June 3, 2010 / 7:00 PM / in 8 years

Radio's 2009 revenue bruised by recession

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s commercial radio stations were badly bruised by last year’s recession-driven clampdown on advertising budgets, with revenue down 5.2 percent from 2008, the industry’s regulator said on Thursday.

The country’s AM and FM stations generated C$1.5 billion ($1.4 billion) in revenue, while cutting costs by 1.7 percent to C$1.19 billion, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said in its 2009 report on financial results.

Total profit before interest and taxes was C$271.6 million, resulting in an 18 percent profit margin, down from a 21 percent margin in 2008 on profit of C$334.9 million.

There were 23 new FM stations in 2009 for a total of 495 as of August 31, when the broadcast year ends, while there were seven fewer AM stations, at 149.

The sector includes a handful of publicly traded companies that have other media, cable and telecommunications assets.

Astral Media owns 83 stations, Rogers Communications Inc owns 54 radio stations, and Corus Entertainment has 50 stations.

Cogeco Inc bought 11 Quebec radio stations from Corus for C$55.7 million in mid-April, adding to the five stations it already had in the French-speaking province.

CTVglobemedia, which is owned by BCE Inc, Torstar Corp, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Woodbridge Co, the private holding company of the Thomson family, has 34 stations.

Reporting by Susan Taylor; editing by Peter Galloway

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