservative thoughts, ideas and actions.

HotAir®.com is a leading news and commentary site with conservative news and opinions.

Twitchy®.com is a website featuring selected quotes and current events centered on U.S. politics, global news, sports, entertainment, media, and breaking news.

RedState®.com is a conservative, political news blog for right of center activists.

 

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Table of Contents

BearingArms.com is a clearinghouse for news and resources on Second Amendment issues, gun control, self-defense and firearms.

ConservativeRadio.com is a connection to the most informative, intelligent talk radio hosts, both national hosts and local hosts, from stations across the country.

pjmedia®.com is an integrated website that offers conservative news and commentary and is a reliable source for original, unique, and cutting-edge political news and analysis.

Salem Church Products Websites:

Salem Church Products websites offer resources for churches and ministries in the areas of church media, worship, children’s and youth ministry, preaching, teaching and employment. These websites include:

SermonSearch.com is a subscription-based resource for preachers and teachers with preparation materials like sermon outlines, illustrations, and preaching ideas from many of America’s top Christian communicators.

ChurchStaffing.com is a source of job search information for churches and ministries offering a platform for personnel and staff relations. This site allows those seeking employment to submit resumes and view job listings.

WorshipHouseMedia.com is an online church media resource, providing videos and other multi-media resources to churches to enhance worship and sermons.

SermonSpice®.com is an online provider of church media for local churches and ministries.

WorshipHouseKids.com provides children’s and family ministry videos and media to make children’s ministry fun, interactive and easy.

Preaching.com is a leading resource for pastors and church leaders that offers tools and ideas to help them lead well.

ChristianJobs.com provides services catering to the hiring needs of Christian-based businesses, nonprofit organizations, and ministries. The site connects these organizations with thousands of job seekers through its online presence and partnerships with Salem’s radio stations.

Youthworker.com offers a wealth of resources specifically for student ministries to help enhance teaching and worship.

Childrens-Ministry-Deals.com offers a variety of digital resources including videos, song tracks, sermon archives, job listings and Sunday school curriculum to pastors and Church leaders.

JourneyBoxMedia.com provides short films to churches to help them communicate the Gospel to their communities.

Playblackmedia.com offers motion backgrounds, stills and countdowns to help churches create a visual worship experience.

Hyperpixels.com offers instant downloads of high-quality church videos, church media, video sermon illustrations, worship backgrounds, and countdowns.

Digital Financial Websites and Publications

Our digital platform includes the following investing websites and publications:

Eagle Financial Publications—provides market analysis and investment strategies for individual subscribers to newsletters from a variety of investing commentators including Bob Carlson, Bryan Perry, Jim Woods, Hilary Kramer, Dr. Mark Skousen and Jon Johnson.

www.DividendInvestor.com—offers stock screening tools and dividend information for individual subscribers to obtain dividend information and data.

 

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Table of Contents

www.StockInvestor.com—provides market analysis and investment strategies, recommendations, and opinions for individuals interested in the stock market.

Digital Mobile Applications

Our digital mobile applications, available in iOS and/or Android platforms, provide another means by which our content is available to our audiences. Our mobile applications include the following:

 

   

Daily Bible Devotion

 

   

King James Bible

 

   

Daily Bible

 

   

Christian Radio

 

   

OnePlace®

 

   

Light Source

 

   

¡Citas y Mas Citas!

 

   

Bíblia Portuguese Bible

 

   

Bibliya Tagalog Bible

 

   

Japanese Bible

 

   

La Bibbia

 

   

La Biblia Reina Valera

 

   

Louis Segond French Bible

 

   

Luther Bible German

 

   

Spanish Bible Reina Valera

 

   

Vietnamese Bible

 

   

Vulgate Latin Bible

 

   

Twitchy®

 

   

HotAir®

 

   

Townhall®.com

 

   

Red State

 

   

Bible Study Tools

 

   

Bible Quotes

 

   

Bible Trivia

 

   

iBelieve

 

   

Bible Baseball Trivia

 

   

Christian Ecards

 

   

One Bible

 

   

Bible+1

 

   

Biblia

 

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Table of Contents

Publishing

Our publishing segment operates a distribution network targeting audiences interested in Christian and family-themed content as well as conservative news and opinion. We operate three businesses in our publishing segment.

Regnery® Publishing is a traditional book publisher that has published dozens of bestselling books by leading conservative, Christian and history authors and personalities. Books are sold in traditional printed form and as eBooks with the following categories:

 

   

Regnery History—Regnery History brings new light to old subjects and introduces stories that deserve attention but may have been ignored or even covered up in the past.

 

   

Regnery Kids—Regnery Kidsbooks are non-partisan, entertaining, and brilliantly written and illustrated by award-winning authors and artists.

 

   

Regnery Fiction—Regnery Fiction publishes exciting, thrilling stories with characters who embody American values and plots that explore controversial issues on the forefront of the American consciousness.

 

   

Gateway Editions—Regnery Gateway, dedicated to serious works of cultural, social, and political analysis, is a reaffirmation of Regnery’s tradition of publishing original and penetrating conservative thinkers.

 

   

Salem Books—Our goal is to help people grow in their faith, and find comfort, encouragement, practical advice, and timeless wisdom in compelling books by trusted authors.

Salem Author Services is a self-publishing service for authors through Xulon Press and Mill City Press. Xulon Press offers print-on-demand self-publishing services for Christian authors while Mill City Press serves most general market publications.

Singing News® produces and distributes a print magazine for readers interested in southern gospel music.

Competition

We operate in a highly competitive broadcast and media business. We compete for audiences, advertisers and programmers with other radio broadcasters, broadcast and cable television operators, newspapers and magazines, book publishers, national and local digital services, outdoor advertising, direct mail, online marketing and media companies, social media platforms, web-based blogs, and mobile devices.

BROADCASTING. Our broadcast audience ratings and market shares are subject to change, and any change in a particular market could adversely affect the revenue of our stations located in that market. While we already compete in some of our markets with stations that offer similar formats, if another radio station were to convert its programming to a format similar to one of ours, or if an existing competitor were to strengthen its operations, our stations could suffer reduced ratings and/or reduced revenue. In these circumstances, we could also incur significantly higher promotional and other related expenses. We cannot assure that our stations will maintain or increase their current audience ratings and revenue.

We compete for advertising revenue with other commercial religious format stations as well as general format radio stations. Our competition for advertising dollars includes other radio stations as well as digital websites and social media, broadcast television, cable television, newspapers, magazines, direct mail and billboard advertising, some of which may be controlled by horizontally integrated companies. Several factors can materially affect competitive advantage, including, but not limited to, audience ratings, program content, management talent and expertise, sales talent and experience, audience characteristics, signal strength, and the number and characteristics of other radio stations in the same market.

 

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Christian and Family-Themed Radio. The segment of this industry that focuses on Christian and family themes is also a highly competitive business. The financial success of each of our radio stations that focuses on Christian Teaching and Talk is dependent, to a significant degree, upon its ability to generate revenue from the sale of block program time to national and local religious and educational organizations. We compete for this program revenue with a number of different commercial and non-commercial radio station licensees. While we believe that no commercial group owner in the United States specializing in Christian and family-themed programming approaches Salem in size of potential listening audience and presence in major markets, other religious radio stations exist and enjoy varying degrees of prominence and success in each of our markets.

New Methods of Content Delivery. Competition also comes from new media technologies and services. These include delivery of audio programming by cable television and satellite systems, digital audio radio services, mobile devices including smart phone applications for iPhone® and Android®, personal communications services, social media, and the service of low powered, limited coverage FM radio stations authorized by the FCC. The delivery of live and stored audio programming through the Internet has also created new competition. In addition, satellite delivered digital audio radio, which delivers multiple audio programming formats to national audiences, has created competition. We have attempted to address these existing and potential competitive threats through a more active strategy to acquire and integrate new electronic communications formats including digital acquisitions, the launch of Salem Surround, and our exclusive arrangement to provide Christian and family-themed talk on SiriusXM, a satellite digital audio radio service.

NETWORK. SRNTM competes with other commercial radio networks that offer news and talk programming to religious and general format stations and noncommercial networks that offer Christian music formats. SRNTM also competes with other radio networks for the services of talk show personalities.

DIGITAL MEDIA. SWN and Townhall Media compete for visitors and advertisers with other companies that deliver online audio programming, that deliver Christian and conservative digital content, and providers of general market websites and social media. The online media and distribution business changes quickly and is highly competitive. We compete to attract and maintain interactions with advertisers, consumers, content creators and web publishers. Salem Church Products competes for customers with other online sites that offer resources useful in ministries, preaching, teaching and for employment within the Christian community.

PUBLISHING. Regnery® Publishing competes with other book publishers for readers and book sales as well as competes for product quality, customer service, suitability of format and subject matter, author reputation, price, timely availability of both new titles and revisions of existing books, digital availability of published products, and timely delivery of products to customers. Our print magazine competes for readers and advertisers with other print publications, including those geared toward Christian audiences. Salem Author Services competes for authors with other on-demand publishers including those focused exclusively on Christian book publishers.

Federal Regulation of Radio Broadcasting

Introduction. The ownership, operation and sale of broadcast stations, including those licensed to Salem, are subject to the jurisdiction of the FCC, which acts under authority derived from The Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder (the “Communications Act”). Among other things, the FCC assigns frequency bands for broadcasting; determines whether to approve certain changes in ownership or control of station licenses; regulates transmission facilities, including power employed, antenna and tower heights, and location of transmission facilities; adopts and implements regulations and policies that directly or indirectly affect the ownership, operation and employment practices of stations; and has the power to impose penalties for violations of its rules under the Communications Act.

 

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The following is a brief summary of certain provisions of the Communications Act and of specific FCC regulations and policies. Failure to observe these or other rules and policies can result in the imposition of various sanctions, including monetary forfeitures, the grant of “short” (less than the maximum) license renewal terms or, for particularly egregious violations, the denial of a license renewal application, the revocation of a license or the denial of FCC consent to acquire additional broadcast properties. For further information concerning the nature and extent of federal regulation of broadcast stations you should refer to the Communications Act, FCC rules and the public notices and rulings of the FCC.

License Grant and Renewal. Radio broadcast licenses are granted for maximum terms of eight years. Licenses must be renewed through an application to the FCC. Under the Communications Act, the FCC will renew a broadcast license if it finds that the station has served the public interest, convenience and necessity, that there have been no serious violations by the licensee of the Communications Act or the rules and regulations of the FCC, and that there have been no other violations by the licensee of the Communications Act or the rules and regulations of the FCC that, when taken together, would constitute a pattern of abuse.

From time to time, the renewal of certain licenses may be delayed. We continue to operate these radio stations under their existing licenses until the licenses are renewed. The affected stations are authorized to continue operations until the FCC acts upon the renewal applications. We continually monitor our stations’ compliance with the various regulatory requirements that are necessary for the FCC renewal. We are currently in the midst of the FCC’s radio renewal cycle, and license renewal applications for certain of our stations will be pending during the course of the renewal cycle. We expect all of our broadcast licenses to be renewed by its conclusion.

Petitions to deny license renewals can be filed by certain interested parties, including members of the public in a station’s market. Such petitions may raise various issues before the FCC. The FCC is required to hold hearings on renewal applications if the FCC is unable to determine that renewal of a license would serve the public interest, convenience and necessity, or if a petition to deny raises a “substantial and material question of fact” as to whether the grant of the renewal application would be prima facie inconsistent with the public interest, convenience and necessity. In addition, during certain periods when a renewal application is pending, the transferability of the applicant’s license is restricted.

The following table sets forth information with respect to each of our radio stations for which we hold the license. Stations that we operate under an LMA or TBA are not reflected on this table. A broadcast station’s market may be different from its community of license. The coverage of an AM radio station is chiefly a function of the power of the radio station’s transmitter, less dissipative power losses and any directional antenna adjustments. For FM radio stations, signal coverage area is chiefly a function of the Effective Radiated Power (“ERP”) of the radio station’s antenna and the Height Above Average Terrain (“HAAT”) of the radio station’s antenna.

 

Market (1)

  Station Call
Letters
  Frequency   Operating
Frequency
  Expiration
Date of
License
  FCC
Class
  Height Above
Average Terrain

(in feet)
 

Power

(in Kilowatts)
Day / Night

New York, NY   WMCA   AM   570   June 2022   B   n/a   5 / 5
  WNYM   AM   970   June 2022   B   n/a   50 / 5
Los Angeles, CA   KKLA   FM   99.5   December 2021   B   2,959   10
  KRLA   AM   870   December 2021   B   n/a   50 / 3
  KFSH   FM   95.9   December 2021   A   328   6
Chicago, IL   WYLL   AM   1160   December 2028   B   n/a   50 / 50
  WIND   AM   560   December 2028   B   n/a   5 / 5
San Francisco, CA   KFAX   AM   1100   December 2021   B   n/a   50 / 50
  KDOW   AM   1220   December 2021   D   n/a   5 / 0.145
  KTRB   AM   860   December 2021   B   n/a   50 / 50
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX   KLTY   FM   94.9   August 2021   C   1,667   100
  KWRD   FM   100.7   August 2021   C   1,988   98
  KSKY   AM   660   August 2021   B   n/a   20 / 0.7
  KTNO   AM   620   August 2021   B   n/a   5 / 4.5

 

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Market (1)

  Station Call
Letters
  Frequency   Operating
Frequency
  Expiration
Date of
License
  FCC
Class
  Height Above
Average Terrain

(in feet)
 

Power

(in Kilowatts)
Day / Night

Houston-Galveston, TX   KNTH   AM   1070   August 2021   B   n/a   10 / 5
  KKHT   FM   100.7   August 2021   C   1,952   100
Washington, D.C.   WAVA   FM   105.1   October 2027   B   604   33
  WAVA   AM   780   October 2019   D   n/a   12
  WWRC   AM   570   October 2027   B   n/a   5 / 1
Atlanta, GA   WNIV   AM   970   April 2028   D   n/a   5 / 0.039
  WLTA   AM   1400   April 2028   C   n/a   1 / 1
  WFSH   FM   104.7   April 2028   C1   1,657   24
  WGKA   AM   920   April 2028   B   n/a   14 / 0.49
  WDWD   AM   590   April 2028   B   n/a   12 / 4.5
Philadelphia, PA   WFIL   AM   560   August 2022   B   n/a   5 / 5
  WNTP   AM   990   August 2022   B   n/a   50 / 10
Boston, MA   WEZE   AM   590   April 2022   B   n/a   5 / 5
  WROL   AM   950   April 2022   D   n/a   5 / 0.09
Miami, FL   WKAT   AM   1450   February 2028   C   n/a   1 / 1
Seattle-Tacoma, WA   KGNW   AM   820   February 2022   B   n/a   50 / 5
  KLFE(1)   AM   1590   February 2022   B   n/a   20 / 5
  KNTS(1)   AM   1680   February 2022   B   n/a   10 / 1
Detroit, MI   WDTK   AM   1400   October 2028   C   n/a   1 / 1
  WLQV   AM   1500   October 2028   B   n/a   50 / 10
Phoenix, AZ   KKNT   AM   960   October 2021   B   n/a   5 / 5
  KPXQ   AM   1360   October 2021   B   n/a   50 / 1
  KXXT   AM   1010   October 2021   B   n/a   15 / 0.25
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN   KKMS   AM   980   April 2021   B   n/a   5 / 5
  KDIZ   AM   1570   April 2021   B   n/a   4.0 / 0.22
  WWTC   AM   1280   April 2021   B   n/a   10 / 15
  KYCR   AM   1440   April 2021   B   n/a   5 / 0.5
San Diego, CA   KPRZ   AM   1210   December 2021   B   n/a   20 / 10
  KCBQ   AM   1170   December 2021   B   n/a   50 / 2.9
Tampa, FL   WTWD   AM   910   February 2028   B   n/a   5 / 5
  WTBN   AM   570   February 2028   B   n/a   5 / 5
  WGUL   AM   860   February 2028   B   n/a   5 / 1.5
Denver-Boulder, CO   KRKS   FM   94.7   April 2021   C   984   100
  KRKS(1)   AM   990   April 2021   B   n/a   6.5 / 0.39
  KNUS   AM   710   April 2021   B   n/a   5 / 5
  KBJD(1)   AM   1650   April 2021   B   n/a   10 / 1
Portland, OR   KPDQ   FM   93.9   February 2022   C1   1,270   52
  KPDQ   AM   800   February 2022   B   n/a   1 / 0.5
  KFIS   FM   104.1   February 2022   C2   1266   6.9
  KRYP   FM   93.1   February 2022   C3   1,270   1.6
  KDZR   AM   1640   February 2022   B   n/a   10 / 1
  KPAM   AM   860   February 2022   B   n/a   50 / 15
San Antonio, TX   KSLR   AM   630   August 2021   B   n/a   5 / 4.3
  KLUP   AM   930   August 2021   B   n/a   5 / 1
Riverside-San Bernardino, CA   KTIE   AM   590   December 2021   B   n/a   2.5 / 0.96
Sacramento, CA   KFIA   AM   710   December 2021   B   n/a   25 / 1
  KTKZ   AM   1380   December 2021   B   n/a   5 / 5
  KSAC   FM   105.5   December 2021   B1   1,010   2.55
  KKFS   FM   103.9   December 2021   A   328   6

 

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Market (1)

  Station Call
Letters
  Frequency   Operating
Frequency
  Expiration
Date of
License
  FCC
Class
  Height Above
Average Terrain

(in feet)
 

Power

(in Kilowatts)
Day / Night

Pittsburgh, PA   WORD   FM   101.5   August 2022   B   535   43
  WPIT   AM   730   August 2022   D   n/a   5 / 0.024
  WPGP   AM   1250   August 2022   B   n/a   5 / 5
Orlando, FL   WORL   AM   950   February 2028   B   n/a   12 / 5
  WTLN   AM   990   February 2028   B   n/a   50 / 14
Cleveland, OH   WHKW   AM   1220   October 2028   B   n/a   50 / 50
  WFHM   FM   95.5   October 2028   B   620   31
  WHK   AM   1420   October 2028   B   n/a   5 / 5
Columbus, OH   WRFD   AM   880   October 2028   D   n/a   23
  WTOH   FM   98.9   October 2028   A   505   2.6
Nashville, TN   WBOZ   FM   104.9   August 2028   A   328   6
  WFFH   FM   94.1   August 2028   A   453   3.2
  WFFI   FM   93.7   August 2028   A   755   1.15
Louisville, KY   WFIA   FM   94.7   August 2028   A   394   3.3
  WGTK   AM   970   August 2028   B   n/a   5 / 5
  WFIA   AM   900   August 2028   D   n/a   0.93 / 0.162
Greenville, SC   WGTK   FM   94.5   December 2027   C   1,490   100
  WRTH   FM   103.3   December 2027   A   479   2.7
  WLTE   FM   95.9   December 2027   A   233   6
Honolulu, HI   KAIM   FM   95.5   February 2022   C   1,854   100
  KGU   AM   760   February 2022   B   n/a   10 / 10
  KHCM   AM   880   February 2022   B   n/a   2 / 2
  KHCM   FM   97.5   February 2022   C1   46   80
  KGU   FM   99.5   February 2022   C   1,965   100
  KKOL   FM   107.9   February 2022   C   1,965   100
  KHNR   AM   690   February 2022   B   n/a   10 / 10
Sarasota-Bradenton, FL   WLSS   AM   930   February 2028   B   n/a   5 / 3
Little Rock, AR   KDIS   FM   99.5   June 2028   A   312   6
  KKSP   FM   93.3   June 2028   C3   699   22
  KDXE   FM   101.1   June 2028   A   876   0.85
  KZTS   AM   1380   June 2028   B   n/a   5 / 2.5
Colorado Springs, CO   KGFT   FM   100.7   April 2021   C   2,218   78
  KBIQ   FM   102.7   April 2021   C   2,280   72
  KZNT   AM   1460   April 2021   B   n/a   5 / 0.5
Oxnard-Ventura, CA   KDAR   FM   98.3   December 2021   B1   1,289   1.5
Warrenton, Virginia   WRCW   AM   1250   October 2027   D   n/a   3 / 0.125

 

(1)

Radio station KNTS-AM is an expanded band station paired with station KLFE-AM in the Seattle, WA market, and station KBJD-AM is an expanded band station paired with KRKS-AM in the Denver, CO market. We are operating these four stations pursuant to FCC licenses or other FCC authority pending resolution by the FCC of the issue of AM expanded band dual operating authority. Depending upon how the FCC resolves that issue, it is possible that we will be required to surrender one station license in each station pair. Except for these stations, we are not currently aware of any facts that would prevent the timely renewal of our licenses to operate our radio stations, although there can be no assurance that our licenses will be renewed.

 

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The following table sets forth information with respect to each of our radio stations FM translators for which we are the licensee and/or operate:

 

Market

 

Station Call Letters

  Operating
Frequency
   Expiration
Date of
License
   FCC
Class
   Height
Above
Average

Terrain
(in feet)
   Power (in
Kilowatts)
Day
   Power (in
Kilowatts)
Night
Boston   W262CV (WROL)   100.3    4/1/2022    D    164    0.25    0.25
Cleveland   W245CY (WHKW)   96.9    10/1/2028    D    520    0.005    0.005
Cleveland   W273DG (WHK)   102.5    10/1/2028    D    520    0.005    0.005
Colorado Springs   K266CK (KZNT)   101.1    4/1/2021    D    -191    0.099    0.099
Columbus   W240CX (WTOH)   95.9    10/1/2028    D    505    0.99    0.525
Columbus   W283CL (WRFD)   104.5    10/1/2028    D    545    0.25    0.25
Dallas-Ft. Worth   K273BJ (KLTY-FM)   102.5    8/1/2021    D    434    0.25    0.25
Detroit   W224CC (WLQV)   92.7    10/1/2028    D    924    0.099    0.099
Detroit   W268CN (WDTK)   101.5    10/1/2028    D    914    0.099    0.099
Greenville   W245CH (WGTK-FM)   96.9    12/1/2027(1)    D    1,364    0.25    0.25
Greenville   W275BJ (WGTK-FM)   102.9    12/1/2027(1)    D    1,390    0.25    0.25
Honolulu   K232FL (KHNR)   94.3    2/1/2022    D    204    0.25    0.25
Honolulu   K236CR (KGU-AM)   95.1    2/1/2022    D    204    0.25    0.25
Houston   K277DE (KNTH)   103.3    8/1/2021    D    514    0.25    0.25
Little Rock   K288EZ (KZTS)   105.5    6/1/2028    D    332    0.25    0.25
Little Rock   K277DP (KZTS)   103.3    6/0/2028    D    323    0.25    0.25
Louisville   W297BV (WFIA)   107.3    8/1/2028    D    286    0.25    0.25
Louisville   W228EO (WGTK)   93.5    9/9/2022    D    191    0.099    0.099
Miami   W270CV (WKAT)   101.9    2/1/2028(1)    D    531    0.25    0.25
Minneapolis   K298CO (WWTC)   107.5    4/1/2021    D    176    0.25    0.25
New York   W272DX (WMCA)   102.3    6/1/2022    D    357    0.25    0.25
Orlando   W268CT (WTLN)   101.5    2/1/2028(1)    D    323    0.25    0.25
Orlando   W235CR (WORL)   94.9    2/1/2028(1)    D    434    0.225    0.225
Pittsburgh   W223CS (WPGP)   92.5    8/1/2022    D    455    0.11    0.11
Pittsburgh   W243BW (WPIT)   96.5    8/1/2022    D    466    0.25    0.25
Portland   K292HH (KPDQ)   106.3    2/1/2022    D    1,150    0.099    0.099
Sacramento   K289CT (KFIA)   105.7    12/1/2021    D    291    0.25    0.25
San Diego   K241CT (KCBQ)   96.1    12/1/2021    D    826    0.25    0.25
San Diego   K291CR (KPRZ)   106.1    12/1/2021    D    820    0.25    0.25
San Francisco   K237GZ (KDOW)   95.3    12/1/2021    D    1,263    0.04    0.04
Seattle   K281CQ (KGNW)   104.1    2/1/2022    D    1,248    0.099    0.099
Tampa   W271CY (WTWD)   102.1    2/1/2028(1)    D    271    0.125    0.125
Tampa   W229DJ (WGUL)   93.7    2/1/2028(1)    D    272    0.099    0.099
Tampa/Sarasota   W229BR (WLSS)   93.7    2/1/2028(1)    D    212    0.099    0.099
Tampa/Sarasota   W262CP (WTBN)   100.3    2/1/2028(1)    D    1,074    0.25    0.25
Washington DC   W244EB (WAVA)   96.7    4/10/2021    D    641    0.15    0.15

 

(1)

FCC Renewal pending

Ownership Matters. The Communications Act prohibits the assignment of a broadcast license or the transfer of control of a broadcast license without the prior approval of the FCC. In determining whether to assign, transfer, grant or renew a broadcast license, the FCC considers a number of factors pertaining to the licensee, including compliance with various rules limiting common ownership of media properties, the “character” of the licensee and those persons holding “attributable” interests therein, and compliance with the Communications Act’s limitation on alien ownership, as well as compliance with other FCC policies, including equal employment opportunity requirements.

 

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FCC rules and policies define the interests of individuals and entities, known as “attributable” interests, which implicate FCC rules governing ownership of broadcast stations. and other specified mass media entities. Under these rules, attributable interests generally include: (1) officers and directors of a licensee and of its direct and indirect parents; (2) general partners; (3) limited partners and limited liability company members, unless properly “insulated” from management activities; (4) a 5% or more direct or indirect voting stock interest in a corporate licensee or parent, except that, for a narrowly defined class of passive investors, the attribution threshold is a 20% or more voting stock interest; and (5) combined equity and debt interests in excess of 33% of a licensee’s total asset value, if the interest holder provides over 15% of the licensee station’s total weekly programming, or has an attributable same-service (radio or television) broadcast or newspaper interest in the same market (the “EDP Rule”). An entity that owns one or more radio stations in a market and programs more than 15% of the broadcast time or sells more than 15% per week of the advertising time on a radio station in the same market is generally deemed to have an attributable interest in that station. Debt instruments, non-voting corporate stock, minority voting stock interests in corporations having a single majority stockholder, and properly insulated limited partnership and limited liability company interests generally are not subject to attribution unless such interests implicate the EDP Rule.

The FCC ownership rules relevant to our business are summarized below. Because of these rules, a purchaser of voting stock of the company that acquires an “attributable” interest in the company may violate the FCC’s rule if it also has an attributable interest in another radio station, depending on the number and location of those radio stations. Such a purchaser also may be restricted in the other companies in which it may invest, to the extent that these investments give rise to an attributable interest. If an attributable stockholder of the company violates any of these ownership rules, the company may be unable to obtain from the FCC one or more authorizations needed to conduct its radio station business and may be unable to obtain FCC consents for certain future acquisitions.

Foreign Ownership: Under the Communications Act, a broadcast license may not be granted to or held by a corporation that has more than one-fifth of its capital stock owned or voted by aliens or their representatives, by foreign governments or their representatives, or by non-U.S. corporations. Under the Communications Act, there are limitations on the licensee of a broadcast license, that is held by any corporation that is controlled, directly or indirectly, by any other corporation more than one-fourth of whose capital stock is owned or voted by aliens or their representatives, by foreign governments or their representatives, or by non-U.S. corporations. These restrictions apply in modified form to other forms of business organizations, including partnerships. We therefore may be restricted from having more than one-fourth of our stock owned or voted by aliens, foreign governments or non-U.S. corporations, although the FCC will entertain and authorize, on a case-by-case basis and upon a sufficient public interest showing, proposals to exceed the 25% indirect foreign ownership limit in broadcasting holding companies. The FCC generally will not make such a determination absent favorable executive branch review.

Local Radio Ownership: The maximum allowable number of radio stations that may be commonly owned in a market is based on the size of the market. In markets with 45 or more stations, one entity may have an attributable interest in up to eight stations, of which no more than five are in the same radio service (AM or FM). In markets with 30-44 stations, one entity may have an attributable interest in up to seven stations, of which no more than four are in the same service. In markets with 15-29 stations, one entity may have an attributable interest in up to six stations, of which no more than four are in the same service. In markets with 14 or fewer stations, one entity may have an attributable interest in up to five stations, of which no more than three are in the same service, so long as the entity does not have an interest in more than 50% of all stations in the market. To apply these ownership tiers, the FCC relies on Nielsen Metro Survey Areas, where they exist, and a signal contour-overlap methodology where they do not exist. An FCC rulemaking is pending to determine how to define radio markets for stations located outside Nielsen Metro Survey Areas.

The FCC also restricts the number of television stations an entity may own both in local markets and nationwide.

 

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Table of Contents

Our current ownership of radio broadcast stations complies with the FCC’s multiple ownership rules; however, these rules may limit the number of additional stations that we may acquire in the future in certain of our markets.

Cross-Ownership: The newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule prohibits an individual or entity from having an attributable interest in either a radio or television station and a daily newspaper located in the same market, subject to certain exceptions and with waivers available in particular cases. The radio/television cross-ownership rule limits common ownership of television stations and same market radio stations. In general, an individual or entity may hold attributable interests in one television station and up to seven same-market radio stations (or two television stations and up to six same-market radio stations), depending on the number of independently owned radio, television and other specified media “voices” in the market.

Review of Media Ownership Rules: The FCC is required by statute to review all of its broadcast ownership rules on a quadrennial basis (i.e., every four years) and to repeal or modify any of its rules that are no longer “necessary in the public interest.” Despite several such reviews and appellate remands, the FCC’s rules limiting the number of radio stations that may be commonly owned in a local market have remained largely intact since their initial adoption following the 1996 Act. The FCC’s previous ownership reviews have been subject to litigation.

In November 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a decision that resulted in reinstatement of the cross-ownership rules, which the FCC had previously eliminated. The Supreme Court of the United States granted petitions for certiorari seeking review of the Third Circuit decision and heard argument on January 19, 2021. The case remains pending. The FCC initiated its 2018 quadrennial review in December 2018 and that proceeding remains pending. Among other things, the FCC is seeking comment on all aspects of the local radio ownership rule’s implementation and whether the current version of the rule remains necessary in the public interest. We cannot predict whether the appeal or forthcoming review proceeding will result in modifications of the ownership rules or the impact (if any) that such modifications would have on our business.

Federal Antitrust Considerations. The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), which evaluate transactions to determine whether those transactions should be challenged under the federal antitrust laws, are also active in their review of radio station acquisitions, particularly where an operator proposes to acquire additional stations in its existing markets.

For an acquisition meeting certain size thresholds, the Hart-Scott-Rodino Improvements Act (“HSR Act”) and the rules promulgated thereunder require the parties to file Notification and Report Forms with the FTC and the DOJ and to observe specified waiting period requirements before consummating the acquisition. At any time before or after the consummation of a proposed acquisition, the FTC or the DOJ could take such action under the antitrust laws, as it deems necessary or desirable in the public interest, including seeking to enjoin the acquisition or seeking divestiture of the business acquired or other assets of the company. The FTC or the DOJ may investigate acquisitions that are not required to be reported under the HSR Act under the antitrust laws before or after consummation. In addition, private parties may under certain circumstances bring legal action to challenge an acquisition under the antitrust laws. The DOJ also has stated publicly that it believes that LMAs and other similar agreements customarily entered into in connection with radio station transfers prior to the expiration of the waiting period under the HSR Act could violate the HSR Act.

We can provide no assurances that our acquisition strategy will not be adversely affected in any material respect by antitrust reviews.

Geographic Financial Information

Our customers are based in various locations throughout the United States. While no one customer currently accounts for 10% or more of our total revenue individually or in the aggregate, our broadcast operating segment is particularly dependent on revenue generated from our Los Angeles and Dallas broadcast markets. Our Los

 

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Table of Contents

Angeles radio stations generated 10.6% of our total net broadcasting revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020 and 11.6% of our total net broadcasting revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019. Our Dallas radio stations generated 9.3% of our total net broadcasting revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020 and 10.1% of our total net broadcasting revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Because substantial portions of our broadcast revenue is derived from our Los Angeles and Dallas markets, our ability to generate revenue in those markets could be adversely affected by local or regional economic downturns in these areas.

Available Information

Our Internet address is www.salemmedia.com. We make available free of charge on our investor relations website under the heading “SEC Filings” our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act. These reports are available as soon as reasonably practical after we electronically file them or furnish them to the SEC. Any information found on our website is not a part of or incorporated by reference into, this or any other report of the company filed with, or furnished to, the SEC.

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS.

Not required for smaller reporting companies.

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.

None.

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES.

We own or lease various properties throughout the United States from which we conduct business. No one physical property is material to our overall business operations. We believe that each of our properties are in good condition and suitable for our operations; however, we continually evaluate opportunities to upgrade our properties. We believe that we will be able to renew existing leases when applicable or obtain comparable facilities, as necessary.

Executive Offices

Our executive offices are located in Irving, Texas, where we own an approximately 43,000 square foot office building.

Broadcasting

Our broadcast facilities include offices and studios, transmitter locations, antenna sites and tower sites. Offices and studios are typically located in buildings that are in a downtown or business district. Transmitter, antenna and tower sites are located in areas that provide maximum market coverage. Our radio stations broadcast from 89 tower sites, including 44 tower sites in which we own the land.

SRNTM, SMR , Salem Consumer Products, our Dallas radio stations studios and offices, and our executive offices are located in the Dallas, Texas metropolitan area. We also own office buildings in Honolulu, Hawaii; Tampa, Florida; Orlando, Florida and Greenville, South Carolina from which our radio stations studios and offices operate. Our national radio network operates from various offices and studios. These studios may be used to generate programming or programming can also be relayed from a remote point of origination. Our network also leases satellite transponders used in the delivery of its programming.

Our current lease agreements range from four months to twenty-eight years remaining on the lease term. We lease certain property from our principal stockholders or trusts and partnerships created for the benefit of the principal stockholders and their families. These leases are described in Note 17, Related Party Transactions in the notes to our Consolidated Financial Statements contained in Item 8 of this annual report.

 

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Table of Contents

While none of our owned or leased properties is individually material to our operations, if we were required to relocate any of our broadcast towers, the cost would be significant. Significant costs are due to the moving and reconstruction of the tower as well as the limited number of sites in any geographic area that permit a tower of reasonable height to provide adequate market coverage. These limitations are due to zoning and other land use restrictions, as well as Federal Aviation Administration and FCC regulations.

Digital Media

Our digital media entities operate from office buildings and require additional data storage centers. SWN operates from leased office facilities in Richmond, Virginia and Nashville, Tennessee. Townhall Media operates from a leased facility in Arlington, Virginia that is shared with our radio stations and Eagle Financial Publications. Our current lease agreements range from one to six years remaining on the lease term.

Publishing

Regnery® Publishing operates from a leased facility in Washington, D.C. with inventory fulfillment managed by a third-party in Delran, New Jersey. Salem Author Services operates from a leased facility in Orlando, Florida. Singing News® operates from a leased facility in Nashville, Tennessee that is shared with our broadcasting operations in that market. Our current lease agreements range from two to three years remaining on the lease term.

Corporate

Certain corporate administrative functions are performed in Camarillo, California where we own an approximately 46,000 square foot office building.

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

We and our subsidiaries, incident to our business activities, are parties to a number of legal proceedings, lawsuits, arbitration and other claims. Such matters are subject to many uncertainties and outcomes that are not predictable with assurance. We maintain insurance that may provide coverage for such matters. Consequently, we are unable to ascertain the ultimate aggregate amount of monetary liability or the financial impact with respect to these matters. We believe, at this time, that the final resolution of these matters, individually and in the aggregate, will not adversely affect upon our annual consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

ITEM 4. MINE AND SAFETY DISCLOSURES.

Not Applicable.

 

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Table of Contents

PART II

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.

Our Class A common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Market® (“NASDAQ-NGM”) under the symbol SALM. On February 10, 2021, we had approximately 51 stockholders of record (not including the number of persons or entities holding stock in nominee or street name through various brokerage firms) and 21,129,667 outstanding shares of Class A common stock and two stockholders of record and 5,553,696 outstanding shares of Class B common stock. The following table sets forth for the fiscal quarters indicated the range of high and low sale price information per share of the Class A common stock of the company as reported on the NASDAQ-NGM.

 

     2019      2020  
     1st Qtr      2nd Qtr      3rd Qtr      4th Qtr      1st Qtr      2nd Qtr      3rd Qtr      4th Qtr  

High (mid-day)

   $ 3.26      $ 2.67      $ 2.50      $ 1.70      $ 1.74      $ 2.62      $ 2.46      $ 1.25  

Low (mid-day)

   $ 2.08      $ 1.85      $ 1.48      $ 1.35      $ 0.65      $ 0.69      $ 0.85      $ 0.78  

There is no established public trading market for the company’s Class B common stock.

DIVIDEND POLICY

Our dividend policy is based upon our Board of Directors’ current assessment of our business and the environment in which we operate. The actual declaration of any future equity distributions and the establishment of the per share amount, record dates, and payment dates are subject to final determination by our Board and dependent upon future earnings, cash flows, financial and legal requirements, and other factors. The reduction or elimination of equity distributions may negatively affect the market price of our common stock.

On May 6, 2020 our Board voted to discontinue distributions on our common stock indefinitely due to the adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our financial position, results of operations, and cash flows.

The following table shows the equity distributions that have been declared and paid to all stockholders of record of our Class A and Class B common stock during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.

 

Announcement Date

  

Record Date

  

Payment Date

  

Amount Per Share

  

Cash Distributed

(in thousands)

March 10, 2020    March 24, 2020    March 31, 2020    $ 0.0250    $ 667
December 10, 2019    December 23, 2019    December 30, 2019    $ 0.0250    $ 667
September 11, 2019    September 23, 2019    September 30, 2019    $ 0.0650    $ 1,730
May 14, 2019    June 14, 2019    June 28, 2019    $ 0.0650    $ 1,728
March 7, 2019    March 19, 2019    March 29, 2019    $ 0.0650    $ 1,702

Our sole source of cash available for making any future equity distributions is our operating cash flow subject to our 6.75% Notes and ABL Facility, which contain covenants that restrict the payment of dividends and equity distributions unless certain specified conditions are satisfied.

UNREGISTERED SALES OF EQUITY SECURITIES AND USE OF PROCEEDS

None.

ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.

Not required for smaller reporting companies.

 

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ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.

General

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes included elsewhere in this annual report. Our Consolidated Financial Statements are not directly comparable from period to period due to acquisitions and dispositions. Refer to Note 3 of our Consolidated Financial Statements under Item 8 of this annual report for details of each of these transactions. We have elected the presentation requirements under Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act as a smaller reporting company and have herein included a two-year discussion of our financial condition and results of operations.

Historical operating results are not necessarily indicative of future operating results. Actual future results may differ from those contained in or implied by the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors. These factors include, but are not limited to:

 

   

the coronavirus COVID-19 (“COVID-19”) that is adversely impacting our business,

 

   

risks and uncertainties relating to the need for additional funds to service our debt,

 

   

risks and uncertainties relating to the need for additional funds to execute our business strategy,

 

   

our ability to access borrowings under our Asset Based Loan (“ABL Facility”),

 

   

reductions in revenue forecasts,

 

   

our ability to renew our broadcast licenses,

 

   

changes in interest rates,

 

   

the timing of our ability to complete any acquisitions or dispositions,

 

   

costs and synergies resulting from the integration of any completed acquisitions,

 

   

our ability to effectively manage costs,

 

   

our ability to drive and manage growth,

 

   

the popularity of radio as a broadcasting and advertising medium,

 

   

changes in consumer tastes,

 

   

the impact of general economic conditions in the United States or in specific markets in which we do business,

 

   

industry conditions, including existing competition and future competitive technologies,

 

   

disruptions or postponements of advertising schedules and programming in response to national or world events,

 

   

our ability to generate revenue from new sources, including local commerce and technology-based initiatives, and

 

   

the impact of regulatory rules or proceedings that may affect our business from time to time, and the future write-off of any material portion of the fair value of our FCC broadcast licenses and goodwill.

Overview

Salem Media Group, Inc. (“Salem” “we” “us” “our” and “its”) is a domestic multimedia company specializing in Christian and conservative content, with media properties comprising radio broadcasting, digital media, and publishing. Our content is intended for audiences interested in Christian and family-themed programming and

 

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conservative news talk. We maintain a website at www.salemmedia.com. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and any amendments to these reports are available free of charge through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after those reports are electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. The information on our website is not a part of or incorporated by reference into this or any other report of the company filed with, or furnished to, the SEC.

We have three operating segments: (1) Broadcast, (2) Digital Media, and (3) Publishing, which also qualify as reportable segments. Our operating segments reflect how our chief operating decision makers, which we define as a collective group of senior executives, assess the performance of each operating segment and determine the appropriate allocations of resources to each segment. We continually review our operating segment classifications to align with operational changes in our business and may make changes as necessary.

We measure and evaluate our operating segments based on operating income and operating expenses that exclude costs related to corporate functions, such as accounting and finance, human resources, legal, tax and treasury. We also exclude costs such as amortization, depreciation, taxes and interest expense when evaluating the performance of our operating segments.

Our principal sources of broadcast revenue include:

 

   

the sale of block program time to national and local program producers;

 

   

the sale of advertising time on our radio stations to national and local advertisers;

 

   

the sale of banner advertisements on our station websites or on our mobile applications;

 

   

the sale of digital streaming advertisements on our station websites or on our mobile applications;

 

   

the sale of advertisements included in digital newsletters;

 

   

fees earned for the creation of custom web pages and custom digital media campaigns for our advertisers through Salem Surround;

 

   

the sale of advertising time on our national network;

 

   

the syndication of programming on our national network;

 

   

product sales and royalties for on-air host materials, including podcasts and programs; and

 

   

other revenue such as events, including ticket sales and sponsorships, listener purchase programs, where revenue is generated from special discounts and incentives offered to our listeners from our advertisers; talent fees for voice-overs or custom endorsements from our on-air personalities and production services, and lease income for studios, towers or office space.

Our principal sources of digital media revenue include:

 

   

the sale of digital banner advertisements on our websites and mobile applications;

 

   

the sale of digital streaming advertisements on websites and mobile applications;

 

   

the support and promotion to stream third-party content on our websites;

 

   

the sale of advertisements included in digital newsletters;

 

   

the digital delivery of newsletters to subscribers; and

 

   

the number of video and graphic downloads.

Our principal sources of publishing revenue include:

 

   

the sale of books and e-books;

 

   

publishing fees from authors;

 

   

the sale of digital advertising on our magazine websites and digital newsletters;

 

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subscription fees for our print magazine; and

 

   

the sale of print magazine advertising.

In each of our operating segments, the rates we can charge for airtime, advertising and other products and services are dependent upon several factors, including:

 

   

audience share;

 

   

how well our programs and advertisements perform for our clients;

 

   

the size of the market and audience reached;

 

   

the number of impressions delivered;

 

   

the number of advertisements and programs streamed;

 

   

the number of page views achieved;

 

   

the number of downloads completed;

 

   

the number of events held, the number of event sponsorships sold and the attendance at each event;

 

   

demand for books and publications;

 

   

general economic conditions; and

 

   

supply and demand for airtime on a local and national level.

Broadcasting

Our foundational business is radio broadcasting, which includes the ownership and operation of radio stations in large metropolitan markets, our national networks and our national sales firms including Salem Surround. Refer to Item 1. Business of this annual report for a description of our broadcasting operations.

Revenue generated from our radio stations, networks and sales firms is reported as broadcast revenue in our Consolidated Financial Statements included in Item 8 of this annual report. Advertising revenue is recorded on a gross basis unless an agency represents the advertiser, in which case, revenue is reported net of the commission retained by the agency.

Broadcast revenue is impacted by the rates radio stations can charge for programming and advertising time, the level of airtime sold to programmers and advertisers, the number of impressions delivered or downloads made, and the number of events held, including the size of the event and the number of attendees. Block programming rates are based upon our stations’ ability to attract audiences that will support the program producers through contributions and purchases of their products. Advertising rates are based upon the demand for advertising time, which in turn is based on our stations and networks’ ability to produce results for their advertisers. We market ourselves to advertisers based on the responsiveness of our audiences. We do not subscribe to traditional audience measuring services for most of our radio stations. In select markets, we subscribe to Nielsen Audio, which develops monthly reports measuring a radio station’s audience share in the demographic groups targeted by advertisers. Each of our radio stations and our networks has a pre-determined level of time available for block programming and/or advertising, which may vary at different times of the day.

Nielsen Audio uses the Portable People Meter TM (“PPM) technology to collect data for its ratings service. PPM is a small device that is capable of automatically measuring radio, television, Internet, satellite radio and satellite television signals encoded by the broadcaster. The PPM offers a number of advantages over traditional diary ratings collection systems, including ease of use, more reliable ratings data, shorter time periods between when

 

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advertising runs and actual listening data, and little manipulation of data by users. A disadvantage of the PPM includes data fluctuations from changes to the “panel” (a group of individuals holding PPM devices). This makes all stations susceptible to some inconsistencies in ratings that may or may not accurately reflect the actual number of listeners at any given time. We subscribe to Nielsen Audio for ratings services in 7 of our broadcast markets.

Our results are subject to seasonal fluctuations. As is typical in the broadcasting industry, our second and fourth quarter advertising revenue typically exceeds our first and third quarter advertising revenue. Seasonal fluctuations in advertising revenue correspond with quarterly fluctuations in the retail industry. Additionally, we experience increased demand for political advertising during election, or even numbered years, over non-election or odd numbered years. Political advertising revenue varies based on the number and type of candidates as well as the number and type of debated issues.

Our cash flows from broadcasting are affected by transitional periods experienced by radio stations when, based on the nature of the radio station, our plans for the market and other circumstances, we find it beneficial to change the station format. During this transitional period, when we develop a radio station’s listener and customer base, the station may generate negative or insignificant cash flow.

In broadcasting, trade or barter agreements are commonly used to reduce cash expenses by exchanging advertising time for goods or services. We may enter barter agreements to exchange airtime or digital advertising for goods or services that can be used in our business or that can be sold to our audience under Listener Purchase Programs. The terms of these barter agreements permit us to preempt the barter airtime or digital campaign in favor of customers who purchase the airtime or digital campaign for cash. The value of these non-cash exchanges is included in revenue in an amount equal to the fair value of the goods or services we receive. Each transaction must be reviewed to determine that the products, supplies and/or services we receive have economic substance, or value to us. We record barter operating expenses upon receipt and usage of the products, supplies and services, as applicable. We record barter revenue as advertising spots or digital campaigns are delivered, which represents the point in time that control is transferred to the customer thereby completing our performance obligation. Barter revenue is recorded on a gross basis unless an agency represents the programmer, in which case, revenue is reported net of the commission retained by the agency. During each of the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, 98% and 97%, respectively, of our broadcast revenue was sold for cash.

Broadcast operating expenses include: (i) employee salaries, commissions and related employee benefits and taxes, (ii) facility expenses such as lease expense and utilities, (iii) marketing and promotional expenses, (iv) production and programming expenses, and (v) music license fees. In addition to these expenses, our network incurs programming costs and lease expenses for satellite communication facilities.

Digital Media

Our digital media based businesses provide Christian, conservative, investing, e-commerce, audio and video streaming, and other resources digitally through the web. Refer to Item 1. Business of this annual report for a description of each of our digital media websites and operations.

Revenue generated from this segment is reported as digital media revenue in our Consolidated Statements of Operations included in this annual report. Digital media revenue is impacted by the rates our sites can charge for advertising time, the level of advertisements sold, the number of impressions delivered or the number of products sold and the number of digital subscriptions sold. Like our broadcasting segment, our second and fourth quarter advertising revenue generally exceeds our first and third quarter advertising revenue. This seasonal fluctuation in advertising revenue corresponds with quarterly fluctuations in the retail advertising industry. We also experience fluctuations in quarter-over-quarter comparisons based on the date on which Easter is observed, as this holiday generates a higher volume of product downloads from our church product websites. Additionally, we experience increased demand for advertising time and placement during election years for political advertisements.

 

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The primary operating expenses incurred by our digital media businesses include: (i) employee salaries, commissions and related employee benefits and taxes, (ii) facility expenses such as lease expense and utilities, (iii) marketing and promotional expenses, (iv) royalties, (v) streaming costs, and (vi) cost of goods sold associated with e-commerce sites.

Publishing

Our publishing operations include book publishing through Regnery® Publishing, self-publishing services through Salem Author Services and Singing News Magazine. Refer to Item 1. Business of this annual report for a description of each of our publishing operations.

Revenue generated from this segment is reported as publishing revenue in our Consolidated Statements of Operations included in this annual report. Publishing revenue is impacted by the retail price of books and e-books, the number of books sold, the number and retail price of e-books sold, the number and rate of print magazine subscriptions sold, the rate and number of pages of advertisements sold in each print magazine, and the number and rate at which self-published books are published. Regnery® Publishing revenue is impacted by elections as it generates higher levels of interest and demand for publications containing conservative and political based opinions.

The primary operating expenses incurred by our publishing businesses include: (i) employee salaries, commissions and related employee benefits and taxes, (ii) facility expenses such as lease expense and utilities, (iii) marketing and promotional expenses; and (iv) cost of goods sold that includes printing and production costs, fulfillment costs, author royalties and inventory reserves.

Known Trends and Uncertainties

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a global pandemic. The responses by federal, state and local governments to restrict public gatherings and travel rapidly grew to include stay-at-home orders, school closures and mandatory restrictions on non-essential businesses and services that has adversely affected workforces, certain economies, and financial markets resulting in a significant economic downturn. We experienced declining revenue from advertising, programming, events and book sales. Several advertisers reduced or ceased advertising spend due to the outbreak and stay-at-home orders that effectively shut many businesses down. This was particularly true within our broadcast segment, which derives substantial revenue from local advertisers who have been particularly hard hit due to social distancing and government interventions and in our publishing segment that sells books in retail stores and through live events.

While this disruption is expected to be temporary, there remains to be considerable uncertainty around the duration. Although advertising revenue continues to improve from the lowest levels experienced during April and May of 2020, it remains significantly below prior years. The exact timing and pace of the recovery has not been determinable as certain markets have reopened, some of which have since experienced a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, resulting in varying degrees of reinstated stay-at-home orders. Due to continuing uncertainties regarding the ultimate scope and trajectory of COVID-19’s spread and evolution, it is impossible to predict the total impact that the pandemic will have on our business. If public and private entities continue to enforce restrictive measures, the material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows could persist. Our businesses could also continue to be impacted by the disruptions from COVID-19 and resulting adverse changes in advertising customers and consumer behavior.

Future availability under our credit facility is contingent upon our eligible receivable balance, which is negatively impacted by lower revenue and longer days to collect. Availability under our ABL Facility is subject to a borrowing base consisting of (a) 90% of the eligible accounts receivable plus (b) a calculated amount based on the value of certain real property. The maximum amount available under our ABL Facility declined to $24.2 million at December 31, 2020 from $26.4 million at December 31, 2019, of which $5.0 million was outstanding at December 31, 2020 compared to $12.4 million outstanding at December 31, 2019.

 

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The growth of broadcast revenue associated with the sale of airtime remains challenged. We believe this is due to increased competition from other forms of content distribution and the length of time spent listening to audio streaming services, podcasts and satellite radio. Increases in competition and the mix in listening time may lead advertisers to conclude that the effectiveness of radio has diminished. To minimize the impact of these factors, we continue to enhance our digital assets to complement our broadcast content. The increase use of voice activated platforms, or smart speakers, that provide audiences with the ability to access AM and FM radio stations show increased potential for broadcasters to reach audiences.

Our broadcast revenue is particularly dependent on advertising from our Los Angeles and Dallas markets, which generated 10.6% and 9.3% respectively, of our total net broadcast revenue during the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 11.6% and 10.1%, respectively, of our total net broadcast revenue during the same period of the prior year.

Revenue from print magazines, including advertising revenue and subscription revenue, is challenged due to lower demand from the audiences that increasingly use other mediums that deliver comparable information. Book sales are contingent upon overall economic conditions and our ability to attract and retain authors. Decreases in digital revenue could adversely affect our operating results, financial condition and results of operations. Digital revenue is impacted by the nature and delivery of page views and the number of advertisements per page. We have experienced a shift in the number of page views from desktop devices to mobile devices. While mobile page views have increased dramatically, they carry a lower number of advertisements per page and are generally sold at lower rates. A shift from desktop page views to mobile device views negatively impacts revenue as mobile devices carry lower rates and less advertisement per page. To minimize the impact that any one of these areas could have, we continue to explore opportunities to cross-promote our brands and our content, and to strategically monitor costs.

Key Financial Performance Indicators—Same-Station Definition

In the discussion of our results of operations below, we compare our broadcast operating results between periods on an as-reported basis, which includes the operating results of all radio stations and networks owned or operated at any time during either period and on a Same Station basis. Same Station is a Non-GAAP financial measure used both in presenting our results to stockholders and the investment community as well as in our internal evaluations and management of the business. We believe that Same Station Operating Income provides a meaningful comparison of period over period performance of our core broadcast operations as this measure excludes the impact of new stations, the impact of stations we no longer own or operate, and the impact of stations operating under a new programming format. Our presentation of Same Station Operating Income is not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the most directly comparable financial measures reported in accordance with GAAP. Refer to “NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES” below for definitions and a reconciliation of these non-GAAP performance measures to the most comparable GAAP measures.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Management uses certain non-GAAP financial measures defined below in communications with investors, analysts, rating agencies, banks and others to assist such parties in understanding the impact of various items on our financial statements. We use these non-GAAP financial measures to evaluate financial results, develop budgets, manage expenditures and as a measure of performance under compensation programs.

Our presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered as a substitute for or superior to the most directly comparable financial measures as reported in accordance with GAAP.

Item 10(e) of Regulation S-K defines and prescribes the conditions under which certain non-GAAP financial information may be presented in this annual report. We closely monitor EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, Station Operating Income (“SOI”), Same Station net broadcast revenue, Same Station broadcast operating expenses,

 

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Same Station Operating Income, Digital Media Operating Income, and Publishing Operating Income, all of which are non-GAAP financial measures. We believe that these non-GAAP financial measures provide useful information about our core operating results, and thus, are appropriate to enhance the overall understanding of our financial performance. These non-GAAP financial measures are intended to provide management and investors a more complete understanding of our underlying operational results, trends and performance.

The performance of a radio broadcasting company is customarily measured by the ability of its stations to generate SOI. We define SOI as net broadcast revenue less broadcast operating expenses. Accordingly, changes in net broadcast revenue and broadcast operating expenses, as explained above, have a direct impact on changes in SOI. SOI is not a measure of performance calculated in accordance with GAAP. SOI should be viewed as a supplement to and not a substitute for our results of operations presented on the basis of GAAP. We believe that SOI is a useful non-GAAP financial measure to investors when considered in conjunction with operating income (the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures to SOI), because it is generally recognized by the radio broadcasting industry as a tool in measuring performance and in applying valuation methodologies for companies in the media, entertainment and communications industries. SOI is commonly used by investors and analysts who report on the industry to provide comparisons between broadcasting groups. We use SOI as one of the key measures of operating efficiency and profitability, including our internal reviews for potential impairment of indefinite-lived intangible assets and our internal reviews to approve capital expenditures. SOI does not purport to represent cash provided by operating activities. Our statement of cash flows presents our cash activity in accordance with GAAP and our income statement presents our financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP. Our definition of SOI is not necessarily comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies.

We define Same Station net broadcast revenue as net broadcast revenue from our radio stations and networks that we own or operate in the same format on the first and last day of each quarter, as well as the corresponding quarter of the prior year. We define Same Station broadcast operating expenses as broadcast operating expenses from our radio stations and networks that we own or operate in the same format on the first and last day of each quarter, as well as the corresponding quarter of the prior year. Same Station Operating Income includes those stations we own or operate in the same format on the first and last day of each quarter, as well as the corresponding quarter of the prior year. Same Station Operating Income for a full calendar year is calculated as the sum of the Same Station-results for each of the four quarters of that year. We use Same Station Operating Income, a non-GAAP financial measure, both in presenting our results to stockholders and the investment community, and in our internal evaluations and management of the business. We believe that Same Station Operating Income provides a meaningful comparison of period over period performance of our core broadcast operations as this measure excludes the impact of new stations, the impact of stations we no longer own or operate, and the impact of stations operating under a new programming format. Our presentation of Same Station Operating Income is not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the most directly comparable financial measures reported in accordance with GAAP. Our definition of Same Station net broadcast revenue, Same Station broadcast operating expenses and Same Station Operating Income is not necessarily comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies.

We apply a similar methodology to our digital media and publishing group. Digital Media Operating Income is defined as net digital media revenue less digital media operating expenses. Publishing Operating Loss is defined as net publishing revenue less publishing operating expenses. Digital Media Operating Income and Publishing Operating Income are not measures of performance in accordance with GAAP. Our presentations of these non-GAAP financial performance measures are not to be considered a substitute for or superior to our operating results reported in accordance with GAAP. We believe that Digital Media Operating Income and Publishing Operating Income are useful non-GAAP financial measures to investors, when considered in conjunction with operating income (the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure), because they are comparable to those used to measure performance of our broadcasting entities. We use this analysis as one of the key measures of operating efficiency, profitability and in our internal reviews for impairment of indefinite-lived intangible assets and our internal reviews to approve capital expenditures. This measurement does not purport to represent cash

 

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provided by operating activities. Our statement of cash flows presents our cash activity in accordance with GAAP and our income statement presents our financial performance in accordance with GAAP. Our definitions of Digital Media Operating Income and Publishing Operating Loss are not necessarily comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies.

We define EBITDA as net income before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. We define Adjusted EBITDA as EBITDA before gains or losses on the disposition of assets, before changes in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration, before gains on bargain purchases, before the change in fair value of interest rate swaps, before impairments, before net miscellaneous income and expenses, before loss on early retirement of debt, before (gain) loss from discontinued operations and before non-cash compensation expense. EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are commonly used by the broadcast and media industry as important measures of performance and are used by investors and analysts who report on the industry to provide meaningful comparisons between broadcasters. EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are not measures of liquidity or of performance in accordance with GAAP and should be viewed as a supplement to and not a substitute for or superior to our results of operations and financial condition presented in accordance with GAAP. Our definitions of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are not necessarily comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies.

For all non-GAAP financial measures, investors should consider the limitations associated with these metrics, including the potential lack of comparability of these measures from one company to another.

Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures:

In the tables below, we present a reconciliation of net broadcast revenue, the most comparable GAAP measure, to Same Station net broadcast revenue, and broadcast operating expenses, the most comparable GAAP measure to Same Station broadcast operating expense. We show our calculation of SOI and Same Station Operating Income, which is reconciled from net income, the most comparable GAAP measure in the table following our calculation of Digital Media Operating Income and Publishing Operating Loss. Our presentation of these non-GAAP measures are not to be considered a substitute for or superior to the most directly comparable measures reported in accordance with GAAP.

In the table below, we present our calculations of Station Operating Income, Digital Media Operating Income and Publishing Operating Income. Our presentation of these non-GAAP performance indicators are not to be considered a substitute for or superior to the directly comparable measures reported in accordance with GAAP.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019      2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)  

Net broadcast revenue

   $ 193,339      $ 178,127  

Less broadcast operating expenses

     (149,439      (140,942
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Station Operating Income

   $ 43,900      $ 37,185  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net digital media revenue

   $ 39,165      $ 39,593  

Less digital media operating expenses

     (30,801      (31,725
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Digital Media Operating Income

   $ 8,364      $ 7,868  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net publishing revenue

   $ 21,394      $ 18,519  

Less publishing operating expenses

     (22,348      (21,950
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Publishing Operating Loss

   $ (954)      $ (3,431)  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

In the table below, we present a reconciliation of net income (loss), the most directly comparable GAAP measure to Station Operating Income, Digital Media Operating Income and Publishing Operating Loss. Our presentation

 

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of these non-GAAP performance indicators are not to be considered a substitute for or superior to the most directly comparable measures reported in accordance with GAAP.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
           2019                  2020        
     (Dollars in thousands)  

Net loss

   $ (27,839    $ (54,062

Plus provision for income taxes

     3,977        30,274  

Plus net miscellaneous (income) and expenses

     (163      9  

Plus (gain) loss on early retirement of long-term debt

     (1,670      (49

Plus interest expense, net of capitalized interest

     17,496        16,075  

Less interest income

     (2      (1
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net operating loss

   $ (8,201    $ (7,754
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Plus net (gain) loss on the disposition of assets

     22,326        1,575  

Plus impairment of indefinite-lived long-term assets other than goodwill

     2,925        17,254  

Plus impairment of goodwill

     2,427        307  

Plus change in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration

     (41      (12

Plus depreciation and amortization

     15,934        14,058  

Plus unallocated corporate expenses

     15,940        16,194  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Combined Station Operating Income, Digital Media Operating Income and Publishing Operating Loss

   $ 51,310      $ 41,622  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Station Operating Income

   $ 43,900      $ 37,185  

Digital Media Operating Income

     8,364        7,868  

Publishing Operating Loss

     (954      (3,431
  

 

 

    

 

 

 
   $ 51,310      $ 41,622  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

In the table below, we present a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to EBITDA to Net Loss, the most directly comparable GAAP measure. EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are non-GAAP financial performance measures that are not to be considered a substitute for or superior to the most directly comparable measures reported in accordance with GAAP.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
           2019                  2020        
     (Dollars in thousands)  

Net loss

   $ (27,839    $ (54,062

Plus interest expense, net of capitalized interest

     17,496        16,075  

Plus provision for income taxes

     3,977        30,274  

Plus depreciation and amortization

     15,934        14,058  

Less interest income

     (2      (1
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

EBITDA

   $ 9,566      $ 6,344  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Plus net (gain) loss on the disposition of assets

     22,326        1,575  

Plus change in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration

     (41      (12

Plus impairment of indefinite-lived long-term assets other than goodwill

     2,925        17,254  

Plus impairment of goodwill

     2,427        307  

Plus net miscellaneous (income) and expenses

     (163      9  

Plus (gain) on early retirement of long-term debt

     (1,670      (49

Plus non-cash stock-based compensation

     1,460        345  

Plus ASC 842 lease adoption

     171        —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA

   $ 37,001      $ 25,773  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Year Ended December 31, 2020 compared to the year ended December 31, 2019

The following factors affected our results of operations and cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2020 as compared to the prior year:

Financing

During the year ended December 31, 2020, we completed repurchases of $3.5 million of the Notes for $3.4 million in cash, recognizing a net gain of $49,000 after adjusting for bond issuance costs compared to repurchases of compared to repurchases of $18.7 million of the Notes for $16.8 million in cash, recognizing a net gain of $1.7 million after adjusting for bond issuance costs during the prior year as detailed in Note 13—Long-Term Debt in the notes to our Consolidated Financial Statements contained in Item 8 of this annual report.

Equity Transactions

Distributions of $0.7 million ($0.025 per share) were declared and paid in March 2020 compared to distributions of $5.8 million ($0.025 per share) during the prior year as detailed in Note 19—Equity Transactions in the notes to our Consolidated Financial Statements contained in Item 8 of this annual report.

Acquisitions and Divestitures

The operating results of our business acquisitions and asset purchases are included in our consolidated results of operations from their respective closing date or the date that we began operating them under an LMA or TBA. The operating results of business and asset divestitures are excluded from our consolidated results of operations from their respective closing date or the date that a third-party began operating them under an LMA or TBA.

 

   

On September 15, 2020, we acquired the Hyper Pixels Media website and related assets for $1.1 million in cash. We paid $0.4 million in cash upon closing with deferred payments of $0.4 million due January 31, 2021 and $0.3 million due September 15, 2021.

 

   

On April 6, 2020, we sold radio station WBZW-AM and an FM translator construction permit in Orlando, Florida, for $0.2 million in cash.

 

   

On November 14, 2019, we sold nine radio stations, WAFS-AM in Atlanta, Georgia, WWDJ-AM in Boston, Massachusetts, WHKZ-AM in Cleveland, Ohio, KEXB-AM (formerly KTNO-AM) in Dallas, Texas, KDMT-AM in Denver, Colorado, KTEK-AM in Houston, Texas, KRDY-AM in San Antonio, Texas and KXFN-AM and WSDZ-AM in St. Louis, Missouri for $8.7 million in cash.

 

   

On September 27, 2019, we exchanged radio station KKOL-AM, in Seattle, Washington for KPAM-AM in Portland, Oregon. No cash was exchanged for the assets.

 

   

On September 26, 2019, we sold four radio stations, WWMI-AM and WLCC-AM in Tampa, Florida and WZAB-AM and WOCN-AM (formerly WKAT-AM) in Miami, Florida for $8.2 million in cash.

 

   

On September 18, 2019, we sold radio station WDYZ-AM (formerly WORL-AM) in Orlando, Florida for $0.9 million in cash.

 

   

On August 15, 2019 we exchanged FM Translator W276CR, in Bradenton, FL for FM Translator W262CP in Bayonet Point, FL. No cash was exchanged for the assets.

 

   

On July 25, 2019, we acquired the Journeyboxmedia.com website and related assets for $0.5 million in cash.

 

   

On July 10, 2019 we acquired certain assets including a digital content library from Steelehouse Productions, Inc. for $0.1 million in cash.

 

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On June 27, 2019, we sold a portion of land on our transmitter site in Miami, Florida, for $0.9 million in cash.

 

   

On June 6, 2019, we acquired InvestmentHouse.com website and related financial newsletter assets for $0.6 million in cash.

 

   

On May 14, 2019, we sold radio station WSPZ-AM (previously WWRC-AM) in Washington D.C. for $0.8 million in cash. The buyer began programming the station on April 12, 2019 under a TBA.

 

   

On March 21, 2019, we sold Newport Natural Health for $0.9 million in cash.

 

   

On March 18, 2019, we acquired the pjmedia.com website for $0.1 million in cash.

 

   

On February 28, 2019, we sold Mike Turner’s line of investment products, including TurnerTrends.com and other domain names and related assets.

 

   

On February 27, 2019, we sold HumanEvents.com, for $0.3 million in cash.

Net Broadcast Revenue

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019      2020      Change $     Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)           % of Total Net Revenue  

Net Broadcast Revenue

   $ 193,339      $ 178,127      $ (15,212     (7.9 )%      76.1     75.4

Same Station Net Broadcast Revenue

   $ 186,395      $ 175,388      $ (11,007     (5.9 )%     

The following table shows the dollar amount and percentage of net broadcast revenue for each broadcast revenue source.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)  

Block Programming:

          

National

   $ 48,465        25.0   $ 47,009        26.4

Local

     30,502        15.8       24,267        13.6  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 
     78,967        40.8       71,276        40.0  

Broadcast Advertising:

          

National

     16,352        8.5       15,288        8.6  

Local

     51,824        26.8       39,407        22.1  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 
     68,176        35.3       54,695        30.7  

Station Digital (local)

     14,892        7.7       24,527        13.8  

Infomercials

     1,409        0.7       974        0.5  

Network

     19,078        9.9       19,371        10.9  

Other Revenue

     10,817        5.6       7,284        4.1  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net Broadcast Revenue

   $ 193,339        100.0   $ 178,127        100.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Block programming revenue declined by $7.7 million, including a $6.2 million decline in local programming revenue and a $1.5 million decline in national programming revenue. The decline includes $2.7 million of revenue generated in 2019 from stations sold during that year, of which $2.3 million was local programming and $0.4 million was national programming. Additionally, approximately $1.2 million of the decline was due to local sports programming that was cancelled during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and $0.4 million from early payments discounts offered to a limited number of national programmers during 2020. The remainder of the decline was due to certain programmers discontinuing their ministry efforts and an increase in competition from other broadcasters and from podcasts that resulted in a lower number of programs and lower rates.

 

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Advertising revenue, net of agency commissions, declined by $13.5 million, $15.9 million net of political, due to a $13.3 million decline in local advertising net of political and a $2.6 million decline in national advertising revenue net of political. Local advertising, net of political, declined by $5.6 million on our Contemporary Christian Music format radio stations, $3.0 million on our Christian Teaching and Talk format radio stations, $2.4 million on our News Talk format radio stations, and $2.1 million on other format stations. These declines were due to lower spot rates charged to compete with other broadcasters, primarily in the Dallas, Atlanta and Los Angeles markets, where competition for advertising buys was strong. An additional $1.4 million of the decline resulted from stations sold during 2019. The remainder of the decline was attributable to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with many advertisers reducing or ceasing to advertise due to stay-at-home orders and limited capacity orders that temporarily closed their businesses.

Station digital revenue, or local digital revenue generated from our radio stations and networks, increased by $9.6 million due to the growth of digital product offerings through Salem Surround, our national multimedia digital advertising agency providing digital marketing services to our customers. Our product offerings include social media campaigns, search engine optimization, retargeted advertising and other services intended to increase our market share as advertising dollars shift away from pure broadcast to include digital and digital technologies. In addition, we recently launched SalemNOW, an on-demand pay-per-view video steaming platform that contributed $4.4 million of the $9.6 million growth in revenue. There were no significant changes in digital rates as compared to the prior year.

Declines in infomercial revenue were due to a reduction in the number of infomercials aired with no significant changes in rates as compared to the prior year. The placement of infomercials can vary significantly from one period to another due to the number of time slots available and the degree to which the infomercial content is considered to be of interest to our audience.

Network revenue, net of digital, increased by $0.3 million due to a $1.7 million decline in national advertising revenue offset by a $2.0 million increase in political advertising.

Other revenue declined by $3.5 million due to a $2.7 million decrease in event revenue from the cancellation of live events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a $0.7 million decrease in listener purchase program revenue from lower listener participation. Event revenue varies from period to period based on the nature and timing of events, audience demand, and in some cases, the weather, which can affect attendance. We began offering virtual events during 2020 that may continue as conditions warrant.

On a Same Station basis, net broadcast revenue decreased $11.0 million, which reflects these items net of the impact of stations acquired, disposed of, or with format changes.

Net Digital Media Revenue

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019      2020      Change $      Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)            % of Total Net Revenue  

Net Digital Media Revenue

   $ 39,165      $ 39,593      $ 428        1.1     15.4     16.8

 

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The following table shows the dollar amount and percentage of national net digital media revenue, or revenue generated from our websites and digital subscriptions, for each digital media revenue source.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)  

Digital Advertising, net

   $ 20,454        52.2   $ 20,644        52.1

Digital Streaming

     3,873        10.0       3,446        8.7  

Digital Subscriptions

     8,044        20.5       9,208        23.3  

Digital Downloads

     5,694        14.5       5,904        14.9  

e-commerce

     480        1.2       140        0.4  

Other Revenue

     620        1.6       251        0.6  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net Digital Media Revenue

   $ 39,165        100.0   $ 39,593        100.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

National digital advertising revenue, net of agency commissions, increased by $0.2 million including a $1.4 million increase from conservative opinion websites within Townhall Media and a $0.1 million increase from Eagle Financial Publications that was offset with a $1.3 million decline from SWN. The net increase from Townhall Media includes $0.6 million from our March 2019 acquisition of pjmedia.com and increases from political elections and national events. Declines in national digital advertising from SWN are attributable to a loss of advertisers who moved advertising spending to digital programmatic advertisers, such as Facebook and Google, and to a loss of advertisers who reduced or eliminated advertising. We continue to acquire, develop and promote the use of mobile applications, particularly for our Christian mobile applications, to reduce our dependency on page views from digital programmatic advertisers. Because mobile page views carry fewer advertisements and tend to have shorter site visits as compared to desktop, our growth in mobile page views exceeds our growth in revenue from the mobile applications.

Digital streaming revenue decreased $0.4 million based on lower demand for content available from our Christian websites. There were no significant changes in sales volume or rates as compared to the prior year.

Digital subscription revenue increased $1.2 million, including a $1.0 million increase from Townhall VIP, a new subscription service from Townhall Media, $0.2 million from InvesmentHouse.com that was acquired in June 2019, and a $0.2 million net increase in the number of subscribers to newsletters from Eagle Financial Publications, offset by a $0.2 million decrease from Christianjobs.com and Churchstaffing.com within SWN.

Digital download revenue increased by $0.2 million from our church product websites, WorshipHouseMedia.com and SermonSpiceTM.com. There were no significant changes in rates as compared to the prior year.

E-commerce revenue decreased by $0.3 million including a $0.4 million decrease from the sale of Newport Natural Health on March 21, 2019 that was offset with a $0.1 million increase from Eagle Financial Publications. There were no significant changes in rates as compared to the prior year.

Other revenue includes revenue sharing arrangements for mobile applications and mail list rentals. We recognized revenue of $0.2 million in 2019 related to transfer services provided to the buyer of Newport Natural Health. There were no changes in volume or rates as compared to the prior year.

Net Publishing Revenue

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019      2020      Change $     Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)           % of Total Net Revenue  

Net Publishing Revenue

   $ 21,394      $ 18,519      $ (2,875     (13.4 )%      8.4     7.8

 

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The following table shows the dollar amount and percentage of net publishing revenue for each publishing revenue source.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)  

Book Sales

   $ 17,418        81.4   $ 13,707        74.0

Estimated Sales Returns & Allowances

     (5,739      (26.8     (4,479      (24.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net Book Sales

     11,679        54.6       9,228        49.8  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

E-Book Sales

     1,428        6.7       1,605        8.7  

Self-Publishing Fees

     5,474        25.6       5,424        29.3  

Print Magazine Subscriptions

     763        3.6       680        3.7  

Print Magazine Advertisements

     609        2.8       353        1.9  

Digital Advertising

     405        1.9       415        2.2  

Other Revenue

     1,036        4.8       814        4.4  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net Publishing Revenue

   $ 21,394        100.0   $ 18,519        100.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net book sales declined by $2.5 million due to a lower volume of sales from Regnery® Publishing and Salem Author Services. Regnery® Publishing book sales reflect an 2% decrease in the average price per unit sold and a 22% decrease in volume due to a majority of book stores in the country being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Amazon’s decision to prioritize the shipment of essential products over the shipment of books. Revenue from book sales through Regnery® Publishing are directly attributable to the number of titles released each period and the composite mix of titles available. Revenue varies significantly from period to period based on the book release date and the number of titles that achieve placement on bestseller lists, which can increase awareness and demand for the book. The decrease of $1.3 million to the estimated sales returns and allowances reflects the lower number of print books sold through Regnery® Publishing. The decline in book sales from Salem Author Services was due to authors choosing not to buy books because they could not be promoted at live events. There were no significant changes in sale prices as compared to the prior year.

Regnery® Publishing e-book sales increased by $0.2 million with a 12% decrease in sales volume offset by a 27% increase in the average price per unit sold from sales incentives. E-book sales can also vary based on the composite mix of titles released and available in each period. Revenue varies significantly based on the book release date and the number of titles that achieve placement on bestseller lists, which can increase awareness and demand for the book.

Self-publishing fees decreased $0.4 million due a decline in the number of authors with rates charged that were comparable to the prior year.

Declines in print magazine subscription revenue and advertising revenue reflect lower consumer demand and distribution levels. There were no significant changes in rates over the prior year.

Digital adverting revenue from Regnery® Publishing websites was consistent with the prior year with no changes in volume or rates.

Other revenue includes change fees, video trailers, and subright revenue for foreign translation and audio books for original published titles from Regnery® Publishing. Subright revenue declined $0.2 million due to lower demand.

 

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Broadcast Operating Expenses

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019      2020      Change $     Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)           % of Total Net Revenue  

Broadcast Operating Expenses

   $ 149,439      $ 140,942      $ (8,497     (5.7 )%      58.9     59.7

Same Station Broadcast Operating Expenses

   $ 141,189      $ 137,774      $ (3,415     (2.4 )%     

Broadcast operating expenses decreased by $8.5 million including $11.0 million from cost reduction initiatives and $5.1 million from stations sold during 2019 that were offset by a $7.5 million increase in costs from Salem Surround and SalemNOW. We implemented several cost cutting measures in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in a $3.4 million reduction in employee-related costs from temporary pay cuts, layoffs and furloughs, a $2.2 million decline in event costs, a $2.0 million decline in advertising, a $1.1 million decline in travel and entertainment, and a $0.3 million decline in lease expense. The decrease also reflects a $3.4 million decline in commissions consistent with lower revenue, a $0.4 million decline in non-cash stock-based compensation associated with restricted stock awards, and a $0.3 million decline in music license fees that was partially offset by a $1.3 million increase in bad debt expense, including an additional reserve of $1.1 million recorded at March 31, 2020 due to the impact on collections of the economic uncertainties from the COVID-19 pandemic, a $0.5 million increase in legal fees and a $0.5 million increase in insurance and software maintenance fees.

On a same-station basis, broadcast operating expenses decreased by $3.4 million. The decrease in broadcast operating expenses on a Same Station basis reflects the above described items net of the impact of start-up costs associated with station acquisitions, format changes and station dispositions.

Digital Media Operating Expenses

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019      2020      Change $      Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)            % of Total Net Revenue  

Digital Media Operating Expenses

   $ 30,801      $ 31,725      $ 924        3.0     12.1     13.4

The net increase in digital media operating expenses of $0.9 million includes a $0.7 million increase in professional services, a $0.4 million increase in cost of sales, a $0.3 million increase in commissions, a $0.3 million increase in software maintenance fees, a $0.1 million increase in royalties, a $0.1 million increase in advertising and promotional expenses and a $0.1 million increase in bad debt expense, offset by a $0.7 million decrease in support and streaming fees from vendor concessions, a $0.4 million decrease in employee-related expenses due to temporary pay cuts. The increases in advertising and promotion reflect start-up costs from the launch of Townhall VIP, a premium subscription service.

Publishing Operating Expenses

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019      2020      Change $     Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)           % of Total Net Revenue  

Publishing Operating Expenses

   $ 22,348      $ 21,950      $ (398     (1.8 )%      8.8     9.3

Publishing operating expenses decreased by $0.4 million, including a $0.9 million decrease in payroll-related costs and a $1.4 million decrease in the cost of goods sold that included a $0.7 million decrease from print books sold by Regnery® Publishing, a $0.6 million decline from Salem Author Services due to a lower volume of book sales and a $0.1 million decrease from Salem Publishing, a $0.1 million decrease in advertising and promotion

 

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expenses and a $0.1 million decrease in facility costs, that was offset by a $1.0 million increase in royalty expense reflecting an increase in the reserve for royalty advances based on lower sales, a $0.8 million increase in bad debt expense and a $0.3 million increase in professional services. The gross profit margin for Regnery® Publishing was 44% for the year ended December 31, 2020 as compared to 58% for the same period of the prior year as sales volume decreased greater than material costs savings. Regnery® Publishing margins vary based on the volume of e-book sales, which have higher margins due to the nature of delivery and no reserve for sales returns and allowances. The gross profit margin for Salem Author Services improved to 72% from 68% due to lower paper costs for print book sales.

Unallocated Corporate Expenses

 

     Year Ended December 31,    

 

 
     2019      2020      Change $      Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)            % of Total Net Revenue  

Unallocated Corporate Expenses

   $ 15,940      $ 16,194      $ 254        1.6     6.3     6.9

Unallocated corporate expenses include shared services, such as accounting and finance, human resources, legal, tax and treasury, that are not directly attributable to any one of our operating segments. The net increase of $0.3 million includes a $0.7 million increase in costs to surrender split dollar life insurance, a $0.2 million increase in office and computer maintenance due to a ransomware attack, a $0.1 million increase in professional services and a $0.1 million increase in facility costs that were offset by a $0.7 million decrease in non-cash stock-based compensation and a $0.1 million decrease in payroll-related expenses due to company-wide implementation of pay cuts.

Depreciation Expense

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019      2020      Change $     Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)           % of Total Net Revenue  

Depreciation Expense

   $ 11,297      $ 10,777      $ (520     (4.6 )%      4.4     4.6

The decrease in depreciation expense reflects the impact station assets sold during 2019 and the impact of reduced capital expenditures during 2020 and a reduction in acquisition activity. There were no changes in our depreciation methods or in the estimated useful lives of our asset groups.

Amortization Expense

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019      2020      Change $     Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)           % of Total Net Revenue  

Amortization Expense

   $ 4,637      $ 3,281      $ (1,356     (29.2 )%      1.8     1.4

The decrease in amortization expense reflects the impact of fully amortized domain names, customer lists and contracts, and subscriber base lists that were fully amortized at or near the beginning of the 2020 calendar year resulting in lower amortization expense for this year. There were no changes in our amortization methods or the estimated useful lives of our intangible asset groups.

 

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Change in the Estimated Fair Value of Contingent Earn-Out Consideration

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019     2020     Change $      Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)            % of Total Net Revenue  

Change in the Estimated Fair Value of Contingent Earn-Out Consideration

   $ (41   $ (12   $ 29        (70.7 )%         

Acquisitions may include contingent earn-out consideration as part of the purchase price under which we will make future payments to the seller upon the achievement of certain benchmarks. We review the probabilities of possible future payments to estimate the fair value of any contingent earn-out consideration on a quarterly basis over the earn-out period. Actual results are compared to the estimates and probabilities of achievement used in our forecasts. Should actual results of the acquired business increase or decrease as compared to our estimates and assumptions, the estimated fair value of the contingent earn-out consideration liability will increase or decrease, up to the contracted limit, as applicable. Changes in the estimated fair value of the contingent earn-out consideration may materially impact and cause volatility in our operating results.

At December 31, 2020, no estimated contingent earn-out consideration was outstanding compared to $19,000 at December 31, 2019. We recorded a net decrease to our estimated contingent earn-out liabilities of $12,000 for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to a net decrease of $41,000 during the prior year. Changes in our estimates of the contingent earn-out reflect the volatility of projected revenue growth, page views and session time. We made $7,000 in cash payments for contingent earn-out consideration during the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to no cash payments made in the prior year.

Impairment of Indefinite-Lived Long-Term Assets Other Than Goodwill

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019      2020      Change $      Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)            % of Total Net Revenue  

Impairment of Indefinite-Lived Long-Term Assets Other Than Goodwill

   $ 2,925      $ 17,254      $ 14,329        489.9     1.2     7.3

We performed an interim review of broadcast licenses for certain markets during the three months ended March 31, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting stay-at-home orders that began to adversely impact revenue. We engaged an independent third-party appraisal and valuation firm to assist us with determining the fair value of our broadcast licenses. Based on our interim review and analysis, we recorded an impairment charge of $17.0 million to the value of broadcast licenses in Chicago, Cleveland, Louisville, Philadelphia, Portland, Sacramento and Tampa. We also recorded an impairment charge of $0.3 million to the value of mastheads. These impairments were driven by decreases in projected revenue due to the current estimated impact of COVID-19 and an increase in the WACC. We believe that these factors are indicative of trends in the industry as a whole and not unique to our company or operations.

The impairment charge of $2.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 includes a $1.9 million impairment to broadcast licenses in our Louisville, Philadelphia, Portland and San Francisco markets recorded during interim testing in September 2019 based on market revenue that was trending below the forecasted amounts that were used in our 2018 year-end valuations, a $1.0 million impairment to broadcast licenses in our Tampa market recognized during annual testing in the fourth quarter of 2019 and a $17,300 impairment of mastheads recognized during our annual testing in the fourth quarter of 2019. These impairment charges were driven by decreases in the projected long-term revenue growth rates for the broadcast and publishing industries. We believe that these decreases are indicative of trends in the industry as a whole and are not unique to our company or operations.

 

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Impairment of Goodwill

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019      2020      Change $     Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)           % of Total Net Revenue  

Impairment of Goodwill

   $ 2,427      $ 307      $ (2,120     (87.4 )%      1.0     0.1

We performed an interim review of goodwill for impairment during the three months ended March 31, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting stay-at-home orders that began to adversely impact revenue. We engaged an independent third-party appraisal and valuation firm to assist us with determining the enterprise value for certain entities. Based on our interim review and analysis we recorded an impairment charge of $0.3 million. These impairments were driven by decreases in projected revenue due to the current estimated impact of COVID-19 and an increase in the WACC. We believe that these factors are indicative of trends in the industry as a whole and not unique to our company or operations.

During our annual testing in the fourth quarter of 2019, we identified operating losses within Eagle Financial Publications and Salem Author Services that indicated that the value of goodwill may be impaired. We engaged an independent third-party appraisal and valuation firm to assist us with determining the enterprise value. Based on this review and analysis, we recorded an impairment charge of $2.1 million associated with the value of goodwill for Eagle Financial Publications and $0.3 million to the value of goodwill with Salem Author Services.

We believe that these decreases are indicative of trends in the industry as a whole and are not unique to our company or operations.

Net (Gain) Loss on the Disposition of Assets

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019      2020      Change $     Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)           % of Total Net Revenue  

Net (Gain) Loss on the Disposition of Assets

   $ 22,326      $ 1,575      $ (20,751     (92.9 )%      8.8     0.7

The net loss on the disposition of assets of $1.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 includes a $1.4 million estimated pre-tax loss for associated with plans to exit the Miami broadcast market with the pending sale of radio station WKAT-AM and various other fixed asset disposals.

The net loss on the disposition of assets of $22.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 includes a $9.4 million pre-tax loss from the sale of nine radio stations, WAFS-AM in Atlanta, Georgia, WWDJ-AM in Boston, Massachusetts, WHKZ-AM in Cleveland, Ohio, KEXB-AM (formerly KTNO-AM) in Dallas, Texas, KDMT-AM in Denver, Colorado, KTEK-AM in Houston, Texas, KRDY-AM in San Antonio, Texas and KXFN-AM and WSDZ-AM in St. Louis, Missouri, a $4.7 million pre-tax loss from the sale of four radio stations WWMI-AM and WLCC-AM in Tampa, Florida and WZAB-AM and WOCN-AM (formerly WKAT-AM) in Miami, Florida, a $3.8 million pre-tax loss on the sale of radio station WSPZ-AM in Washington, D.C., a $1.6 million pre-tax loss from the sale of radio station WDYZ-AM (formerly WORL-AM) in Orlando, Florida, a $1.3 million pre-tax loss on the exchange of radio station KKOL-AM in Seattle, Washington for KPAM-AM in Portland, Oregon, a $0.2 million pre-tax loss on the sale Mike Turner’s line of investment products, a $0.2 million pre-tax loss on the sale of HumanEvents.com, and a $1.5 million estimated pre-tax loss on the pending sale of radio station WBZW-AM in Orlando, Florida, that was partially offset by a $0.4 million pre-tax gain on the sale of a portion of land on our transmitter site in Miami, Florida and a $0.1 million pre-tax gain on the sale of Newport Natural Health.

 

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Other Income (Expense)

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019     2020     Change $     Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)           % of Total Net Revenue  

Interest Income

   $ 2     $ 1     $ (1     (50.0 )%         

Interest Expense

     (17,496     (16,075     1,421       (8.1 )%      (6.9 )%      (6.8 )% 

Gain on Early Retirement of Long-Term Debt

     1,670       49       (1,621     (97.1 )%      0.7    

Net Miscellaneous Income and (Expenses)

     163       (9     (172     (105.5 )%      0.1    

Interest income represents earnings on excess cash and interest due under promissory notes.

Interest expense includes interest due on outstanding debt balances, and non-cash accretion associated with deferred installments and contingent earn-out consideration from certain acquisitions. The decrease of $1.4 million reflects the lower outstanding balance of the Notes, the outstanding balance of the ABL Facility with variable interest rates ranging from 2.0% to 3.0% during 2020 compared to 3.8% to 4.5% during the prior year, and finance lease obligations outstanding during the year ended December 31, 2020.

The gain on the early retirement of long-term debt reflects $3.5 million of repurchases of the Notes at prices below face value resulting in a pre-tax gain of $49,000 for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $18.7 million of repurchases of the Notes at prices below face value resulting in a pre-tax gain of $1.7 million for the prior year.

Net miscellaneous income and expenses includes miscellaneous receipts such as usage fees for real estate properties and miscellaneous expenses. During the year ended December 31, 2019, we received $0.1 million in insurance proceeds associated with water damage to one of our radio stations in Los Angeles, California.

Provision for Income Taxes

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019      2020      Change $      Change %     2019     2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)            % of Total Net Revenue  

Provision for Income Taxes

   $ 3,977      $ 30,274      $ 26,297        661.2     1.6     12.8

We recognized provision for income tax of $30.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $4.0 million for the prior year. The provision for income taxes as a percentage of income before income taxes, or the effective tax rate was (127.3)% for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to (16.7)% for the prior year. The effective tax rate for each period differs from the federal statutory income rate of 21.0% due to the effect of the sale of business assets in various states, state income taxes, certain expenses that are not deductible for tax purposes, and changes in the valuation allowance. For the year ended December 31, 2020, the primary drivers of the effective tax rate include a federal income tax benefit generated from operations of $5.0 million, an additional valuation allowance of $24.3 million relating to federal net operating loss carryforwards and a $10.8 million valuation allowance related to state net operating loss carryforwards, along with permanent differences and other state statutory rate adjustments. The state income tax provision is an accumulation of applicable state income taxes calculated in accordance with each state’s tax laws and each state’s pre-tax income that ranges from various losses to income levels.

 

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Net Loss

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2019     2020     Change $     Change%         2019             2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)           % of Total Net Revenue  

Net Loss

   $ (27,839   $ (54,062   $ (26,223     94.2     (11.0 )%      (22.9 )% 

Net loss increased by $26.2 million to $54.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $27.8 million during the prior year due to the changes described above.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES, JUDGMENTS AND ESTIMATES

The discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based upon our Consolidated Financial Statements, which have been prepared in accordance with GAAP. The preparation of these financial statements requires management to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses, and related disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities. We evaluate our estimates on an ongoing basis. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.

We believe the following accounting policies and the related judgments and estimates are critical accounting policies that affect the preparation of our Consolidated Financial Statements:

 

   

going concern evaluations;

 

   

revenue recognition;

 

   

asset impairments, including broadcasting licenses, goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets;

 

   

probabilities associated with the potential for contingent earn-out consideration;

 

   

fair value measurements;

 

   

contingency reserves;

 

   

allowance for doubtful accounts;

 

   

sales returns and allowances;

 

   

barter transactions;

 

   

inventory reserves;

 

   

reserves for royalty advances;

 

   

fair value of equity awards;

 

   

self-insurance reserves;

 

   

estimated lives for tangible and intangible assets;

 

   

assessment of contract-based factors, asset-based factors, entity-based factors and market-based factors to determine the lease term impacting Right-Of-Use (“ROU”) assets and lease liabilities;

 

   

determining the Incremental Borrowing Rate (“IBR”) for calculating ROU assets and lease liabilities;

 

   

income tax valuation allowances; and

 

   

uncertain tax positions.

 

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These estimates require the use of judgment as future events and the effect of these events cannot be predicted with certainty. The estimates will change as new events occur, as more experience is acquired and as more information is obtained. We evaluate and update our assumptions and estimates on an ongoing basis and we may consult outside experts to assist as considered necessary.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create significant uncertainty and disruption in the global economy and financial markets. It is reasonably possible that these uncertainties could materially impact our estimates related to, but not limited to, revenue recognition, broadcast licenses, goodwill and income taxes. As a result, many of our estimates and assumptions require increased judgment and carry a higher degree of variability and volatility. Our estimates may change as new events occur and additional information emerges, and such changes are recognized or disclosed in our consolidated financial statements.

We believe the following accounting policies and the related judgments and estimates are critical accounting policies that affect the preparation of our Consolidated Financial Statements.

Going Concern

Management is responsible for evaluating conditions or events as related to uncertainties that raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern and to provide related footnote disclosures, as applicable. Management’s estimates and assumptions, used in the evaluation of our ability to meet our obligations as they become due within one year after the date our financial statements are issued, are based on the facts and circumstances at such date and are subject to a material and high level of subjectivity and uncertainty due to the matters themselves being uncertain and subject to modification. The effect of any individual or aggregate changes in the estimates and assumptions, or the facts and circumstances, could be material to the financial statements.

Given the decreases in revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we assessed a variety of factors, including media industry forecasts, expected operating results, forecasted net cash flows from operations, future obligations and liquidity, and capital expenditure commitments. We concluded that the potential that we could incur a considerable decrease in operating income and the resulting impact on our ability to fund interest payments on our debt, were probable conditions which gave rise to a need for an assessment of whether substantial doubt existed of our ability to continue as a going concern.

We reforecast our anticipated results extending through March 2022. Our reforecast includes the impact of certain cost-cutting measures associated with reductions in staffing, reductions in commissions and royalty expenses based on lower revenue forecasts, reductions in travel and entertainment expenses due to stay-at-home mandates, reductions in event costs, company-wide pay cuts, furloughs of certain employees, and the temporary suspension of the company 401(k) match. Based on our current assessment, we believe that we have the ability to meet our obligations as they come due for one year from the issuance of the financial statements.

Revenue Recognition

Significant management judgments and estimates must be made in connection with determining the amount of revenue to be recognized in any accounting period. We must assess the promises within each sales contract to determine if they are distinct performance obligations. Once the performance obligation(s) are determined, the transaction price is allocated to the performance obligation(s) based on a relative standalone selling price basis. If a sales contract contains a single performance obligation, the entire transaction price is allocated to the single performance obligation. Contracts that contain multiple performance obligations require an allocation of the transaction price to each performance obligation based on a relative standalone selling price. If the stand-alone selling price is not determinable, an estimate is used.

We make significant estimates related to variable consideration at the point of sale, including estimates for refunds and product returns. Under ASC Topic 606, estimates of variable consideration are to be recognized

 

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before contingencies are resolved in certain circumstances, including when it is probable that a significant reversal in the amount of any estimated cumulative revenue will not occur.

A growing source of revenue is generated from digital product offerings, which allow for enhanced audience interaction and participation, and integrated digital advertising solutions. When offering digital products, another party may be involved in providing the goods or services that make up a performance obligation to the customer. These include the use of third-party websites for social media campaigns. We must evaluate if we are the principal or agent in order to determine if revenue should be reported gross as principal or net as agent. In this evaluation, we consider if we obtain control of the specified goods or services before they are transferred to our customer, as well as other indicators such as the party primarily responsible for fulfillment, inventory risk, and discretion in establishing price. The determination of whether we control a specified good or service immediately prior to the good or service being transferred requires us to make reasonable judgments on the nature of each agreement. We have determined that we are acting as principal when we manage all aspects of a social media campaign, including reviewing and approving target audiences, monitoring actual results and making modifications as needed and when we are responsible for delivering campaign results to our customers regardless of the use of a third-party or parties.

Trade and Barter Transactions

In broadcasting, trade or barter agreements are commonly used to reduce cash expenses by exchanging advertising time for goods or services. We may enter barter agreements to exchange airtime or digital advertising for goods or services that can be used in our business or that can be sold to our audience under Listener Purchase Programs. The terms of these barter agreements permit us to preempt the barter airtime or digital campaign in favor of customers who purchase the airtime or digital campaign for cash. The value of these non-cash exchanges is included in revenue in an amount equal to the fair value of the goods or services we receive. Each transaction must be reviewed to determine that the products, supplies and/or services we receive have economic substance, or value to us. We record barter operating expenses upon receipt and usage of the products, supplies and services, as applicable. We record barter revenue as advertising spots or digital campaigns are delivered, which represents the point in time that control is transferred to the customer thereby completing our performance obligation. Barter revenue is recorded on a gross basis unless an agency represents the programmer, in which case, revenue is reported net of the commission retained by the agency.

Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets

Approximately 65% of our total assets at December 31, 2020 consisted of indefinite-lived intangible assets including broadcast licenses and goodwill. These indefinite-lived intangible assets originated from acquisitions in which a significant amount of the purchase price was allocated to broadcast licenses and goodwill. We do not amortize indefinite-lived intangible assets, but rather test for impairment annually or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate that an asset may be impaired. We perform our annual impairment testing during the fourth quarter of each year, which coincides with our budget and planning process for the upcoming year.

Impairment testing requires an estimate of the fair value of our indefinite-lived intangible assets. We believe that these estimates of fair value are critical accounting estimates as the value is significant in relation to our total assets and the estimates incorporate variables and assumptions based on our experiences and judgment about our future operating performance. Fair value measurements use significant unobservable inputs that reflect our own assumptions about the estimates that market participants would use in measuring fair value, including assumptions about risk. If actual future results are less favorable than the assumptions and estimates used in our estimates, we are subject to future impairment charges, the amount of which may be material. The unobservable inputs are defined in FASB ASC Topic 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures as Level 3 inputs discussed in Note 13 of our Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.

The first step of our impairment testing is to perform a qualitative assessment as to whether it is more likely than not that an indefinite-lived intangible asset is impaired. This qualitative assessment requires significant judgment

 

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when considering the events and circumstances that may affect the estimated fair value of our indefinite-lived intangible assets. These events and circumstances are not all-inclusive and are not by themselves indicators of impairment. We consider external and internal factors when reviewing the following events and circumstances, which are presented in the order of what we believe to be the strongest to weakest indicators of impairment:

 

  (1)

the difference between any recent fair value calculations and the carrying value;

 

  (2)

financial performance, such as station operating income, including performance as compared to projected results used in prior estimates of fair value;

 

  (3)

macroeconomic economic conditions, including limitations on accessing capital that could affect the discount rates used in prior estimates of fair value;

 

  (4)

industry and market considerations such as a decline in market-dependent multiples or metrics, a change in demand, competition, or other economic factors;

 

  (5)

operating cost factors, such as increases in labor, that could have a negative effect on future expected earnings and cash flows;

 

  (6)

legal, regulatory, contractual, political, business, or other factors;

 

  (7)

other relevant entity-specific events such as changes in management or customers; and

 

  (8)

any changes to the carrying amount of the indefinite-lived intangible asset.

If it is more likely than not that an impairment exists, we are required to perform a second step to preparing a quantitative analysis to estimate the fair or enterprise value of the assets. We did not find reconciliation to our current market capitalization meaningful in the determination of our enterprise value given current factors that impact our market capitalization, including but not limited to: limited trading volume, the impact of our publishing segment operating losses and the significant voting control of our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. We engage an independent third-party appraisal and valuation firm to assist us with determining the enterprise value as part of our quantitative review.

If the results of our quantitative analysis indicate that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than the carrying value, an impairment is recorded equal to the amount by which the carrying value exceeds the estimated fair value.

We believe we have made reasonable estimates and assumptions to calculate the estimated fair value of our indefinite-lived intangible assets, however, these estimates and assumptions are highly judgmental in nature. Actual results can be materially different from estimates and assumptions. If actual market conditions are less favorable than those projected by the industry or by us, or if events occur or circumstances change that would reduce the estimated fair value of our indefinite-lived intangible assets below the amounts reflected on our balance sheet, we may recognize future impairment charges, the amount of which may be material.

Sensitivity of Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets

When estimating the fair value of broadcast licenses and goodwill, we make assumptions regarding future revenue growth rates, operating cash flow margins and discount rates. These assumptions require substantial judgment that may differ materially from actual results. The following sensitivity analysis shows the incremental impact and the hypothetical non-cash impairment charge that would have result if our estimates were to change by 100 basis points as of the annual testing period in the fourth quarter of 2020:

 

     Sensitivity Analysis (1)  
     Increase in Risk-
Adjusted Discount Rate
     Decrease in Operating
Profit Margins
     Decrease in Long-Term
Revenue Growth Rates
 
     (Dollars in thousands)  

Incremental broadcast licenses impairment

   $ 13,302      $ —        $ 4,132  

Incremental goodwill impairment

     862        648        317  

 

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(1)

Each assumption used in the sensitivity analysis is independent of the other assumptions.

The risk-adjusted discount rate reflects the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (“WACC”) developed based on data from same or similar industry participants and publicly available market data as of the measurement date. The same discount rate was used in each of our broadcast markets. The discount rate applied to our digital media and publishing entities was higher given the perceived additional risks associated with the cash flows of these businesses.

Operating profit margin is defined as operating income before interest, depreciation, amortization, income tax and corporate allocation charges divided by net revenue. For the fair value analysis, the projections of operating profit margin that are used are based upon industry expectations. These margin projections are not specific to the performance of our radio stations or segments in a market but are predicated on the expectation that a new entrant into the market could reasonably be expected to perform at a level similar to a typical competitor. If actual future margins are lower than our estimates, we may recognize future impairment charges, the amount of which may be material.

For the goodwill fair value analysis, the projections of operating margin for each broadcast market and each entity are based on our historical performance. If the future outlook for the broadcast, digital or publishing industry growth declines by more than our estimates, we may recognize future impairment charges, the amount of which may be material.

Long-term revenue growth rates are determined from publicly available information on industry expectations rather than our own estimates, which could differ. Long-term revenue growth rates can vary for each of our broadcast markets. Using industry expectations, each broadcast market, digital and publishing entity’s revenue was forecasted over a ten-year projection period to reflect the projected long-term growth rate. If the future outlook for the broadcast, digital or publishing industry growth declines by more than our estimates, we may recognize future impairment charges, the amount of which may be material.

Business Acquisitions

We account for business acquisitions in accordance with the acquisition method of accounting as specified in FASB ASC Topic 805 Business Combinations. The total acquisition consideration is allocated to assets acquired and liabilities assumed based on their estimated fair values as of the date of the transaction. Estimates of the fair value include discounted estimated cash flows to be generated by the assets and their expected useful lives based on historical experience, market trends and any synergies believed to be achieved from the acquisition. The excess of consideration paid over the estimated fair values of the net assets acquired is recorded as goodwill and any excess of fair value of the net assets acquired over the consideration paid is recorded as a gain on bargain purchase. Prior to recording a gain, the acquiring entity must reassess whether all acquired assets and assumed liabilities have been identified and recognized and perform re-measurements to verify that the consideration paid, assets acquired, and liabilities assumed have been properly valued.

Acquisitions may include contingent earn-out consideration, the fair value of which is estimated as of the acquisition date as the present value of the expected contingent payments as determined using weighted probabilities of the payment amounts.

A majority of our radio station acquisitions have consisted primarily of the FCC licenses to broadcast in a particular market. We often do not acquire the existing format, or we change the format upon acquisition when we find it beneficial. As a result, a substantial portion of the purchase price for the assets of a radio station is allocated to the broadcast license. Under ASU 2017-01, a fewer number of our radio station acquisitions qualify as business acquisitions and instead are accounted for as asset purchases. Asset purchases are recognized based on their cost to acquire, including transaction costs. The cost to acquire an asset group is allocated to the individual assets acquired based on their relative fair value with no goodwill recognized.

 

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We may retain a third-party appraiser to estimate the fair value of the acquired net assets as of the acquisition date. As part of the valuation and appraisal process, the third-party appraiser prepares a report assigning estimated fair values to the various asset categories in our financial statements. These fair value estimates are subjective in nature and require careful consideration and judgment. Management reviews the third-party reports for reasonableness of the assigned values. We believe that the purchase price allocations represent the appropriate estimated fair value of the assets acquired and we have not had to modify our purchase price allocations.

We estimate the economic life of each tangible and intangible asset acquired to determine the period of time in which the asset should be depreciated or amortized. A considerable amount of judgment is required in assessing the economic life of each asset. We consider our own experience with similar assets, industry trends, market conditions and the age of the property at the time of our acquisition to estimate the economic life of each asset. If the financial condition of the assets were to deteriorate, the resulting change in life or impairment of the asset could cause a material impact and volatility in our operating results. To date, we have not experienced changes in the economic life established for each major category of our assets.

Contingent Earn-Out Consideration

Our acquisitions often include contingent earn-out consideration as part of the purchase price. The fair value of the contingent earn-out consideration is estimated as of the acquisition date based on the present value of the contingent payments expected to be made using a weighted probability of possible payments. The unobservable inputs used in the determination of the fair value of the contingent earn-out consideration include our own assumptions about the likelihood of payment based on the established benchmarks and discount rates based on our internal rate of return analysis. The fair value measurements include inputs that are Level 3 measurement as discussed in Note 13 in the notes of our Consolidated Financial Statements contained in Item 8 in this annual report.

We review the probabilities of possible future payments to the estimated fair value of any contingent earn-out consideration on a quarterly basis over the earn-out period. Actual results are compared to the estimates and probabilities of achievement used in our forecasts. Should actual results increase or decrease as compared to the assumption used in our analysis, the fair value of the contingent earn-out consideration obligations will increase or decrease, up to the contracted limit, as applicable. Changes in the fair value of the contingent earn-out consideration could cause a material impact and volatility in our operating results. The changes in our estimates reflect volatility from variables, such as revenue growth, page views and session time

We believe that we have used reasonable estimates and assumptions to calculate the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration however, these estimates and assumptions are highly judgmental in nature. Actual results can be materially different from estimates and assumptions.

Fair Value Measurements

FASB ASC Topic 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures established a single definition of fair value in generally accepted accounting principles and requires expanded disclosure requirements about fair value measurements. The provision applies to other accounting pronouncements that require or permit fair value measurements. This includes applying the fair value concept to (i) nonfinancial assets and liabilities initially measured at fair value in business combinations; (ii) reporting units or nonfinancial assets and liabilities measured at fair value in conjunction with goodwill impairment testing; (iii) other nonfinancial assets measured at fair value in conjunction with impairment assessments; and (iv) asset retirement obligations initially measured at fair value.

The fair value provisions include guidance on how to estimate the fair value of assets and liabilities in the current economic environment and reemphasize that the objective of a fair value measurement remains an exit price. If

 

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we were to conclude that there has been a significant decrease in the volume and level of activity of the asset or liability in relation to normal market activities, quoted market values may not be representative of fair value and we may conclude that a change in valuation technique or the use of multiple valuation techniques may be appropriate.

The degree of judgment utilized in measuring the fair value of financial instruments generally correlates to the level of pricing observability. Pricing observability is affected by a number of factors, including the type of financial instrument, whether the financial instrument is new to the market, and the characteristics specific to the transaction. Financial instruments with readily available active quoted prices or for which fair value can be measured from actively quoted prices generally will have a higher degree of pricing observability and a lesser degree of judgment utilized in measuring fair value. Conversely, financial instruments rarely traded or not quoted will generally have less (or no) pricing observability and a higher degree of judgment utilized in measuring fair value.

FASB ASC Topic 820 established a hierarchal disclosure framework associated with the level of pricing observability utilized in measuring fair value. This framework defined three levels of inputs to the fair value measurement process and requires that each fair value measurement be assigned to a level corresponding to the lowest level input that is significant to the fair value measurement in its entirety. The three broad levels of inputs defined by the FASB ASC Topic 820 hierarchy are as follows:

 

   

Level 1 Inputs—quoted prices (unadjusted) in active markets for identical assets or liabilities that the reporting entity has the ability to access at the measurement date;

 

   

Level 2 Inputs—inputs other than quoted prices included within Level 1 that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly. If the asset or liability has a specified (contractual) term, a Level 2 input must be observable for substantially the full term of the asset or liability; and

 

   

Level 3 Inputs—unobservable inputs for the asset or liability. These unobservable inputs reflect the entity’s own assumptions about the assumptions that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability and are developed based on the best information available in the circumstances (which might include the reporting entity’s own data).

We believe that we have used reasonable estimates and assumptions to calculate the estimated fair value of our financial assets as discussed in Note 13 in the notes to our Consolidated Financial Statements contained in Item 8 of this annual report.

Contingency Reserves

In the ordinary course of business, we are involved in various legal proceedings, lawsuits, arbitration and other claims that are complex in nature and have outcomes that are difficult to predict. Consequently, we are unable to ascertain the ultimate aggregate amount of monetary liability or the financial impact with respect to these matters. Certain of these proceedings are discussed in Note 15, Commitments and Contingencies, contained in our Consolidated Financial Statements.

We record contingency reserves to the extent we conclude that it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of the related loss can be reasonably estimated. The establishment of the reserve is based on a review of all relevant factors, the advice of legal counsel, and the subjective judgment of management. The reserves we have recorded to date have not been material to our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows. We believe that our estimates and assumptions are reasonable and that our reserves are accurately reflected.

While we believe that the final resolution of any known matters, individually and in the aggregate, will not have a material adverse effect upon our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows, it is

 

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possible that we could incur additional losses. We maintain insurance that may provide coverage for such matters. Future claims against us, whether meritorious or not, could have a material adverse effect upon our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows, including losses due to costly litigation and losses due to matters that require significant amounts of management time that can result in the diversion of significant operational resources.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

We evaluate the balance reserved in our allowance for doubtful accounts on a quarterly basis based on our historical collection experience, the age of the receivables, specific customer information and current economic conditions. We increased our reserve percentages during 2020 based on the adverse economic conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the expected impact on the ability of our customers to make payments. Past due balances are generally not written-off until all collection efforts have been unsuccessful, including use of a collection agency. A considerable amount of judgment is required in assessing the likelihood of ultimate realization of these receivables, including the current creditworthiness of each customer. If the financial condition of our customers were to deteriorate, resulting in an impairment of their ability to make payments, additional allowances may be required. We have not modified our estimate methodology and we have not historically recognized significant losses from changes in our estimates. We believe that our estimates and assumptions are reasonable and that our reserves are accurately reflected.

Sales Returns and Allowances

We provide for estimated returns for products sold with the right of return, primarily book sales associated with Regnery® Publishing and nutritional products sold through our wellness division. We record an estimate of these product returns as a reduction of revenue in the period of the sale. Our estimates are based upon historical sales returns, the amount of current period sales, economic trends and any changes in customer demand and acceptance of our products. We regularly monitor actual performance to estimated return rates and make adjustments as necessary. Estimated return rates utilized for establishing estimated returns reserves have approximated actual returns experience. However, actual returns may differ significantly, either favorably or unfavorably, from these estimates if factors such as the historical data we used to calculate these estimates do not properly reflect future returns or as a result of changes in economic conditions of the customer and/or the market. We have not modified our estimate methodology and we have not historically recognized significant losses from changes in our estimates. We believe that our estimates and assumptions are reasonable and that our reserves are accurately reflected.

Inventory Reserves

Inventories consist of published books from Regnery® Publishing. Inventory is recorded at the lower of cost or net realizable value as determined on a First-In First-Out cost method. We review historical data and our own experiences to estimate the fair value of inventory on hand. Our analysis includes reviewing actual sales returns, allowance estimates, royalty reserves, overall economic conditions and demand for each title. We record a provision to expense the balance of unsold inventory that we believe to be unrecoverable. We regularly monitor actual performance to our estimates and make adjustments as necessary. Estimated inventory reserves may be adjusted, either favorably or unfavorably, if factors such as the historical data we used to calculate these estimates do not properly reflect future returns or as a result of changes in economic conditions of the customer and/or the market. We have not modified our estimate methodology and we have not historically recognized significant losses from changes in our estimates. We believe that our estimates and assumptions are reasonable and that our reserves are accurately reflected.

Reserves for Royalty Advances

Royalties are paid in advance to book authors and capitalized as prepaid assets. Royalties are expensed as the related book revenue is earned or when we determine that future recovery of the royalty is not likely. We review

 

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historical data associated with royalty advances, earnings and recoverability based on actual results of Regnery® Publishing. Historically, the longer the unearned portion of an advance remains outstanding, the less likely it is that we will recover the advance through sales of the book. We apply this historical experience to outstanding royalty advances to estimate the likelihood of recovery. A provision is established to expense the balance of any unearned advance which we believe is not recoverable. Our analysis also considers other discrete factors, such as death of an author, any decision to not pursue publication of a title, poor market demand and other relevant factors. We have not modified our estimate methodology and we have not historically recognized significant losses from changes in our estimates. We believe that our estimates and assumptions are reasonable and that our reserves are accurately reflected.

Fair Value of Equity Awards

We account for stock-based compensation under the provisions of FASB ASC Topic 718, Compensation—Stock Compensation. We record equity awards with stock-based compensation measured at the fair value of the award as of the grant date. We determine the fair value of each award using the Black-Scholes valuation model that requires the input of highly subjective assumptions, including the expected stock price volatility and the expected term of the award granted. The exercise price for each award is equal to or greater than the closing market price of Salem Media Group, Inc. common stock as of the date of the award. We use the straight-line attribution method to recognize share-based compensation costs over the expected service period of the award. Upon exercise, cancellation, forfeiture, or expiration of the award, deferred tax assets for awards with multiple vesting dates are eliminated for each vesting period on a first-in, first-out basis as if each vesting period was a separate award. We have not modified our estimates or assumptions used in our valuation model. We believe that our estimates and assumptions are reasonable and that our stock-based compensation is accurately reflected in our results of operations.

Partial Self-Insurance on Employee Health Plan

We provide health insurance benefits to eligible employees under a self-insured plan whereby we pay actual medical claims subject to certain stop loss limits. We record self-insurance liabilities based on actual claims filed and an estimate of those claims incurred but not reported. Our estimates are based on historical data and probabilities. Any projection of losses concerning our liability is subject to a high degree of variability. Among the causes of this variability are unpredictable external factors such as future inflation rates, changes in severity, benefit level changes, medical costs and claim settlement patterns. Should the actual amount of claims increase or decrease beyond what was anticipated, we may adjust our future reserves. Our self-insurance liability was $0.5 million and $0.6 million at December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively. We have not modified our estimate methodology and we have not historically recognized significant losses from changes in our estimates.

Leases

We account for leases under the provisions of FASB ASC Topic 842, “Leases” (“ASC 842”). We consider all relevant facts and circumstances to determine whether a contract is or contains a lease at inception. Our analysis includes whether the contract conveys the right to control the use of an identified asset for a period of time in exchange for consideration. This consideration involves judgment with respect to whether we have the right to obtain substantially all of the economic benefits from the use of the identified asset and whether we have the right to direct the use of the identified asset.

Lease Term – Impact on Right-of-Use Assets and Lease Liabilities

The lease term can materially impact the value of the Right-of-Use (“ROU”) assets and lease liabilities recorded on our balance sheet as required under ASC 842. We calculate the term for each lease agreement to include the noncancellable period specified in the agreement together with (1) the periods covered by options to extend the

 

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lease if we are reasonably certain to exercise that option, (2) periods covered by an option to terminate if we are reasonably certain not to exercise that option and (3) period covered by an option to extend (or not terminate) if controlled by the lessor. The assessment of whether we are reasonably certain to exercise an option to extend a lease requires significant judgement surrounding contract-based factors, asset-based factors, entity-based factors and market-based factors. These factors, detailed below, are evaluated based on the facts and circumstances at the time we enter a lease agreement.

Contract-Based Factors:

 

   

The existence of a bargain renewal option

 

   

The existence of contingent or variable payments

 

   

The nature and terms of renewal or termination options

 

   

The costs the lessee would incur to restore the asset before returning it to the lessor

Asset-Based Factors:

 

   

The existence of significant lessee-installed leasehold improvements that would still have economic value when the option becomes exercisable

 

   

The physical location of the asset

 

   

The costs that would be incurred to replace or find an alternative asset

Entity-Based Factors:

 

   

Historical practice

 

   

Management’s intent

 

   

Common industry practice

 

   

The financial impact on the entity of extending or terminating the lease

 

   

The importance of the leased asset to the entity’s operations

Market-Based Factors:

 

   

Market rental or purchase rates for comparable assets

 

   

Potential implications of local regulations and statutory requirements

We have not modified our estimate methodology since adopting ASC 842 on January 1, 2019.

Incremental Borrowing Rate

ROU assets and related lease liabilities recorded under ASC 842 are calculated based on the present value of the lease payments using (1) the rate implicit in the lease or (2) the lessee’s Incremental Borrowing Rate (“IBR”). IBR is defined as the rate of interest that a lessee would have to pay to borrow on a collateralized basis over a similar term an amount equal to the lease payments in a similar economic environment. As most leases do not provide an implicit rate, we estimate the IBR applicable to Salem using significant judgement and estimates, including the estimated value of the underlying leased asset, and the following available evidence:

The credit history of Salem Media Group

Our most recent credit facility consists of 6.75% Senior Secured Notes and a revolving ABL Facility. As of each month end, the weighted average interest rate on outstanding debt is calculated.

 

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The credit worthiness of Salem Media Group

We review our credit ratings from third parties, including Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. Both ratings were downgraded during 2020 to poor quality with very high credit risk.

Class of the underlying asset and the remaining term of the arrangement

We use a portfolio approach applying a single IBR to all leases with reasonably similar characteristics, including the remaining lease term, the underlying assets and the economic environment. We group leases according to the nature of leased asset and the lease term. We have six main categories of leases, (1) Buildings, (2) Equipment, (3) Land, (4) Other (Parking Facilities), (5) Towers and (6) Vehicles.

We consider vehicles to have a higher risk for collateral that is mitigated by the shorter term of the lease that would typically range from three to five years. We consider building and towers to have a higher risk based on (1) the longer lease term of up to thirty years and (2) a higher outstanding balance that is mitigated by the lower risk that the collateralized asset would lose significant value.

The debt incurred under the lease liability as compared to amounts that would be borrowed

We review the cost to finance comparable amounts under our ABL Facility and based on the current market environment as derived from available economic data.

We referred to the Bloomberg Single B Rated Communications Yield Curve (unsecured) and considered adjustments for industry risk factors and the estimated value of the underlying leased asset to be collateral for the debt incurred.

From these data points, we develop a matrix to estimate the IBR for each lease class. We review the IBR estimates on a quarterly basis and update as necessary. We have not modified our estimate methodology and we have not recognized significant changes in our estimates.

Impairment of ROU Assets

ROU assets from operating and finance leases are subject to the impairment guidance in ASC 360, Property, Plant, and Equipment consistent with other long-lived nonfinancial assets. ROU assets are reviewed for impairment when indicators of impairment are present.

ROU assets are tested for impairment individually or as part of an asset group if the cash flows related to the ROU asset are not independent from the cash flows of other assets and liabilities. An asset group is the unit of accounting for long-lived assets to be held and used, which represents the lowest level for which identifiable cash flows are largely independent of the cash flows of other groups of assets and liabilities.

After a careful analysis of the guidance, we concluded that the appropriate unit of accounting for testing ROU assets for impairment is the broadcast market cluster level for radio station operations and the entity or division level for digital media entities, publishing entities and networks. Corporate ROU assets are tested on a consolidated level with consideration given to all cash flows of the company as corporate functions do not generate cash flows and are funded by revenue-producing activities at lower levels of the entity.

ASC 360 requires three steps to identify, recognize and measure the impairment of a long-lived asset (asset group) to be held and used:

Step 1—Consider whether Indicators of Impairment are Present

As detailed in ASC 360-10-35-21, the following are examples of impairment indicators:

 

   

A significant decrease in the market price of a long-lived asset (asset group)

 

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A significant adverse change in the extent or manner in which a long-lived asset (asset group) is being used or in its physical condition

 

   

A significant adverse change in legal factors or in the business climate that could affect the value of a long-lived asset (asset group), including an adverse action or assessment by a regulator

 

   

An accumulation of costs significantly in excess of the amount originally expected for the acquisition or construction of a long-lived asset (asset group)

 

   

A current period operating or cash flow loss combined with a history of operating or cash flow losses or a projection or forecast that demonstrates continuing losses associated with the use of a long-lived asset (asset group)

 

   

A current expectation that, more likely than not, a long-lived asset (asset group) will be sold or otherwise disposed of significantly before the end of its previously estimated useful life. The term more likely than not refers to a level of likelihood that is more than 50 percent.

Other indicators should be considered if we believe that the carrying amount of an asset (asset group) may not be recoverable.

Step 2—Test for Recoverability

If indicators of impairment are present, we are required to perform a recoverability test comparing the sum of the estimated undiscounted cash flows attributable to the long-lived asset or asset group in question to the carrying amount of the long-lived asset or asset group.

ASC 360 does not specifically address how operating lease liabilities and future cash outflows for lease payments should be considered in the recoverability test. Under ASC 360, financial liabilities, or long-term debt, generally are excluded from an asset group while operating liabilities, such as accounts payable, generally are included. ASC 842 characterizes operating lease liabilities as operating liabilities. Because operating lease liabilities may be viewed as having attributes of finance liabilities as well as operating liabilities, it is generally acceptable for a lessee to either include or exclude operating lease liabilities from an asset group when testing whether the carrying amount of an asset group is recoverable provided the approach is applied consistently for all operating leases and when performing Steps 2 and 3 of the impairment model in ASC 360.

In cases where we have received lease incentives, including operating lease liabilities in an asset group may result in the long-lived asset or asset group having a zero or negative carrying amount because the incentives reduce our ROU assets. We elected to exclude operating lease liabilities from the carrying amount of the asset group such that we test ROU assets for operating leases in the same manner that we test ROU assets for financing leases.

Undiscounted Future Cash Flows

The undiscounted future cash flows in Step 2 are based on our own assumptions rather than a market participant. If an election is made to exclude operating lease liabilities from the asset or asset group, all future cash lease payments for the lease should also be excluded. The standard requires lessees to exclude certain variable lease payments from lease payments and, therefore, from the measurement of a lessee’s lease liabilities. Because these variable payments do not reduce the lease liability, we include the variable payments we expect to make in our estimate of the undiscounted cash flows in the recoverability test (Step 2) using a probability-weighted approach.

Step 3—Measurement of an Impairment Loss

If the undiscounted cash flows used in the recoverability test are less than the carrying amount of the long-lived asset (asset group), we are required to estimate the fair value of the long-lived asset or asset group and

 

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recognize an impairment loss when the carrying amount of the long-lived asset or asset group exceeds the estimated fair value. We elected to exclude operating lease liabilities from the estimated fair value, consistent with the recoverability test. Any impairment loss for an asset group must reduce only the carrying amounts of a long-lived asset or assets of the group, including the ROU assets. The loss must be allocated to the long-lived assets of the group on a pro rata basis using the relative carrying amounts of those assets, except that the loss allocated to an individual long-lived asset of the group must not reduce the carrying amount of that asset below its fair value whenever the fair value is determinable without undue cost and effort. ASC 360 prohibits the subsequent reversal of an impairment loss for an asset held and used.

Fair Value Considerations

When determining the fair value of a ROU asset, we must estimate what market participants would pay to lease the asset or what a market participant would pay up front in one payment for the ROU asset, assuming no additional lease payments would be due. The ROU asset must be valued assuming its highest and best use, in its current form, even if that use differs from the current or intended use. If no market exists for an asset in its current form, but there is a market for a transformed asset, the costs to transform the asset are considered in the fair value estimate. Refer to Note 13, Fair Value Measurements.

There were no indications of impairment during the period ended December 31, 2020.

Income Tax Valuation Allowances (Deferred Taxes)

In preparing our condensed consolidated financial statements, we estimate our income tax liability in each of the jurisdictions in which we operate by estimating our actual current tax exposure and assessing temporary differences resulting from differing treatment of items for tax and financial statement purposes. Our judgments, assumptions and estimates relative to the current provision for income tax consider current tax laws, our interpretation of current tax laws and possible outcomes of audits conducted by tax authorities. Reserves for income taxes to address potential exposures involving tax positions that could be challenged by tax authorities are established if necessary. Although we believe our judgments, assumptions and estimates are reasonable, changes in tax laws or our interpretation of tax laws and the resolution of any future tax audits could significantly impact the amounts provided for income taxes in our consolidated financial statements.

We calculate our current and deferred tax provisions based on estimates and assumptions that could differ from the actual results reflected in income tax returns filed during the subsequent year. Adjustments based on filed returns are generally recorded in the period when the tax returns are filed and the tax implications are known. Tax law and rate changes are reflected in the income tax provision in the period in which such changes are enacted.

We record a valuation allowance to reduce our deferred tax assets to the amount that is more likely than not to be realized. We consider all available evidence, both positive and negative, including historical levels of income, expectations and risks associated with estimates of future taxable income and ongoing prudent and feasible tax planning strategies in assessing the need for a valuation allowance. In the event we were to determine that we would not be able to realize all or part of our net deferred tax assets in the future, an adjustment to the deferred tax assets would be charged to earnings in the period in which we make such a determination. Likewise, if we later determine that it is more likely than not that the net deferred tax assets would be realized, we would reverse the applicable portion of the previously provided valuation allowance.

As a result of our adjusted cumulative three-year pre-tax book loss as of December 31, 2020, we performed quarterly assessments of positive and negative evidence with respect to the realization of our net deferred tax assets. This assessment included the evaluation of scheduled reversals of deferred tax liabilities, the availability of carryforwards and estimates of projected future taxable income. The economic uncertainty from the

 

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COVID-19 pandemic provided additional negative evidence that outweighed positive evidence resulting in our conclusion that additional deferred tax assets of $35.1 million related to federal and state net operating loss carryforwards are more likely than not to be not realized. As such, an additional valuation allowance of $35.1 million was recorded, for a total valuation allowance of $48.1 million as of the year ended December 31, 2020.

Income Taxes and Uncertain Tax Positions

We are subject to audit and review by various taxing jurisdictions. We may recognize liabilities on our financial statements for positions taken on uncertain tax positions. When tax returns are filed, it is highly certain that some positions taken would be sustained upon examination by the taxing authorities, while others may be subject to uncertainty about the merits of the position taken or the amount of the position that would be ultimately sustained. Such positions are deemed to be unrecognized tax benefits and a corresponding liability is established on the balance sheet. It is inherently difficult and subjective to estimate such amounts, as this requires us to make estimates based on the various possible outcomes. The benefit of a tax position is recognized in the financial statements in the period during which, based on all available evidence, we believe it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained upon examination, including the resolution of appeals or litigation processes, if any.

We review and reevaluate uncertain tax positions on a quarterly basis. Changes in assumptions may result in the recognition of a tax benefit or an additional charge to the tax provision. During the year ended December 31, 2019, we recognized liabilities associated with uncertain tax positions around our subsidiary Salem Communications Holding Company’s Pennsylvania tax filing. The position taken on the tax returns follows Pennsylvania Notice 2016-01 which provides guidance for reversal of intercompany interest income and associated expense yielding a net loss for Pennsylvania. The current liability recognized for the tax position is $0.3 million including interest and penalties. Our evaluation was performed for all tax years that remain subject to examination, which range from 2016 through 2019.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

Recent accounting pronouncements are described in Note 2 to the accompanying financial statements.

LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES

Our principal sources of funds are operating cash flows, borrowings under credit facilities and proceeds from the sale of selected assets or businesses. We have historically funded, and will continue to fund, expenditures for operations, administrative expenses, and capital expenditures from these sources. We have historically financed acquisitions through borrowings, including borrowings under credit facilities and, to a lesser extent, from operating cash flow and from proceeds on selected asset dispositions. We expect to fund future acquisitions from cash on hand, borrowings under our credit facilities, operating cash flow and possibly through the sale of income-producing assets or proceeds from debt and equity offerings.

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a global pandemic. We experienced declining revenue from advertising, programming, events and book sales. Several advertisers reduced or ceased advertising spend due to the outbreak and stay-at-home orders that effectively shut many businesses down. This was particularly true within our broadcast segment, which derives substantial revenue from local advertisers who have been particularly hard hit due to social distancing and government interventions and in our publishing segment that sells books in retail stores and through live events.

Future availability under our credit facility is contingent upon our eligible receivable balance, which is negatively impacted by lower revenue and longer days to collect. Availability under our ABL Facility is subject to a borrowing base consisting of (a) 90% of the eligible accounts receivable plus (b) a calculated amount based on

 

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the value of certain real property. The maximum amount available under our ABL Facility declined to $24.2 million at December 31, 2020 from $26.4 million at December 31, 2019, of which $5.0 million was outstanding at December 31, 2020 compared to $12.4 million outstanding at December 31, 2019.

In response to these developments, beginning in March 2020, we implemented several measures to reduce costs and conserve cash to ensure that we have adequate cash to meet our debt servicing requirements, including:

 

   

limiting capital expenditures;

 

   

reducing discretionary spending, including travel and entertainment;

 

   

eliminating open positions and freezing new hires;

 

   

reducing staffing levels;

 

   

implementing temporary company-wide pay cuts of 5%, 7.5% or 10% depending on salary level;

 

   

furloughing certain employees;

 

   

temporarily suspending the company 401(k) match;

 

   

requesting rent concessions from landlords;

 

   

requesting discounts from vendors;

 

   

offering early payment discounts to certain customers in exchange for advance cash payments; and

 

   

suspending the payment of distributions on our common stock indefinitely.

We have utilized certain benefits of the CARES Act, and we may be entitled to benefits under the CAA based on our individual locations, including:

 

   

the deferral of all employer FICA taxes beginning in April 2020 for the remainder of 2020, with 50% payable in December 2021 and the remainder payable in December 2022;

 

   

relaxation of interest expense deduction limitation for income tax purposes; and

 

   

Payroll Protection Plan (“PPP”) loans available based on the eligibility determined on a per-location basis of up to $11.2 million on a consolidated basis.

Due to the adverse economic impact, we reforecast our anticipated results extending through March 2022. Our reforecast includes the impact of certain of these cost-cutting measures. Based on our current and expected economic outlook and our current and expected funding needs, we believe that the borrowing capacity under our current credit facilities, together with cash on hand, allows us to meet our ongoing operating requirements, fund necessary capital expenditures and satisfy our debt service requirements for at least the next twelve months, including the working capital deficit at December 31, 2020. Based on our current assessment, we believe that we have the ability to meet our obligations as they come due for one year from the issuance of this annual report.

During 2020 we began to keep higher balances of cash and cash equivalents on-hand to meet operating needs due to the adverse economic conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Historically, we keep the balance of cash and cash equivalents low in order to reduce the balance of outstanding debt. Our ABL Facility automatically covers any shortfalls in operating cash flows such that we are not required to hold excess cash balances on hand. Our cash and cash equivalents increased to $6.3 million at December 31, 2020 as compared to $6,000 at December 31, 2019. Working capital increased $6.3 million to $(5.1) million at December 31, 2020 compared to ($11.4 million) at December 31, 2019 due to the $6.3 million increase in cash and cash equivalents, a $3.2 million increase in assets held for sale and a $7.4 million decrease in the outstanding balance on the ABL Facility, that was partially offset by a decrease in trade accounts receivable of $6.4 million, an increase in contract liabilities of $2.2 million.

 

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Operating Cash Flows

Our largest source of operating cash inflows are receipts from customers in exchange for advertising and programming. Other sources of operating cash inflows include receipts from customers for digital downloads and streaming, book sales, subscriptions, self-publishing fees, ticket sales, sponsorships, and vendor promotions. The adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted our revenue and cash receipts from customers. A majority of our operating cash outflows consist of payments to employees, such as salaries and benefits, and vendor payments under facility and tower leases, talent agreements, inventory purchases and recurring services such as utilities and music license fees. Our operating cash flows are subject to factors such as fluctuations in preferred advertising media and changes in demand caused by shifts in population, station listenership, demographics, and audience tastes. In addition, our operating cash flows may be affected if our customers are unable to pay, delay payment of amounts owed to us, or if we experience reductions in revenue, or increases in costs and expenses.

Net cash provided by operating activities increased by $5.8 million during the year ended December 31, 2020 to $22.8 million from $17.0 million during the prior year. The increase in cash provided by operating activities includes the impact of the following items:

 

   

Trade accounts receivables, net of allowances, decreased by $6.4 million compared to a decrease of $2.2 million for the prior year;

 

   

Operating expenses exclusive of depreciation, amortization, changes in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration, impairments and net gain (loss) on the disposition of assets, decreased by $6.6 million;

 

   

Unbilled revenue increased $0.2 million;

 

   

Our Day’s Sales Outstanding, or the average number of days to collect cash from the date of sale, decreased to 59 days at December 31, 2020 from 60 days in the same period of the prior year;

 

   

We deferred cash payments of $3.3 million for the employer portion of FICA taxes as allowed under the CARES Act with 50% due December 2021 and the remaining 50% due December 2022; and

 

   

We reduced cash paid for rent by $1.0 million of which $0.3 million was abated and $0.7 million was deferred over pay-back periods ranging from one-month in 2020 to forty-four months through December 2024.

Investing Cash Flows

Our primary source of investing cash inflows includes proceeds from the sale of assets or businesses. Investing cash outflows include cash payments made to acquire businesses, to acquire property and equipment and to acquire intangible assets such as domain names. While our focus continues to be on deleveraging, we remain committed to explore and pursue strategic acquisitions.

In recent years, we entered acquisition agreements that contain contingent earn-out arrangements that are payable in the future based on the achievement of predefined operating results. We believe that these contingent earn-out arrangements provide some degree of protection with regard to our cash outflows should these acquisitions not meet our operational expectations.

We undertake projects from time to time to upgrade our radio station technical facilities and/or FCC broadcast licenses, expand our digital and web-based offerings, improve our facilities and upgrade our computer infrastructures. The nature and timing of these upgrades and expenditures can be delayed or scaled back at the discretion of management. Based on our current plans, we expect to incur capital expenditures of approximately $11.6 million during 2021. As noted, we are currently limiting capital expenditures to emergency-only type expenses.

 

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We plan to fund any future purchases and any future acquisitions from cash on hand, operating cash flow or our credit facilities.

Net cash used in investing activities was $2.9 million during the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to net cash provided by investing activities of $10.9 million during the prior year. The $13.8 million decrease in cash used in investing activities was the result of:

 

   

Proceeds from the sale of assets decreased $20.5 million to $0.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $20.7 million of cash during same period of the prior year;

 

   

Proceeds of $2.4 million were received from surrendering split-dollar life insurance policies;

 

   

Cash paid for capital expenditures decreased $3.2 million to $4.6 million from $7.8 million during the same period of the prior year; and

 

   

Cash paid for acquisitions decreased $0.9 million to $0.4 million compared to $1.3 million during the same period of the prior year.

Financing Cash Flows

Financing cash inflows include borrowings under our credit facilities and any proceeds from the exercise of stock options issued under our stock incentive plan. Financing cash outflows include repayments of our credit facilities, the payment of distributions on our common stock and payments of amounts due under deferred installments and contingency earn-out consideration associated with acquisition activity.

During the year ended December 31, 2020, the aggregate principal balances outstanding under the Notes and ABL Facility ranged from $221.3 million to $235.4 million. These outstanding balances were ordinary and customary based on our operating and investing cash needs during this time.

Our sole source of cash available for making any future distributions on our common stock is our operating cash flow, subject to our credit facilities and Notes, which contain covenants that restrict the payment of dividends and distributions to our equity holders unless certain specified conditions are satisfied. On May 6, 2020 our Board voted to discontinue distributions on our common stock indefinitely due to the adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our financial position, results of operations, and cash flows.

Net cash used in financing activities during the year ended December 31, 2020 decreased $14.4 million to $13.6 million compared to $28.0 million during the prior year. The decrease in cash used for financing activities includes:

 

   

A $5.1 million decrease in cash distributions on common stock to $0.7 million from $5.8 million,

 

   

Net payments on our ABL Facility were $7.4 million during the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to net payments of $7.2 million during the prior year; and

 

   

We used $3.4 million of cash to repurchase $3.5 million in face value of the 6.75% Senior Secured Notes compared to $16.8 million of cash to repurchase $18.7 million during the prior year.

6.75% Senior Secured Notes

On May 19, 2017, we issued the Notes in a private placement. The Notes are guaranteed on a senior secured basis by our existing subsidiaries (the “Subsidiary Guarantors”). The Notes bear interest at a rate of 6.75% per year and mature on June 1, 2024, unless they are earlier redeemed or repurchased. Interest initially accrued on the Notes from May 19, 2017 and is payable semi-annually, in cash in arrears, on June 1 and December 1 of each year, commencing December 1, 2017.

The Notes are secured by a first-priority lien on substantially all assets of ours and the Subsidiary Guarantors other than the ABL Facility Priority Collateral (as described below) (the “Notes Priority Collateral”). There is no

 

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direct lien on our FCC licenses to the extent prohibited by law or regulation (other than the economic value and proceeds thereof).

The Notes were redeemable, in whole or in part, at any time on or before June 1, 2020 at a price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes plus a “make-whole” premium as of, and accrued and unpaid interest, if any, to, but not including, the redemption date. At any time on or after June 1, 2020, the Notes are redeemable at the redemption prices (expressed as percentages of the principal amount to be redeemed) set forth in the Notes, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any, to, but not including, the redemption date.

The indenture relating to the Notes (the “Indenture”) contains covenants that, among other things and subject in each case to certain specified exceptions, limit our ability and the ability of our restricted subsidiaries to: (i) incur additional debt; (ii) declare or pay dividends, redeem stock or make other distributions to stockholders; (iii) make investments; (iv) create liens or use assets as security in other transactions; (v) merge or consolidate, or sell, transfer, lease or dispose of substantially all of our assets; (vi) engage in transactions with affiliates; and (vii) sell or transfer assets.

The Indenture provides for the following events of default (each, an “Event of Default”): (i) default in payment of principal or premium on the Notes at maturity, upon repurchase, acceleration, optional redemption or otherwise; (ii) default for 30 days in payment of interest on the Notes; (iii) the failure by us or certain restricted subsidiaries to comply with other agreements in the Indenture or the Notes, in certain cases subject to notice and lapse of time; (iv) the failure of any guarantee by certain significant Subsidiary Guarantors to be in full force and effect and enforceable in accordance with its terms, subject to notice and lapse of time; (v) certain accelerations (including failure to pay within any grace period) of other indebtedness of ours or any restricted subsidiary if the amount accelerated (or so unpaid) is at least $15 million; (vi) certain judgments for the payment of money in excess of $15 million; (vii) certain events of bankruptcy or insolvency with respect to us or any significant subsidiary; and (viii) certain defaults with respect to any collateral having a fair market value in excess of $15 million. If an Event of Default occurs and is continuing, the Trustee or the holders of at least 25% in principal amount of the outstanding Notes may declare the principal of the Notes and any accrued interest on the Notes to be due and payable immediately, subject to remedy or cure in certain cases. Certain events of bankruptcy or insolvency are Events of Default which will result in the Notes being due and payable immediately upon the occurrence of such Events of Default. At December 31, 2020, we were, and we remain, in compliance with all of the covenants under the Indenture.

Based on the balance of the Notes currently outstanding, we are required to pay $14.6 million per year in interest on the Notes. As of December 31, 2020, accrued interest on the Notes was $1.2 million.

We incurred debt issuance costs of $6.3 million that were recorded as a reduction of the debt proceeds that are being amortized to non-cash interest expense over the life of the Notes using the effective interest method. During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, $0.7 million and $0.9 million, respectively, of debt issuance costs associated with the Notes was amortized to interest expense.

We may from time to time, depending on market conditions and prices, contractual restrictions, our financial liquidity and other factors, seek to repurchase the Notes in open market transactions, privately negotiated transactions, by tender offer or otherwise, as market conditions warrant.

 

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Based on the then existing market conditions, we completed repurchases of our 6.75% Senior Secured Notes at amounts less than face value as follows:

 

Date

  Principal
Repurchased
    Cash Paid     % of Face
Value
    Bond Issue
Costs
    Net Gain  
    (Dollars in thousands)  
January 30, 2020   $ 2,250     $ 2,194       97.50   $ 34     $ 22  
January 27, 2020     1,245       1,198       96.25     20       27  
December 27, 2019     3,090       2,874       93.00     48       167  
November 27, 2019     5,183       4,548       87.75     82       553  
November 15, 2019     3,791       3,206       84.58     61       524  
March 28, 2019     2,000       1,830       91.50     37       134  
March 28, 2019     2,300       2,125       92.38     42       133  
February 20, 2019     125       114       91.25     2       9  
February 19, 2019     350       319       91.25     7       24  
February 12, 2019     1,325       1,209       91.25     25       91  
January 10, 2019     570       526       92.25     9       35  
December 21, 2018     2,000       1,835       91.75     38       127  
December 21, 2018     1,850       1,702       92.00     35       113  
December 21, 2018     1,080       999       92.50     21       60  
November 17, 2018     1,500       1,357       90.50     29       114  
May 4, 2018     4,000       3,770       94.25     86       144  
April 10, 2018     4,000       3,850       96.25     87       63  
April 9, 2018     2,000       1,930       96.50     43       27  
 

 

 

   

 

 

     

 

 

   

 

 

 
  $  38,659     $  35,586       $  706     $  2,367  
 

 

 

   

 

 

     

 

 

   

 

 

 

Asset-Based Revolving Credit Facility

On May 19, 2017, the company entered into the ABL Facility pursuant to a Credit Agreement (the “Credit Agreement”) by and among us and our subsidiaries party thereto as borrowers, Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, as administrative agent and lead arranger, and the lenders that are parties thereto. We used the proceeds of the ABL Facility, together with the net proceeds from the Notes offering, to repay outstanding borrowings under our previously existing senior credit facilities, and related fees and expenses. Current proceeds from the ABL Facility are used to provide ongoing working capital and for other general corporate purposes, including permitted acquisitions.

The ABL Facility is a five-year $30.0 million revolving credit facility due March 1, 2024, which includes a $5.0 million subfacility for standby letters of credit and a $7.5 million subfacility for swingline loans. All borrowings under the ABL Facility accrue interest at a rate equal to a base rate or LIBOR plus a spread. The spread, which is based on an availability-based measure, ranges from 0.50% to 1.00% for base rate borrowings and 1.50% to 2.00% for LIBOR borrowings. If an event of default occurs, the interest rate may increase by 2.00% per annum. Amounts outstanding under the ABL Facility may be paid and then reborrowed at our discretion without penalty or premium. Additionally, we pay a commitment fee on the unused balance from 0.25% to 0.375% per year based on the level of borrowings.

On October 20, 2020, we entered into a fourth amendment to our ABL Facility that provides a one-time waiver with respect to the current covenant testing period allowing the covenant trigger event date be the first day after the availability on the ABL Facility had equaled or exceeded (1) 15% of the maximum revolver amount and (2) $4.5 million and a waiver permitting our July 2020 financial statements to be issued on or before September 30, 2020 due to delays that were caused by a ransomware attack.

On April 7, 2020, we entered into a third amendment to ABL Facility that increased the advance rate on eligible accounts receivable from 85% to 90% and extended the maturity date from May 19, 2022 to March 1, 2024. The

 

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April 7, 2020 amendment also allows for an alternative benchmark rate that may include SOFR due to LIBOR being scheduled to be discontinued at the end of calendar year 2021.

Availability under the ABL Facility is subject to a borrowing base consisting of (a) 90% of the eligible accounts receivable plus (b) a calculated amount based on the value of certain real property. As of December 31, 2020, the amount available under the ABL Facility was $24.2 million of which $5.0 million was outstanding. The ABL Facility has a first-priority lien on our and the Subsidiary Guarantors’ accounts receivable, inventory, deposit and securities accounts, certain real estate and related assets (the “ABL Facility Priority Collateral”) and by a second-priority lien on the Notes Priority Collateral. There is no direct lien on our FCC licenses to the extent prohibited by law or regulation (other than the economic value and proceeds thereof).

The Credit Agreement includes a springing fixed charge coverage ratio of 1.0 to 1.0, which is tested during the period commencing on the last day of the fiscal month most recently ended prior to the date on which Availability (as defined in the Credit Agreement) is less than the greater of 15% of the Maximum Revolver Amount (as defined in the Credit Agreement) and $4.5 million and continuing for a period of 60 consecutive days after the first day on which Availability exceeds such threshold amount. The Credit Agreement also includes other negative covenants that are customary for credit facilities of this type, including covenants that, subject to exceptions described in the Credit Agreement, restrict our ability and the ability of our subsidiaries (i) to incur additional indebtedness; (ii) to make investments; (iii) to make distributions, loans or transfers of assets; (iv) to enter into, create, incur, assume or suffer to exist any liens, (v) to sell assets; (vi) to enter into transactions with affiliates; (vii) to merge or consolidate with, or dispose of all assets to a third party, except as permitted thereby; (viii) to prepay indebtedness; and (ix) to pay dividends.

The Credit Agreement provides for the following events of default: (i) default for non-payment of any principal or letter of credit reimbursement when due or any interest, fees or other amounts within five days of the due date; (ii) the failure by any borrower or any subsidiary to comply with any covenant or agreement contained in the Credit Agreement or any other loan document, in certain cases subject to applicable notice and lapse of time; (iii) any representation or warranty made pursuant to the Credit Agreement or any other loan document is incorrect in any material respect when made; (iv) certain defaults of other indebtedness of any borrower or any subsidiary of indebtedness of at least $10 million; (v) certain events of bankruptcy or insolvency with respect to any borrower or any subsidiary; (vi) certain judgments for the payment of money of $10 million or more; (vii) a change of control; and (viii) certain defaults relating to the loss of FCC licenses, cessation of broadcasting and termination of material station contracts. If an event of default occurs and is continuing, the Administrative Agent and the Lenders may accelerate the amounts outstanding under the ABL Facility and may exercise remedies in respect of the collateral. At December 31, 2020, we were, and we remain, in compliance with all of the covenants under Credit Agreement.

We incurred debt issue costs of $0.9 million that were recorded as an asset and are being amortized to non-cash interest expense over the term of the ABL Facility using the effective interest method. During each of the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, $0.2 million of debt issuance costs associated with the ABL Facility was amortized to interest expense. At December 31, 2020, the blended interest rate on amounts outstanding under the ABL Facility was 2.5%.

We report outstanding balances on the ABL Facility as short-term regardless of the maturity date based on use of the ABL Facility to fund ordinary and customary operating cash needs with frequent repayments. We believe that our borrowing capacity under the ABL Facility allows us to meet our ongoing operating requirements, fund capital expenditures and satisfy our debt service requirements for at least the next twelve months. At December 31, 2020, we were, and we remain, in compliance with all of the covenants under the Credit Agreement.

 

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Summary of long-term debt obligations

Long-term debt consisted of the following:

 

     As of December 31,  
     2019      2020  
     (Dollars in thousands)  

6.75% Senior Secured Notes

   $ 219,836      $ 216,341  

Less unamortized debt issuance costs based on imputed interest rate of 7.08%

     (3,368      (2,577
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

6.75% Senior Secured Notes net carrying value

     216,468        213,764  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Asset-Based Revolving Credit Facility principal outstanding

     12,426        5,000  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Long-term debt less unamortized debt issuance costs

     228,894        218,764  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Less current portion

     (12,426      (5,000
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Long-term debt less unamortized debt issuance costs, net of current portion

   $ 216,468      $ 213,764  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

In addition to the outstanding amounts listed above, we also have interest payments related to our long-term debt as follows as of December 31, 2020:

 

   

$5.0 million under the ABL Facility, with interest spread ranging from Base Rate plus 0.50% to 1.00% for base rate borrowings and LIBOR plus 1.50% to 2.00% for LIBOR borrowings;

 

   

$216.3 million aggregate principal amount of Notes with semi-annual interest payments at an annual rate of 6.75%; and

 

   

Commitment fee of 0.25% to 0.375% per annum on the unused portion of the ABL Facility.

Maturities of Long-Term Debt and Capital Lease Obligations

Principal repayment requirements under all long-term debt agreements outstanding at December 31, 2020 for each of the next five years and thereafter are as follows:

 

     Amount  
For the Year Ended December 31,    (Dollars in thousands)  

2021

   $ 5,000  

2022

     —    

2023

     —    

2024

     216,341  

2025

     —    

Thereafter

     —    
  

 

 

 
   $ 221,341  
  

 

 

 

Impairment Losses on Goodwill and Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets

We have incurred impairment losses associated with goodwill and indefinite lived assets, including broadcast licenses and mastheads. These impairment losses were attributable to declines in the projected long-term revenue growth rates for the broadcast, digital and publishing industries. The long-term revenue growth rates are specific for each market and ranged from 0.5%—1.2% as of the 2018 testing period to a range of 0.7%—1.1% as of the 2019 testing period resulting in a decline in operating profit margins from 4.4%—34.5% in 2018 to 4.0%—33.8% in 2019. Long-term revenue growth rates for digital media entities were 1.0% during the 2018 annual testing to a range of 0.5%—1.0% as of the 2019 testing period while publishing long-term revenue growth rates

 

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were 1.0% during the 2018 annual testing period to 0.5% during the 2019 testing period. Declines in excess of these amounts and/or failure to achieve the anticipated growth rates may result in future impairment losses, the amount of which may be material.

The valuation of intangible assets is subjective and based on estimates rather than precise calculations. If actual future results are not consistent with the assumptions and estimates used, we may be exposed to impairment charges in the future, the amount of which may be material. The fair value measurements for our indefinite-lived intangible assets use significant unobservable inputs that reflect our own assumptions about the estimates that market participants would use in measuring fair value including assumptions about risk. The unobservable inputs are defined in FASB ASC Topic 820, “Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures,” as Level 3 inputs discussed in detail in Note 13 of our Consolidated Financial Statements under Item 8 of this annual report. If actual future results are not consistent with the assumptions and estimates used, we may be exposed to impairment charges in the future, the amount of which may be material. Discount rate assumptions are based on an assessment of the risk inherent in the future cash flows of the respective market clusters and reporting units.

While the impairment charges we have recognized are non-cash in nature and have not violated any debt covenants, the potential for future impairment charges can be viewed as a negative factor with regard to forecasted future performance and cash flows. We believe that we have adequately considered the potential for an economic downturn in our valuation models and do not believe that the non-cash impairments in and of themselves are a liquidity risk.

OFF-BALANCE SHEET ARRANGEMENTS

At December 31, 2020 and 2019, we did not have any relationships with unconsolidated entities or financial partnerships, such as entities often referred to as structured finance or special purpose entities, which would have been established for the purpose of facilitating off-balance sheet arrangements or other contractually narrow or limited purposes. As such, we are not materially exposed to any financing, liquidity, market or credit risk that could arise if we had engaged in such relationships.

CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS

Not required for smaller reporting companies.

 

ITEM 7A.

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK.

Not required for smaller reporting companies.

 

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ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA.

INDEX TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

     PAGE  

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm for the years ending December 31, 2019 and 2020

     69  

Consolidated Balance Sheets as of December 31, 2019 and 2020

     72  

Consolidated Statements of Operations for the years ended December  31, 2019 and 2020

     73  

Consolidated Statements of Stockholders’ Equity for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020

     74  

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the years ended December  31, 2019 and 2020

     75  

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

     77  

 

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REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

Stockholders and the Board of Directors of

Salem Media Group, Inc.

Camarillo, California

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Salem Media Group, Inc. (the “Company”) as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, the related consolidated statements of operations, stockholders’ equity, and cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2020, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “financial statements”). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2020, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Basis for Opinion

These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.

Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Critical Audit Matters

The critical audit matters communicated below are matters arising from the current period audit of the financial statements that were communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relate to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matters below, providing separate opinions on the critical audit matters or on the accounts or disclosures to which they relate.

Broadcast License Impairment

As disclosed in Note 8 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company’s consolidated broadcast license balance was $319.8 million as of December 31, 2020. During the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company recorded impairment on broadcast licenses of $17.0 million. Management performs an annual impairment test

 

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during the fourth quarter of each year, which includes a qualitative assessment of whether it is more likely than not that a broadcast license is impaired. This qualitative assessment requires significant judgment when considering the market conditions, events and circumstances that may affect the estimated fair value of broadcast licenses. If there are changes in market conditions, events, or other circumstances that occur during the interim periods that indicate the carrying value of its broadcast licenses may be impaired, management determines whether an interim test is necessary. Broadcast licenses are assessed for recoverability at the market cluster level. Potential impairment is identified by comparing the fair value of a market cluster’s broadcast licenses to the carrying value. Fair value is estimated by management using the Greenfield method, which is a form of the income approach, assuming a start-up scenario in which the only assets held by an investor are broadcasting licenses. Management’s cash flow projections for its broadcast licenses included significant judgments and assumptions relating to the market share and profit margin of an average station within a market based upon market size and station type, the forecasted growth rate of each radio market (including long-term growth rate), and the discount rate.

We considered auditing broadcast license impairment to be a critical audit matter because it involved a high degree of subjectivity in evaluating management’s estimates, judgments and assumptions, significant audit effort due to complexity in the aggregation and evaluation of significant amounts of data, and the use of valuation specialists.

Our audit procedures related to broadcast license impairment included the following:

 

   

evaluated management’s judgments in their assessment of identifying changes in market conditions, events or other circumstances that indicate an impairment of broadcast licenses may be present;

 

   

tested the completeness, accuracy, appropriateness of aggregation and relevance of underlying data used in the valuation model based on Greenfield method;

 

   

evaluated the significant assumptions used by management, including normalized market share and profit margin of an average station within a market based upon market size and station type, the forecasted growth rate of each radio market (including long-term growth rate), and the discount rate.    This involved evaluating whether the assumptions used by management were reasonable considering (i) the current and past performance in the market being evaluated, (ii) the consistency with external market and industry data, and (iii) whether these assumptions were consistent with evidence obtained in other areas of the audit.

 

   

utilized valuation specialists to assist in evaluating the appropriateness of valuation model used, evaluating certain assumptions applied in the valuation model, and recalculations of the discounted cash flow schedules.

Realizability of Deferred Tax Assets

As disclosed in Note 14 of the consolidated financial statements, at December 31, 2020, the Company had gross deferred tax assets on deductible temporary differences and carryforwards of $76.9 million reduced by a valuation allowance of $48.1 million. Deferred tax assets must be reduced by a valuation allowance if, based upon the weight of all available evidence, it is more likely than not that some portion, or all, of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. Management considered all available evidence, both positive and negative, including historical levels of income, expectations and risks associated with estimates of future taxable income and ongoing prudent and feasible tax planning strategies in assessing the need for a valuation allowance. Such assessment involves a significant level of judgment and estimation, including complexity in the evaluation of scheduled reversals of deferred tax liabilities, the availability of carryforwards and estimates of projected future taxable income. The valuation allowance primarily related to federal and state net operating loss carryforwards that are more likely than not to not be realized.

We considered auditing the realizability of deferred tax assets to be a critical audit matter because it involved a high degree of subjectivity and audit effort in evaluating management’s estimates and judgments as well as

 

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complexity in the scheduled reversals of deferred tax liabilities, the availability of carryforwards and estimates of projected future taxable income due to uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic. Management’s judgments included assessing that all available positive and negative evidence and ongoing prudent and feasible tax planning strategies are analyzed to determine whether a deferred tax asset or a portion thereof is “more likely than not” to be realized. Our audit of the realizability of deferred tax assets also included the assistance of tax specialists.

Our audit procedures related to realizability of deferred tax assets included the following:

 

   

evaluated management’s judgments over positive and negative evidence related to the likelihood of realization of deferred tax assets, which included cumulative losses in recent years, scheduled reversals of deferred tax liabilities, availability of carryforwards, industry wide declining revenue from reductions in advertising spend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and prudent and feasible tax planning strategies;

 

   

evaluated management’s judgment of the uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact, based on current and forecasted industry and economic trends, on future earnings and verified the information used was consistent with evidence obtained in other areas of the audit;

 

   

utilized tax specialists to evaluate the application of jurisdictional tax laws and regulations used in the Company’s assumptions and calculations and to test the completeness and accuracy of management’s scheduled reversals of deferred tax liabilities, apportionment factors and the availability of carryforwards.

/s/ Crowe LLP

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2016.

Sherman Oaks, California

March 4, 2021

 

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SALEM MEDIA GROUP, INC.

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(Dollars in thousands, except share and per share data)

 

     December 31,  
     2019     2020  
ASSETS     

Current assets:

    

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 6     $ 6,325  

Trade accounts receivable (net of allowances of $10,947 in 2019 and $14,069 in 2020)

     30,824       24,469  

Unbilled revenue

     2,749       3,192  

Other receivables (net of allowances of $— in 2019 and $124 in 2020)

     1,352       1,122  

Inventories (net of reserves of $1,271 in 2019 and $1,499 in 2020)

     717       495  

Prepaid expenses

     5,890       6,847  

Assets held for sale

     185       3,346  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total current assets

     41,723       45,796  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Notes receivable (net of allowance of $954 in 2019 and $461 in 2020)

     667       721  

Property and equipment (net of accumulated depreciation of $173,122 in 2019 and $180,336 in 2020)

     87,673       79,122  

Operating lease right-of-use assets

     54,550       48,203  

Financing lease right-of-use assets

     180       152  

Broadcast licenses

     337,858       319,773  

Goodwill

     23,998       23,757  

Other indefinite-lived intangible assets

     260       —    

Amortizable intangible assets (net of accumulated amortization of $55,617 in 2019 and $58,897 in 2020)

     7,100       4,017  

Deferred financing costs

     224       213  

Other assets

     4,197       2,817  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total assets

   $ 558,430     $ 524,571  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY     

Current liabilities:

    

Accounts payable

   $ 3,468     $ 2,006  

Accrued expenses

     9,395       11,002  

Accrued compensation and related expenses

     7,895       10,242  

Accrued interest

     1,262       1,225  

Contract liabilities

     9,493       11,652  

Deferred rent income

     110       147  

Income taxes payable

     531       563  

Current portion of operating lease liabilities

     8,485       8,963  

Current portion of financing (capital) lease liabilities

     69       60  

Current portion of long-term debt

     12,426       5,000  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total current liabilities

     53,134       50,860  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Long-term debt, less current portion

     216,468       213,764  

Operating lease liabilities, less current portion

     54,050       47,740  

Financing (capital) lease liabilities, less current portion

     124       107  

Deferred income taxes

     38,778       68,883  

Contract liabilities, long-term

     1,744       1,869  

Deferred rent income, less current portion

     3,956       3,864  

Other long-term liabilities

     513       2,205  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total liabilities

     368,767       389,292  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Commitments and contingencies (Note 15)

    

Class A common stock, $0.01 par value; authorized 80,000,000 shares; 23,447,317 and 21,129,667 issued and outstanding at December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively

     227       227  

Class B common stock, $0.01 par value; authorized 20,000,000 shares; 5,553,696 issued and outstanding at December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively

     56       56  

Additional paid-in capital

     246,680       247,025  

Accumulated earnings (deficit)

     (23,294     (78,023

Treasury stock, at cost (2,317,650 shares at December 31, 2019 and 2020)

     (34,006     (34,006
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total stockholders’ equity

     189,663       135,279  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity

   $ 558,430     $ 524,571  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

See accompanying notes

 

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SALEM MEDIA GROUP, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(Dollars in thousands, except share and per share data)

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
             2019                     2020          

Net broadcast revenue

   $ 193,339     $ 178,127  

Net digital media revenue

     39,165       39,593  

Net publishing revenue

     21,394       18,519  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total net revenue

     253,898       236,239  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating expenses:

    

Broadcast operating expenses, exclusive of depreciation and amortization shown below (including $1,873 and $1.753 for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively, paid to related parties)

     149,439       140,942  

Digital media operating expenses, exclusive of depreciation and amortization shown below

     30,801       31,725  

Publishing operating expenses exclusive of depreciation and amortization shown below

     22,348       21,950  

Unallocated corporate expenses, exclusive of depreciation and amortization shown below (including $135 and $207 for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively, paid to related parties)

     15,940       16,194  

Depreciation

     11,297       10,777  

Amortization

     4,637       3,281  

Change in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration

     (41     (12

Impairment of indefinite-lived long-term assets other than goodwill

     2,925       17,254  

Impairment of goodwill

     2,427       307  

Net (gain) loss on the disposition of assets

     22,326       1,575  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     262,099       243,993  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating loss

     (8,201     (7,754

Other income (expense):

    

Interest income

     2       1  

Interest expense

     (17,496     (16,075

Gain on early retirement of long-term debt

     1,670       49  

Net miscellaneous income and (expenses)

     163       (9
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss from operations before income taxes

     (23,862     (23,788

Provision for income taxes

     3,977       30,274  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss

   $ (27,839   $ (54,062
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Basic loss per share data:

    

Basic loss per share Class A and Class B common stock

   $ (1.05   $ (2.03

Diluted loss per share data:

    

Diluted loss per share Class A and Class B common stock

   $ (1.05   $ (2.03

Basic weighted average Class A and Class B shares outstanding

     26,502,934       26,683,363  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Diluted weighted average Class A and Class B shares outstanding

     26,502,934       26,683,363  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

See accompanying notes

 

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SALEM MEDIA GROUP, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY

(Dollars in thousands, except share data)

 

    Class A
Common Stock
    Class B
Common Stock
    Additional
Paid-In

Capital
    Retained
Earnings

(Accumulated
Deficit)
    Treasury
Stock
    Total  
    Shares     Amount     Shares     Amount  

Stockholders’ equity, December 31, 2018

    22,950,066     $ 227       5,553,696     $ 56     $ 245,220     $ 10,372     $ (34,006   $ 221,869  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Distributions per share

  $ 0.26       $ 0.26            

Stock-based compensation

    —         —         —         —         1,460       —         —         1,460  

Options exercised

    200       —         —         —         —         —         —         —    

Lapse of restricted shares

    497,051       —         —         —         —         —         —         —    

Cash distributions

    —         —         —         —         —         (5,827     —         (5,827

Net loss

    —         —         —         —         —         (27,839     —         (27,839
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Stockholders’ equity, December 31, 2019

    23,447,317     $ 227       5,553,696     $ 56     $ 246,680     $ (23,294   $ (34,006   $ 189,663  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Distributions per share

  $ 0.22       $ 0.22            
 

 

 

     

 

 

           

Stock-based compensation

    —         —         —         —         345       —         —         345  

Cash distributions

    —         —         —         —         —         (667     —         (667

Net loss

    —         —         —         —         —         (54,062     —         (54,062
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Stockholders’ equity, December 31, 2020

    23,447,317     $ 227       5,553,696     $ 56     $ 247,025     $ (78,023   $ (34,006   $ 135,279  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Distributions per share

  $ 0.025       $ 0.025            

See accompanying notes

 

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SALEM MEDIA GROUP, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(Dollars in thousands)

     Year Ended December 31,  
           2019                 2020        

OPERATING ACTIVITIES

    

Net loss

   $ (27,839   $ (54,062

Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities:

    

Non-cash stock-based compensation

     1,460       345  

Depreciation and amortization

     15,934       14,058  

Amortization of deferred financing costs

     1,060       889  

Non-cash lease expense

     9,026       8,955  

Accretion of acquisition-related deferred payments and contingent earn-out consideration

     5       —    

Provision for bad debts

     2,066       4,339  

Deferred income taxes

     3,506       30,105  

Impairment of indefinite-lived long-term assets other than goodwill

     2,925       17,254  

Impairment of goodwill

     2,427       307  

Change in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration

     (41     (12

Net (gain) loss on the disposition of assets

     22,326       1,575  

Gain on early retirement of debt

     (1,670     (49

Changes in operating assets and liabilities:

    

Accounts receivable and unbilled revenue

     (595     1,516  

Inventories

     (440     222  

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

     617       (957

Accounts payable and accrued expenses

     (2,009     3,841  

Operating lease liabilities

     (10,112     (9,154

Contract liabilities

     (1,657     2,263  

Deferred rent income

     (209     (308

Other liabilities

     (34     1,692  

Income taxes payable

     264       32  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net cash provided by operating activities

     17,010       22,851  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

INVESTING ACTIVITIES

    

Cash paid for capital expenditures net of tenant improvement allowances

     (7,757     (4,616

Capital expenditures reimbursable under tenant improvement allowances and trade agreements

     (28     (151

Purchases of broadcast assets and radio stations

     (35     —    

Purchases of digital media businesses and assets

     (1,250     (400

Proceeds from sale of assets

     20,741       189  

Proceeds from the cash surrender value of life insurance policies

     —         2,363  

Other

     (738     (329
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities

     10,933       (2,944
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

FINANCING ACTIVITIES

    

Payments to repurchase 6.75% Senior Secured Notes

     (16,751     (3,392

Proceeds from borrowings under ABL Facility

     111,790       39,894  

Payments on ABL Facility

     (119,024     (47,320

Payments of debt issuance costs

     (44     (141

Payments of acquisition-related contingent earn-out consideration

     —         (7

Payment of cash distribution on common stock

     (5,827     (667

Payments on financing lease liabilities

     (83     (70

Book overdraft

     1,885       (1,885
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net cash used in financing activities

     (28,054     (13,588
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents

     (111     6,319  

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year

     117       6  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents at end of year

   $ 6     $ 6,325  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

See accompanying notes

 

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SALEM MEDIA GROUP, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS (CONTINUED)

(Dollars in thousands)

     Year Ended December 31,  
           2019                  2020        

Supplemental disclosures of cash flow information:

     

Cash paid during the year for:

     

Cash paid for interest

   $ 16,530      $ 15,158  

Cash paid for interest on finance lease liabilities

   $ 9      $ 7  

Cash paid for income taxes, net of refunds

   $ 207      $ 137  

Other supplemental disclosures of cash flow information:

     

Barter revenue

   $ 5,688      $ 2,848  

Barter expense

   $ 5,075      $ 2,953  

Non-cash investing and financing activities:

     

Capital expenditures reimbursable under tenant improvement allowances

   $ 28      $ 151  

Non-cash capital expenditures for property & equipment acquired under trade agreements

   $ 45      $ 20  

Deferred payments on acquisitions

   $ —        $ 708  

Right-of-use assets acquired through operating leases

   $ 1,882      $ 4,186  

Right-of-use assets acquired through financing leases

   $ 24      $ 45  

Estimated present value of contingent-earn out consideration

   $ 19      $ —    

See accompanying notes

 

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SALEM MEDIA GROUP, INC.

NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

NOTE 1. BASIS OF PRESENTATION

Description of Business

Salem Media Group, Inc. (“Salem” “we,” “us,” “our” or the “company”) is a domestic multimedia company specializing in Christian and conservative content. Our media properties include radio broadcasting, digital media, and publishing entities. We have three operating segments: (1) Broadcast, (2) Digital Media, and (3) Publishing, which are discussed in Note 20. Segment Data.

The accompanying Consolidated Financial Statements of Salem include the company and its wholly owned subsidiaries. All significant intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a global pandemic. The responses by federal, state and local governments to restrict public gatherings and travel rapidly grew to include stay-at-home orders, school closures and mandatory restrictions on non-essential businesses and services that has adversely affected workforces, certain economies, and financial markets resulting in a significant economic downturn. We experienced declining revenue from advertising, programming, events and book sales. Several advertisers reduced or ceased advertising spend due to the outbreak and stay-at-home orders that effectively shut many businesses down. This was particularly true within our broadcast segment, which derives substantial revenue from local advertisers who have been particularly hard hit due to social distancing and government interventions and in our publishing segment that sells books in retail stores and through live events.

While this disruption is expected to be temporary, there remains to be considerable uncertainty around the duration. Although advertising revenue continues to improve from the lowest levels experienced during April and May of 2020, it remains significantly below prior years. The exact timing and pace of the recovery has not been determinable as certain markets have reopened, some of which have since experienced a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, resulting in varying degrees of reinstated stay-at-home orders. Due to continuing uncertainties regarding the ultimate scope and trajectory of COVID-19’s spread and evolution, it is impossible to predict the total impact that the pandemic will have on our business. If public and private entities continue to enforce restrictive measures, the material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows could persist. Our businesses could also continue to be impacted by the disruptions from COVID-19 and resulting adverse changes in advertising customers and consumer behavior.

Future availability under our credit facility is contingent upon our eligible receivable balance, which is negatively impacted by lower revenue and longer days to collect. Availability under our Asset Based Loan (“ABL Facility”) is subject to a borrowing base consisting of (a) 90% of the eligible accounts receivable plus (b) a calculated amount based on the value of certain real property. The maximum amount available under our ABL Facility declined to $24.2 million at December 31, 2020 from $26.4 million at December 31, 2019, of which $5.0 million was outstanding at December 31, 2020 compared to $12.4 million outstanding at December 31, 2019.

In response to these developments, beginning in March 2020, we implemented several measures to reduce costs and conserve cash to ensure that we have adequate cash to meet our debt servicing requirements, including:

 

   

limiting capital expenditures;

 

   

reducing discretionary spending, including travel and entertainment;

 

   

eliminating open positions and freezing new hires;

 

   

reducing staffing levels;

 

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implementing temporary company-wide pay cuts of 5%, 7.5% or 10% depending on salary level;

 

   

furloughing certain employees;

 

   

temporarily suspending the company 401(k) match;

 

   

requesting rent concessions from landlords;

 

   

requesting discounts from vendors;

 

   

offering early payment discounts to certain customers in exchange for advance cash payments; and

 

   

suspending the payment of distributions on our common stock indefinitely.

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) was signed into law. The CARES Act provides opportunities for additional liquidity, loan guarantees, and other government programs to support companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and their employees. On December 27, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (“CAA”) that includes a second relief package, which, among other things, provides for an extension of the Payroll Support Program established by the CARES Act. We have utilized certain benefits of the CARES Act, and we may be entitled to benefits under the CAA based on our individual locations, including:

 

   

the deferral of all employer FICA taxes beginning in April 2020 for the remainder of 2020, with 50% payable in December 2021 and the remainder payable in December 2022;

 

   

relaxation of interest expense deduction limitation for income tax purposes; and

 

   

Payroll Protection Plan (“PPP”) loans available based on the eligibility determined on a per-location basis of up to $11.2 million on a consolidated basis.

We believe that our customers have benefited from the enhanced benefits provided by the CARES Act, and that they will also benefit from the CAA. The CAA provides for another round of direct payments, enhanced unemployment benefits, education funding, and aid to sectors still reeling from the economic fallout of the pandemic. While these measures may benefit many of our customers, we cannot assure you that the implementation of these measures will offset the negative impact of COVID-19 on our customers. If the CAA or any additional stimulus measures are not sufficient to remediate the financial stress on our customers as a result of the pandemic, we may experience ongoing challenges in growing and maintain revenue and we may experience an increase in delinquencies that could materially and adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition in future periods.

We continue to review and consider any available potential benefit under the CARES Act and the CAA for which we qualify. We cannot predict the manner in which such benefits or any of the other benefits described herein will be allocated or administered and we cannot assure you that we will be able to access such benefits in a timely manner or at all. If the U.S. government or any other governmental authority agrees to provide such aid under the CARES Act, the CAA, or any other crisis relief assistance it may impose certain requirements on the recipients of the aid, including restrictions on executive officer compensation, dividends, prepayment of debt, limitations on debt and other similar restrictions that may apply for a period of time after the aid is repaid or redeemed in full.

Due to the adverse economic impact, we reforecast our anticipated results extending through March 2022. Our reforecast includes the impact of certain of these cost-cutting measures. Based on our current and expected economic outlook and our current and expected funding needs, we believe that the borrowing capacity under our current credit facilities, together with cash on hand, allows us to meet our ongoing operating requirements, fund necessary capital expenditures and satisfy our debt service requirements for at least the next twelve months, including the working capital deficit at December 31, 2020. Based on our current assessment, we believe that we have the ability to meet our obligations as they come due for one year from the issuance of this annual report.

 

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Use of Estimates

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the financial statements and accompanying notes. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

Significant areas for which management uses estimates include:

 

   

going concern evaluations;

 

   

revenue recognition;

 

   

asset impairments, including broadcasting licenses, goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets;

 

   

probabilities associated with the potential for contingent earn-out consideration;

 

   

fair value measurements;

 

   

contingency reserves;

 

   

allowance for doubtful accounts;

 

   

sales returns and allowances;

 

   

barter transactions;

 

   

inventory reserves;

 

   

reserves for royalty advances;

 

   

fair value of equity awards;

 

   

self-insurance reserves;

 

   

estimated lives for tangible and intangible assets;

 

   

assessment of contract-based factors, asset-based factors, entity-based factors and market-based factors to determine the lease term impacting Right-Of-Use (“ROU”) assets and lease liabilities;

 

   

determining the Incremental Borrowing Rate (“IBR”) for calculating ROU assets and lease liabilities;

 

   

income tax valuation allowances; and

 

   

uncertain tax positions.

NOTE 2. SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Cash and Cash Equivalents

We consider all highly liquid debt instruments, purchased with an initial maturity of three-months or less, to be cash equivalents. The carrying value of our cash and cash equivalents approximated fair value at each balance sheet date.

Trade Accounts Receivable and Unbilled Revenue

Trade accounts receivable, net of allowances: Trade accounts receivable includes amounts billed and due from our customers stated at their net estimated realizable value to be settled in cash. Trade accounts receivable for our self-publishing services represent contractual amounts due under individual payment plans that are adjusted quarterly to exclude unearned or cancellable contracts.

 

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Unbilled revenue: Unbilled revenue represents revenue recognized in excess of the amounts billed to our customer. Unbilled revenue results from differences in the Broadcast Calendar and the end of the reporting period. The Broadcast Calendar is a uniform billing period adopted by broadcasters, agencies and advertisers for billing and planning functions. The Broadcast Calendar uses a standard broadcast week that starts on Monday and ends on Sunday with month end on the last Sunday of the calendar month. We recognize revenue based on the calendar month end and adjust for unbilled revenue when the Broadcast Calendar billings are at an earlier date as applicable. We bill our customers at the end-of-flight, end of the Broadcast Calendar or at calendar month end, as applicable, with standard payments terms of thirty days.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

We maintain an allowance for doubtful accounts to provide for the estimated amount of receivables that may not be collected. The allowance is based on our historical collection experience, the age of the receivables, specific customer information and current economic conditions. Past due balances are generally not written-off until all collection efforts have been exhausted, including use of a collection agency. A considerable amount of judgment is required in assessing the likelihood of ultimate realization of these receivables, including the current creditworthiness of each customer. If the financial condition of our customers were to deteriorate, resulting in an impairment of their ability to make payments, additional allowances may be required. We have not modified our estimate methodology and we have not historically recognized significant losses from changes in our estimates. We believe that our estimates and assumptions are reasonable and that our reserves are accurately reflected. We do not include extended payment terms in our contracts with customers.

Inventory

Inventories consist of published books recorded at the lower of cost or net realizable value as determined on a First-In First-Out (“FIFO”) cost method.

Inventory Reserves

We record a provision to expense the balance of unsold inventory that we believe to be unrecoverable. We review historical data associated with book inventories and our own experiences to estimate the fair value of inventory on hand. Our analysis includes a review of actual sales returns, our allowances, royalty reserves, overall economic conditions and product demand. We regularly monitor actual performance to our estimates and make adjustments as necessary. Estimated inventory reserves may be adjusted, either favorably or unfavorably, if factors such as the historical data we used to calculate these estimates do not properly reflect future returns or as a result of changes in economic conditions of the customer and/or the market. We have not modified our estimate methodology and we have not historically recognized significant losses from changes in our estimates. We believe that our estimates and assumptions are reasonable and that our reserves are accurately reflected.

Property and Equipment

We account for property and equipment in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 360-10,Property, Plant and Equipment.” Property and equipment are recorded at cost less accumulated depreciation. Cost represents the historical cost of acquiring the asset, including the costs necessarily incurred to bring it to the condition and location necessary for its intended use. For assets constructed for our own use, such as towers and buildings that are discrete projects for which costs are separately accumulated and for which construction takes considerable time, we record capitalized interest. The amount of interest capitalized is the cost that could have been avoided had the asset not been constructed and is based on the average accumulated expenditures incurred over the capitalization period at the weighted average interest rate applicable to our outstanding variable rate debt. We capitalized interest of $27,000 and $0.2 million during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019. Repair and

maintenance costs are charged to expense as incurred. Improvements are capitalized if they extend the life of the

 

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asset or enhance the quality or ability of the asset to benefit operations. Depreciation is computed using the straight-line method over estimated useful lives as follows:

 

Category

  

Estimated Life

Buildings

   40 years

Office furnishings and equipment

   5 -10 years

Antennae, towers and transmitting equipment

   10 -20 years

Studio, production, and mobile equipment

   5 - 7 years

Computer software and website development costs

   3 years

Record and tape libraries

   3 years

Automobiles

   5 years

Leasehold improvements

   Lesser of the useful life or
remaining lease term

The carrying value of property and equipment is evaluated periodically in relation to the operating performance and anticipated future cash flows of the underlying radio stations and business units for indicators of impairment. When indicators of impairment are present, and the cash flows estimated to be generated from these assets is less than the carrying value, an adjustment to reduce the carrying value to the fair market value of the assets is recorded. See Note 6, Property and Equipment.

Internally Developed Software and Website Development Costs

We capitalize costs incurred during the application development stage related to the development of internal-use software as specified in the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 350-40Internal-Use Software.” Capitalized costs are generally depreciated over the estimated useful life of three years. Costs incurred related to the conceptual design and maintenance of internal-use software are expensed as incurred. Website development activities include planning, design and development of graphics and content for new websites and operation of existing sites. Costs incurred that involve providing additional functions and features to the website are capitalized. Costs associated with website planning, maintenance, content development and training are expensed as incurred. We capitalized $3.4 million and $2.7 million during the years ended December 31, 2020, and 2019, respectively, related to internally developed software and website development costs. Depreciation expense of the amounts capitalized was $2.8 million and $2.6 million for each of the years ending December 31, 2020, and 2019, respectively.

Broadcast Licenses

We account for broadcast licenses in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 350 “Intangibles—Goodwill and Other.” We do not amortize broadcast licenses, but rather test for impairment annually or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate that the value may be impaired.

Impairment testing requires an estimate of the fair value of our indefinite-lived intangible assets. We believe that these estimates of fair value are critical accounting estimates as the value is significant in relation to our total assets and the estimates incorporate variables and assumptions based on our experiences and judgment about our future operating performance. Fair value measurements use significant unobservable inputs that reflect our own assumptions about the estimates that market participants would use in measuring fair value, including assumptions about risk. If actual future results are less favorable than the assumptions and estimates used in our estimates, we are subject to future impairment charges, the amount of which may be material. The unobservable inputs are defined in FASB ASC Topic 820 “Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures” as Level 3 inputs discussed in detail in Note 13, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures.

We perform our annual impairment testing during the fourth quarter of each year as discussed in Note 8, Broadcast Licenses.

 

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Goodwill

We account for goodwill in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 350 “Intangibles—Goodwill and Other.” We do not amortize goodwill, but rather test for impairment annually or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate that an asset may be impaired.

Impairment testing requires an estimate of the fair value of our indefinite-lived intangible assets. We believe that these estimates of fair value are critical accounting estimates as the value is significant in relation to our total assets and the estimates incorporate variables and assumptions based on our experiences and judgment about our future operating performance. Fair value measurements use significant unobservable inputs that reflect our own assumptions about the estimates that market participants would use in measuring fair value, including assumptions about risk. If actual future results are less favorable than the assumptions and estimates used in our estimates, we are subject to future impairment charges, the amount of which may be material. The unobservable inputs are defined in FASB ASC Topic 820 “Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures” as Level 3 inputs discussed in detail in Note 13, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures.

We perform our annual impairment testing during the fourth quarter of each year as discussed in Note 9, Goodwill.

Amortizable Intangible Assets

Intangible assets are recorded at cost less accumulated amortization. Typically, intangible assets are acquired in conjunction with the acquisition of broadcast entities, digital media entities and publishing entities. These intangibles are amortized using the straight-line method over the following estimated useful lives:

 

Category