Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Broadcast Licenses

Broadcast Licenses
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2022
Text Block [Abstract]  
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. In the case of our broadcast radio stations, we would not be able to operate the properties without the related broadcast license for each property. Broadcast licenses are renewed with the FCC every eight years for a nominal fee that is expensed as incurred. We continually monitor our stations’ compliance with the various regulatory requirements that are necessary for the FCC renewal and all of our broadcast licenses have been renewed at the end of their respective periods. We expect all of our broadcast licenses to be renewed in the future and therefore, we consider our broadcast licenses to be indefinite-lived intangible assets. We are not aware of any legal, competitive, economic or other factors that materially limit the useful life of our broadcast licenses.
The following table presents the changes in broadcasting licenses that include acquisitions and divestitures of radio stations and FM translators.

Broadcast Licenses
   Twelve Months Ended
December 31, 2021
Nine Months Ended

September 30, 2022
(Dollars in thousands)
Balance before cumulative loss on impairment, beginning of period
   $ 434,209     
Accumulated loss on impairment, beginning of period
     (114,436      (114,436
Balance after cumulative loss on impairment, beginning of period
Acquisitions of radio stations
     235        190  
Dispositions of radio stations and FM translators
     —          (2,763
Loss on impairment
     —          (11,660
Balance, end of period after cumulative loss on impairment
   $ 320,008     
Balance, end of period before cumulative loss on impairment
   $ 434,444     
Accumulated loss on impairment, end of period
     (114,436      (123,791
Balance, end of period after cumulative loss on impairment
   $ 320,008     
As a result of declining revenue growth projections forecasted by industry analysts, we performed an interim review of broadcast licenses for impairment at September 30, 2022. We updated our interim valuations from the June 2022 testing period to reflect the lower projected revenue forecast for 2022 and lower growth rates for 2023 and thereafter. Our June 2022 testing period also reflected an increase in the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (“WACC”) as a result of rising interest rates noted during 2022. We performed an assessment of the amount by which the most recent estimated fair value exceeded the carrying value of the broadcast license and our
market revenue as compared to the forecasted market revenue used in the prior valuations under the
income approach.
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 12 – Fair Value Measurements.
Based on our assessment, we engaged Bond & Pecaro, an independent third-party appraisal and valuation firm, to assist us with determining the enterprise value of 13 of our market clusters. The estimated fair value of each market cluster was determined using the Greenfield Method, a form of the income approach. The premise of the Greenfield Method is that the value of a broadcast license is equivalent to a hypothetical
in which the only asset owned by the station as of the valuation date is the broadcast license. This approach eliminates factors that are unique to our operation of the station, including its format and historical financial performance. The method then assumes the entity has to purchase, build, or rent all of the other assets needed to operate a comparable station to the one in which the broadcast license is being utilized as of the valuation date. Cash flows are estimated and netted against all
costs, expenses and investments necessary to achieve a normalized and mature state of operations, thus reflecting only the cash flows directly attributable to the broadcast license. A multi-year discounted cash flow approach is then used to determine the net present value of these cash flows to derive an indication of fair value. For cash flows beyond the projection period, a terminal value is calculated using the Gordon constant growth model and long-term industry growth rate assumptions based on long-term industry growth and Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”) inflation rates.
The primary assumptions used in the Greenfield Method are:
gross operating revenue in the station’s designated market area,
normalized market share,
normalized profit margin,
duration of the
period to reach normalized operations, (which was assumed to be three years),
costs (based on market size),
ongoing replacement costs of fixed assets and working capital,
the calculations of yearly net free cash flows to invested capital; and
amortization of the intangible asset, or the broadcast license.
The assumptions used reflect those of a hypothetical market participant and not necessarily the actual or projected results of Salem. The key estimates and assumptions used in the
income valuation for our broadcast licenses were as follows:
Broadcast Licenses
   December 31, 2021    June 30, 2022   
September 30, 2022
Risk-adjusted discount rate
   8.5%    9.5%   
Operating profit margin ranges
   3.9%—30.9%%    3.9%—30.9%   
Long-term revenue growth rates
   0.4%—0.7%    0.4%—0.7%   
The risk-adjusted discount rate reflects the WACC developed based on data from same or similar industry participants and publicly available market data as of the measurement date.
Based on our review and analysis, we determined that the carrying value of broadcast licenses in 12 of our market clusters w
impaired as of the interim testing period ended September 30, 2022. We recorded an impairment charge of $7.7 
million to the value of broadcast licenses in Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Greenville, Honolulu, Little Rock, Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland, Sacramento, and San Francisco. The impairment charge was driven by a decline in projected revenues for the broadcast industry impacting the remainder of 2022 and a reduction in the future industry growth rates based on current economic indicators. During the interim period ended June 30, 2022, we recorded an impairment charge of $
3.9 million to the value of broadcast licenses in Columbus, Dallas, Greenville, Honolulu, Orlando, Portland, and Sacramento. The impairment charge was driven by an increase in the WACC that was partially offset with improvements in revenue growth rates over those used in the
valuation forecasts. We believe that these factors are indicative of trends in the industry as a whole and not unique to our company or operations.
The table below presents the results of our interim impairment testing under the
income approach at September 30, 2022:
Market Cluster
Excess Fair Value
September 30, 2022
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Cleveland, OH
Columbus, OH
Dallas, TX
Greenville, SC
Honolulu, HI
Little Rock, AR
Orlando FL
Philadelphia, PA
Portland, OR
Sacramento, CA
San Francisco, CA