Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Impairment of Goodwill and Other Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets

Impairment of Goodwill and Other Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2018
Goodwill and Intangible Assets Disclosure [Abstract]  
Impairment of Goodwill and Other Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets


Approximately 71% of our total assets as of September 30, 2018 consist of indefinite-lived intangible assets, such as broadcast licenses, goodwill and mastheads, the value of which depends significantly upon the operating results of our businesses. In the case of our radio stations, we would not be able to operate the properties without the related FCC license for each station. Broadcast licenses are renewed with the FCC every eight years for a nominal cost that is expensed as incurred. We continually monitor our stations’ compliance with the various regulatory requirements. Historically, all of our broadcast licenses have been renewed at the end of their respective periods, and we expect that all broadcast licenses will continue to be renewed in the future. Accordingly, we consider our broadcast licenses to be indefinite-lived intangible assets in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 350, Intangibles – Goodwill and Other. Broadcast licenses account for approximately 93% of our indefinite-lived intangible assets. Goodwill and mastheads account for the remaining 7%. We do not amortize goodwill or other indefinite-lived intangible assets, but rather test for impairment at least annually or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate that an asset may be impaired.


We complete our annual impairment tests in the fourth quarter of each year. We believe that our estimate of the value of our broadcast licenses, mastheads, and goodwill is a critical accounting estimate as the value is significant in relation to our total assets, and our estimates incorporate variables and assumptions that are based on past experiences and judgment about future operating performance of our markets and business segments. If actual operating results are less favorable than the assumptions and estimates we used, or if we reduce our estimates of future operating results, we are subject to future impairment charges, 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 16.

During the second quarter of 2018, we entered into an agreement to sell radio station KGBI-FM at a price that was less than our carrying amount. When considering the sale price during our qualitative assessment, we noted it was more likely than not that the fair value of the Omaha market cluster was less than its carrying amount. We performed the first step of the two-step impairment test by estimating the fair value of the market cluster remaining to the carrying value. The first step test indicated that the fair value of the market cluster exceeded the carrying amount by 7%. We did not perform step 2 of the impairment test based on these results.

The estimated fair value of the Omaha 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 an FCC license is equivalent to a hypothetical start-up in which the only asset owned by the station as of the valuation date is the FCC license. This approach eliminates factors that are unique to the 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 FCC license is being utilized as of the valuation date. Cash flows are estimated and netted against all start-up costs, expenses and investments necessary to achieve a normalized and mature state of operations, thus reflecting only the cash flows directly attributable to the FCC 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 “ramp-up” period to reach normalized operations, (which was assumed to be three years),



estimated start-up costs (based on market size),



ongoing replacement costs of fixed assets and working capital,

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 start-up income valuation for our broadcast licenses were as follows:


Long-term market revenue growth rate


Operating profit margin ranges

   (13.9)% -30.8%

Risk-adjusted discount rate


There were no other indications of impairment during the period ended September 30, 2018. During the period ended June 30, 2017, we recorded an impairment charge of $19,000 associated with mastheads based on our decision to cease publishing Preaching Magazine, YouthWorker Journal, FaithTalk Magazine and Homecoming® The Magazine upon delivery of the May 2017 print publications.