Company Quick10K Filing
Emmis Communications
Price4.43 EPS0
Shares13 P/E15
MCap59 P/FCF21
Net Debt76 EBIT15
TEV135 TEV/EBIT9
TTM 2019-05-31, in MM, except price, ratios
10-K 2020-02-29 Filed 2020-05-14
10-Q 2019-11-30 Filed 2020-01-09
10-Q 2019-08-31 Filed 2019-10-10
10-Q 2019-05-31 Filed 2019-07-11
10-K 2019-02-28 Filed 2019-05-09
10-Q 2018-11-30 Filed 2019-01-10
10-Q 2018-08-31 Filed 2018-10-11
10-Q 2018-05-31 Filed 2018-07-12
10-K 2018-02-28 Filed 2018-05-10
10-Q 2017-11-30 Filed 2018-01-11
10-Q 2017-08-31 Filed 2017-10-12
10-Q 2017-05-31 Filed 2017-07-13
10-K 2017-02-28 Filed 2017-05-11
10-Q 2016-11-30 Filed 2017-01-05
10-Q 2016-08-31 Filed 2016-10-06
10-Q 2016-05-31 Filed 2016-07-07
10-K 2016-02-29 Filed 2016-05-05
10-Q 2015-11-30 Filed 2016-01-07
10-Q 2015-08-31 Filed 2015-10-08
10-Q 2015-05-31 Filed 2015-07-09
10-K 2015-02-28 Filed 2015-05-07
10-Q 2014-11-30 Filed 2015-01-08
10-Q 2014-08-31 Filed 2014-10-09
10-Q 2014-05-31 Filed 2014-07-09
10-K 2014-02-28 Filed 2014-05-08
10-Q 2013-11-30 Filed 2014-01-09
10-Q 2013-08-31 Filed 2013-10-10
10-K 2013-02-28 Filed 2013-05-08
10-Q 2012-11-30 Filed 2013-01-10
10-Q 2012-08-31 Filed 2012-10-11
10-Q 2012-05-31 Filed 2012-07-12
10-K 2012-02-29 Filed 2012-05-10
10-Q 2011-11-30 Filed 2012-01-12
10-Q 2011-08-31 Filed 2011-10-13
10-Q 2011-05-31 Filed 2011-07-13
10-K 2011-02-28 Filed 2011-05-10
10-Q 2010-11-30 Filed 2011-01-11
10-Q 2010-08-31 Filed 2010-10-15
10-Q 2010-05-31 Filed 2010-07-15
10-K 2010-02-28 Filed 2010-05-07
10-Q 2009-11-30 Filed 2010-01-08
8-K 2020-04-21
8-K 2020-04-13
8-K 2020-03-10
8-K 2020-02-10
8-K 2019-11-27
8-K 2019-11-25
8-K 2019-11-08
8-K 2019-10-01
8-K 2019-08-01
8-K 2019-07-11
8-K 2019-07-11
8-K 2019-06-28
8-K 2019-06-07
8-K 2019-05-09
8-K 2019-04-12
8-K 2019-03-01
8-K 2019-01-10
8-K 2018-10-11
8-K 2018-07-12
8-K 2018-07-12
8-K 2018-06-29
8-K 2018-05-10
8-K 2018-04-30
8-K 2018-03-01
8-K 2018-02-22
8-K 2018-01-30
8-K 2018-01-11

EMMS 10K Annual Report

Part I
Item 1. Business.
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.
Item 2. Properties.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
Item 6. Selected Financial Data.
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure.
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures
Item 9B. Other Information
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11. Executive Compensation.
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters.
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions and Director Independence.
Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services.
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules.
Item 16. Form 10 - K Summary.
EX-21 emms-ex21_10.htm
EX-24 emms-ex24_9.htm
EX-31.1 emms-ex311_8.htm
EX-31.2 emms-ex312_16.htm
EX-32.1 emms-ex321_18.htm
EX-32.2 emms-ex322_15.htm

Emmis Communications Earnings 2020-02-29

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow
50038827616452-602012201420172020
Assets, Equity
75381-36-73-1102012201420172020
Rev, G Profit, Net Income
1358127-27-81-1352012201420172020
Ops, Inv, Fin

10-K 1 emms-10k_20200229.htm 10-K emms-10k_20200229.htm

Table Of Contents

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

(Mark One)

Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of The Securities Exchange Act of 1934

for the Fiscal Year Ended February 29, 2020

Transition Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of The Securities Exchange Act of 1934

for the Transition Period from                      to                      .

Commission File Number 0-23264

EMMIS COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

INDIANA

(State of incorporation or organization)

35-1542018

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

ONE EMMIS PLAZA

40 MONUMENT CIRCLE

SUITE 700

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA 46204

(Address of principal executive offices)

(317) 266-0100

(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)

SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(B) OF THE ACT:

Title of each class

Trading symbol(s)

Name of each exchange on which registered

Class A common stock, $0.01 par value

EMMS

Nasdaq Global Select 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 Act.    Yes       No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all documents and 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, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See 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 pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

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

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, as of August 30, 2019, the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was approximately $53,254,000.

The number of shares outstanding of each of Emmis Communications Corporation’s classes of common stock, as of May 8, 2020, was:

12,156,766         Class A Common Shares, $.01 par value

1,242,366     Class B Common Shares, $.01 par value

          0          Class C Common Shares, $.01 par value

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

Documents

Form 10-K Reference

Proxy Statement for 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders

expected to be filed within 120 days

Part III

 

 


Table Of Contents

 

EMMIS COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES

FORM 10-K

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

Page

PART I

4

Item 1. Business

4

Item 1A. Risk Factors

11

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

16

Item 2. Properties

16

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

17

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

17

 

 

PART II

18

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

18

Item 6. Selected Financial Data

18

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

19

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

30

Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

31

Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

63

Item 9A. Controls and Procedures

63

Item 9B. Other Information

63

 

 

PART III

64

Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

64

Item 11. Executive Compensation

64

Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners, and Management, and Related Stockholder Matters

64

Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions and Director Independence

64

Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services

64

 

 

PART IV

65

Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

65

Item 16. Form 10-K Summary

66

 

 

Signatures

67

 

2


Table Of Contents

 

CERTAIN DEFINITIONS

Unless the context requires otherwise, all references in this report to “Emmis,” “the Company,” “we,” “our,” “us,” and similar terms refer to Emmis Communications Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This report includes or incorporates forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. You can identify these forward-looking statements by our use of words such as “intend,” “plan,” “may,” “will,” “project,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “expect,” “continue,” “potential,” “opportunity” and similar expressions, whether in the negative or affirmative. Such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof, are based on managements’ estimates, assumptions and beliefs regarding our future plans, intention and expectations. We cannot guarantee that we will achieve these plans, intentions or expectations. All statements regarding our expected financial position, business, results of operations and financing plans are forward-looking statements.

Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in the forward-looking statements we make. We have included important facts in various cautionary statements in this report that we believe could cause our actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements that we make. These include, but are not limited to, the factors described in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors.”

The forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any future acquisitions, mergers or dispositions. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements because of new information, future events or otherwise.

3


Table Of Contents

 

PART I

ITEM 1. BUSINESS.

GENERAL

We are a diversified media company, formed in 1980, principally focused on radio broadcasting. Emmis owns 4 FM and 2 AM radio stations in New York and Indianapolis. One of the FM radio stations that Emmis currently owns in New York is operated pursuant to a Local Marketing Agreement (“LMA”) whereby a third party provides the programming for the station and sells all advertising within that programming. In addition to our radio properties, we also publish Indianapolis Monthly and operate a dynamic pricing business (“Digonex”). In March 2020, we acquired the sound masking business of Lencore Acoustics Corporation for $75.1 million as part of our operating strategy to diversify into businesses that display better growth characteristics than the radio and magazine businesses that have historically comprised substantially all of our operating results.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Delisting of our common stock from Nasdaq

On April 21, 2020, our Board of Directors determined to voluntarily delist the Company’s Class A common stock from The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”). On April 24, 2020, the Company notified Nasdaq of the Board’s determination, issued a press release, posted the press release on our website and filed a Current Report on Form 8-K. On May 4, 2020, the Company filed with the SEC a Form 25 requesting the delisting of its Class A common stock from Nasdaq and the deregistration of its common stock under Section 12(b) of the Exchange Act. The last day of trading in our Class A common stock was May 13, 2020. After delisting, the Company’s Class A common stock may be eligible for quotation on the OTC Markets Group if market makers commit to making a market in the Company’s shares. The Company can provide no assurance that trading in its Class A common stock will continue on the OTC Markets Group or otherwise.

After the effectiveness of the Form 25, the Company intends to file with the SEC, on or about May 14, 2020, a Form 15 requesting the deregistration of its Class A common stock under Section 12(g) of the Exchange Act and the suspension of the Company’s reporting obligations under Sections 13 and 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Accordingly, we expect that this will be our last Annual Report on Form 10-K.

BUSINESS STRATEGY

We are committed to improving the operating results of our core assets while simultaneously seeking future growth opportunities in new businesses. Our strategy is focused on the following operating principles:

Develop unique and compelling content and strong local brands

Most of our established local media brands have achieved and sustained a leading position in their respective market segments over many years. Knowledge of local markets and consistently producing unique and compelling content that meets the needs of our target audiences are critical to our success. As such, we make substantial investments in areas such as market research, data analysis and creative talent to ensure that our content remains relevant, has a meaningful impact on the communities we serve and reinforces the core brand image of each respective property.

Extend the reach and relevance of our local brands through digital platforms

In recent years, we have placed substantial emphasis on enhancing the distribution of our content through digital and mobile platforms. We believe these digital platforms offer excellent opportunities to further enhance the relationships we have with our audiences by allowing them to consume and share our content in new ways and providing us with new distribution channels for one-to-one communication with them.

Deliver results to advertisers

Competition for advertising revenue is intense and becoming more so. To remain competitive, we focus on sustaining and growing our audiences, optimizing our pricing strategy and developing innovative marketing programs for our clients that allow them to interact with our audiences in more direct and measurable ways. These programs often include elements such as on-air endorsements, events, contests, special promotions, Internet advertising, email marketing, interactive mobile advertising and online video. Our ability to deploy multi-touchpoint marketing programs allows us to deliver a stronger return-on-investment for our clients while simultaneously generating ancillary revenue streams for our media properties.

Extend sales efforts into new market segments

Given the competitive pressures in many of our “traditional” advertising categories, we have been expanding our network of advertiser relationships into not-for-profits, political advertising, corporate philanthropy, environmental initiatives and government agencies. These efforts primarily focus on the health care and education sectors. We believe our capabilities can address these clients’ under-served needs.

Enhance the efficiency of our operations

We believe it is essential that we operate our businesses as efficiently as possible. We regularly review our business operations and reduce costs or realign resources as necessary. We have also invested in common technology platforms across all of our radio stations to help further standardize our business processes.

4


Table Of Contents

 

Pursue new businesses that display better growth characteristics

Advertising revenues in our radio and magazine businesses remain under heavy pressure by new forms of digital media. We have experienced steady declines in our advertising revenues, partially offset by the growth we have been able to generate from our events and digital initiatives. In recent years, we have been divesting radio stations and magazines to repay our indebtedness and reduce our exposure to these businesses. We intend to continue to explore diversification of our business and seek to acquire new businesses with proven business models and strong growth prospects where we can apply our marketing, management and restructuring expertise to accelerate growth.

RADIO STATIONS

In the following table, “Market Rank by Revenue” is the ranking of the market revenue size of the principal radio market served by our stations among all radio markets in the United States. Market revenue rankings are from BIA/Kelsey’s Media Access Pro database as of April 13, 2020. “Ranking in Primary Demographic Target” is the ranking of the station within its designated primary demographic target among all radio stations in its market based on the March 2020 Nielsen Audio, Inc. (“Nielsen”) Portable People Meter results. A “t” indicates the station tied with another station for the stated ranking. “Station Audience Share” represents a percentage generally computed by dividing the average number of persons in the primary demographic listening to a particular station during specified time periods by the average number of such persons in the primary demographic for all stations in the market area as determined by Nielsen.

 

STATION AND MARKET

 

MARKET

RANK BY

REVENUE

 

 

FORMAT

 

PRIMARY

DEMOGRAPHIC

TARGET AGES

 

RANKING IN

PRIMARY

DEMOGRAPHIC

TARGET

 

STATION

AUDIENCE

SHARE

New York, NY1

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WLIB-AM

 

 

 

 

 

Urban Gospel

 

25-54

 

36t

 

0.2

Indianapolis, IN

 

 

37

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WFNI-AM

 

 

 

 

 

Sports Talk

 

25-54

 

14t

 

3.3

WYXB-FM

 

 

 

 

 

Soft Adult Contemporary

 

25-54

 

1

 

9.6

WLHK-FM

 

 

 

 

 

Country

 

25-54

 

2

 

8.4

WIBC-FM

 

 

 

 

 

News/Talk

 

35-64

 

5

 

6.7

 

1

Our second owned station in New York, WEPN-FM, is being operated pursuant to an LMA. Under the terms of the LMA, New York AM Radio LLC, a subsidiary of Disney Enterprises, Inc., provides the programming for the station and sells all advertising within that programming. Emmis continues to own and operate WEPN-FM.

In addition to our other radio broadcasting operations, we own and operate Network Indiana, a radio network that provides news and other programming to approximately 70 affiliated radio stations in Indiana.

ADVERTISING SALES

Our stations derive their advertising revenue from local and regional advertising in the marketplaces in which they operate, as well as from the sale of national advertising. Local and most regional sales are made by a station’s or magazine’s sales staff. National sales are made by firms specializing in such sales, which are compensated on a commission-only basis. We believe that the volume of national advertising revenue tends to adjust to shifts in a station’s audience share position more rapidly than does the volume of local and regional advertising revenue. During the year ended February 29, 2020, approximately 15% of our total advertising revenues were derived from national sales, and 85% were derived from local sales.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES

We believe that the growth of new technologies not only presents challenges, but also opportunities for broadcasters and publishers. The primary challenge is increased competition for the time and attention of our listeners and readers. The primary opportunity is to further enhance the relationships we already have with our listeners and readers by expanding products and services offered by our radio stations and Indianapolis Monthly and to increase distribution to in-home devices like smart speakers as well as portable devices like smartphones and tablets.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

We believe that to be successful, we must be integrally involved in the communities we serve. We see ourselves as community partners. To that end, each of our radio stations and Indianapolis Monthly participate in many community programs, fundraisers and activities that benefit a wide variety of causes. Charitable organizations that have been the beneficiaries of our contributions, marathons, walkathons, concerts, fairs and festivals include, among others, The Salvation Army, Wish for Heroes, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation, March of Dimes, American Red Cross, St. Jude, and the Harlem Chamber of Commerce.

The National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (“NABEF”) has honored us with the Hubbard Award, honoring a broadcaster “for extraordinary involvement in serving the community.” Emmis was the second broadcaster to receive this prestigious honor, after the Hubbard family, for which the award is named. WIBC-FM was nominated for a national Crystal Award from the National Association of Broadcasters for our efforts in the community in 2014 and 2016. Also, our chief executive officer received the 2017 Michael A. Carroll award, a prestigious award given by the Indianapolis Business Journal to a person who has worked to improve the central Indiana community.

5


Table Of Contents

 

INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT

We have an active leadership role in a wide range of industry organizations. Our senior managers have served in various capacities with industry associations, including as directors of the National Association of Broadcasters, the Radio Advertising Bureau, the Radio Futures Committee, the Nielsen Audio Advisory Council, the Media Financial Management Association, the City and Regional Magazine Association and as founding members of the Magazine Publishers of America. Our chief executive officer has been honored with the National Association of Broadcasters’ “National Radio Award,” was named Radio Ink’s “Radio Executive of the Year,” and was named the 2017 recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s “Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award.” In 2018, our chief financial officer was awarded Media Financial Management’s “Rainmaker Award” recognizing his efforts and contributions in helping Media Financial Management’s growth initiatives. Our other management and on-air personalities have won numerous industry awards.

COMPETITION

Radio broadcasting stations compete with the other broadcasting stations in their respective market areas, as well as with other advertising media such as newspapers, cable, magazines, outdoor advertising, transit advertising, the Internet, satellite radio, direct marketing and mobile and wireless device marketing. Competition within the broadcasting industry occurs primarily in individual market areas, so that a station in one market (e.g., New York) does not generally compete with stations in other markets (e.g., Los Angeles). In each of our markets, our stations face competition from other stations with substantial financial resources, including stations targeting the same demographic groups. In addition to management experience, factors that are material to competitive position include the station’s rank in its market in terms of the number of listeners, authorized power, assigned frequency, audience characteristics, local program acceptance and the number and characteristics of other stations in the market area. We attempt to improve our competitive position with programming and promotional campaigns aimed at the demographic groups targeted by our stations. We also seek to improve our position through sales efforts designed to attract advertisers that have done little or no radio advertising by emphasizing the effectiveness of radio advertising in increasing the advertisers’ revenues. The policies and rules of the Federal Communications Commission (the “FCC”) permit certain joint ownership and joint operation of local stations. Most of our radio stations take advantage of these joint arrangements in an effort to lower operating costs and to offer advertisers more attractive rates and services. Although we believe that each of our stations can compete effectively in its market, there can be no assurance that any of our stations will be able to maintain or increase its current audience ratings or advertising revenue market share.

Although the broadcasting industry is highly competitive, barriers to entry exist. The operation of a broadcasting station in the United States requires a license from the FCC. Also, the number of stations that can operate in a given market is limited by the availability of the frequencies that the FCC will license in that market, as well as by the FCC’s multiple ownership rules regulating the number of stations that may be owned or controlled by a single entity, and cross ownership rules which limit the types of media properties in any given market that can be owned by the same person or company.

EMPLOYEES

As of February 29, 2020, Emmis had approximately 234 full-time employees and approximately 178 part-time employees. We lease 65 full time employees and 85 part time employees to MediaCo Holding Inc. under an Employee Leasing Agreement.

INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

Listed below is certain information about the executive officers of Emmis or its affiliates who are not directors or nominees to be directors.

NAME

 

POSITION

 

AGE AT

FEBRUARY 29,

2020

 

YEAR

FIRST

ELECTED

OFFICER

J. Scott Enright

 

Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

 

57

 

1998

Ryan A. Hornaday

 

Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

 

46

 

2006

Gregory T. Loewen

 

President - Publishing Division and Chief Strategy Officer

 

48

 

2007

Mr. Enright was appointed Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary in March 2009. Previously, Mr. Enright served as Senior Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Secretary of Emmis from September 2006 to February 2009 and as Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary from the date he joined Emmis in October 1998, adding the office of Secretary in 2002.

Mr. Hornaday was appointed Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer in August 2015. Previously, Mr. Hornaday served as Senior Vice President - Finance and Treasurer from December 2008 to July 2015. Mr. Hornaday joined Emmis in 1999.

Mr. Loewen was appointed President – Publishing Division and Chief Strategy Officer in March 2010. Mr. Loewen has also served as President of Digonex since our acquisition of a controlling interest in the business. Previously, Mr. Loewen served as Chief Strategy Officer from February 2007 to February 2010. Prior to joining Emmis in February 2007, Mr. Loewen served as Vice President of Digital Media and Strategy for The Toronto Star.

INTERNET ADDRESS AND INTERNET ACCESS TO SEC REPORTS

Our Internet address is www.emmis.com. Through our Internet website, free of charge, you may obtain copies of 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 will be available the same day we electronically file such material with, or furnish such material to, the SEC. We have been making such reports available on the same day they are filed during the period covered by this report.

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Table Of Contents

 

FEDERAL REGULATION OF BROADCASTING

Radio broadcasting in the United States is subject to the jurisdiction of the FCC under the Communications Act of 1934 (the “Communications Act”), as amended in part by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the “1996 Act”). Radio broadcasting is prohibited except in accordance with a license issued by the FCC upon a finding that the public interest, convenience and necessity would be served by the grant of such license. The FCC has the power to revoke licenses for, among other things, false statements made in applications or willful or repeated violations of the Communications Act or of FCC rules. In general, the Communications Act provides that the FCC shall allocate broadcast licenses for radio stations in such a manner as will provide a fair, efficient and equitable distribution of service throughout the United States. The FCC determines the operating frequency, location and power of stations; regulates the equipment used by stations; and regulates numerous other areas of radio broadcasting pursuant to rules, regulations and policies adopted under authority of the Communications Act. The Communications Act, among other things, prohibits the assignment of a broadcast license or the transfer of control of an entity holding such a license without the prior approval of the FCC. Under the Communications Act, the FCC also regulates certain aspects of media that compete with broadcast stations.

The following is a brief summary of certain provisions of the Communications Act and of specific FCC regulations and policies. Reference should be made to the Communications Act as well as FCC rules, public notices and rulings for further information concerning the nature and extent of federal regulation of radio stations. Legislation has been introduced from time to time which would amend the Communications Act in various respects, and the FCC from time to time considers new regulations or amendments to its existing regulations. We cannot predict whether any such legislation will be enacted or whether new or amended FCC regulations will be adopted or what their effect would be on Emmis.

LICENSE RENEWAL. Radio stations operate pursuant to broadcast licenses that are ordinarily granted by the FCC for maximum terms of eight years and are subject to renewal upon approval by the FCC. The following table sets forth our FCC license expiration dates in addition to the call letters, license classification, antenna elevation above average terrain (for our FM stations only), power and frequency of all owned stations as of April 1, 2020:

Radio Market

 

Stations

 

City of License

 

Frequency

 

 

Expiration

Date

of License

 

FCC Class

 

Height Above

Average

Terrain (in feet)

 

 

Power

(in Kilowatts)

 

New York, NY

 

WLIB-AM

 

New York, NY

 

1190

 

 

June 2022

 

B

 

N/A

 

 

10 D / 30 N

 

 

 

WEPN-FM

 

New York, NY

 

98.7

 

 

June 2022

 

B

 

1362

 

 

6

 

Indianapolis, IN

 

WFNI-AM

 

Indianapolis, IN

 

 

1070

 

 

August 2020

 

B

 

N/A

 

 

50 D / 10 N

 

 

 

WLHK-FM

 

Shelbyville, IN

 

 

97.1

 

 

August 2020

 

B

 

 

732

 

 

 

23

 

 

 

WIBC-FM

 

Indianapolis, IN

 

 

93.1

 

 

August 2020

 

B

 

 

991

 

 

 

13.5

 

 

 

WYXB-FM

 

Indianapolis, IN

 

 

105.7

 

 

August 2020

 

B

 

 

492

 

 

 

50

 

Under the Communications Act, at the time an application is filed for renewal of a station license, parties in interest, as well as members of the public, may apprise the FCC of the service the station has provided during the preceding license term and urge the denial of the application. If such a petition to deny presents information from which the FCC concludes (or if the FCC concludes on its own motion) that there is a “substantial and material” question as to whether grant of the renewal application would be in the public interest under applicable rules and policy, the FCC may conduct a hearing on specified issues to determine whether the renewal application should be granted. The Communications Act provides for the grant of a renewal application upon a finding by the FCC that the licensee:

 

has served the public interest, convenience and necessity;

 

has committed no serious violations of the Communications Act or the FCC rules; and

 

has committed no other violations of the Communications Act or the FCC rules which would constitute a pattern of abuse.

If the FCC cannot make such a finding, it may deny the renewal application, and only then may the FCC consider competing applications for the same frequency. In a vast majority of cases, the FCC renews a broadcast license even when petitions to deny have been filed against the renewal application.

REVIEW OF OWNERSHIP RESTRICTIONS. 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. The most recent court decisions were issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in September and November 2019 and concerned the FCC’s 2014 review. On April 17, 2020, the FCC and a group of media industry stakeholders (not including Emmis) filed separate petitions for certiorari requesting that the Supreme Court of the United States review the Third Circuit’s decision. The FCC initiated its 2018 quadrennial review in December 2018 and that proceeding remains pending.  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.

The discussion below reviews the pertinent ownership rules currently in effect.

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Local Radio Ownership:

The local radio ownership rule limits the number of commercial radio stations that may be owned by one entity in a given radio market based on the number of radio stations in that market:

 

if the market has 45 or more radio stations, one entity may own up to eight stations, not more than five of which may be in the same service (AM or FM);

 

if the market has between 30 and 44 radio stations, one entity may own up to seven stations, not more than four of which may be in the same service;

 

if the market has between 15 and 29 radio stations, one entity may own up to six stations, not more than four of which may be in the same service; and

 

if the market has 14 or fewer radio stations, one entity may own up to five stations, not more than three of which may be in the same service, however one entity may not own more than 50% of the stations in the market.

Each of the markets in which our radio stations are located has at least 30 radio stations.

For purposes of applying these numerical limits, the FCC has also adopted rules with respect to (i) so-called local marketing agreements, or “LMAs,” by which the licensee of one radio station provides programming for another licensee’s radio station in the same market and sells all of the advertising within that programming and (ii) so-called joint sale agreements, or “JSAs,” by which the licensee of one station sells the advertising time on another station in the market. Under these rules, 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% of the advertising time, on another radio station in the same market pursuant to an LMA or JSA is generally required to count the station toward its media ownership limits even though it does not own the station. As a result, in a market where we own one or more radio stations, we generally cannot provide programming to another station under an LMA, or sell advertising on another station pursuant to a JSA, if we could not acquire that station under the local radio ownership rule. The FCC has, to date, declined to make other types of agreements such as “shared services agreements” (or “SSAs”) and/or “local news service” agreements, attributable, but has adopted a disclosure requirement for SSAs between commercial television stations.

On April 26, 2012, a subsidiary of Emmis entered into an LMA with New York AM Radio, LLC pursuant to which, commencing April 30, 2012, it began purchasing from Emmis the right to provide programming on radio station WEPN-FM, 98.7 FM, New York, NY until August 31, 2024, subject to certain conditions. Disney Enterprises, Inc., the parent company of New York AM Radio, LLC, has guaranteed the obligations under the LMA. Emmis’ subsidiary will retain ownership of the 98.7 FM FCC license during the term of the LMA and received an annual fee of $8.4 million for the first year of the term under the LMA, which fee increases by 3.5% each year thereafter until the LMA’s termination.

In the 2018 quadrennial review order, the FCC is requesting comment on all aspects of the local radio ownership rule, including whether the rule in its current form remains necessary in the public interest.

Cross-Media 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.

ATTRIBUTION OF OWNERSHIP INTERESTS. In applying its ownership rules, the FCC has developed specific criteria that it uses to determine whether a certain ownership interest or other relationship with an FCC licensee is significant enough to be “attributable” or “cognizable” under its rules. Specifically, among other relationships, certain stockholders, officers and directors of a broadcasting company are deemed to have an attributable interest in the licenses held by that company, such that there would be a violation of the FCC’s rules where the broadcasting company and such a stockholder, officer or director together hold attributable interests in more than the permitted number of stations or a prohibited combination of outlets in the same market. The FCC’s regulations generally deem the following relationships and interests to be attributable for purposes of its ownership restrictions:

 

all officer and director positions in a licensee or its direct/indirect parent(s);

 

voting stock interests of at least 5% (or 20%, if the holder is a passive institutional investor, i.e. , a mutual fund, insurance company or bank);

 

any equity interest in a limited partnership or limited liability company where the limited partner or member has not been “insulated” from the media-related activities of the LP or LLC pursuant to specific FCC criteria;

 

equity and/or debt interests which, in the aggregate, exceed 33% of the total asset value of a station or other media entity (the “equity/debt plus policy”), if the interest holder supplies more than 15% of the station’s total weekly programming (usually pursuant to a time brokerage, local marketing or network affiliation agreement) or is a same-market media entity (i.e., broadcast company or newspaper). In December 2007, the FCC increased these limits under certain circumstances where the equity and/or debt interests are in a small business meeting certain requirements. Although the Third Circuit vacated the FCC’s selected definition of small businesses eligible to take advantage of these increased limits in 2011, the FCC reinstated that definition in its August 2016 order.

To assess whether a voting stock interest in a direct or indirect parent corporation of a broadcast licensee is attributable, the FCC uses a “multiplier” analysis in which non-controlling voting stock interests are deemed proportionally reduced at each non-controlling link in a multi-corporation ownership chain.

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Under existing FCC policy, in the case of corporations having a “single majority shareholder,” the interests of minority shareholders are generally not deemed attributable. Because Jeffrey H. Smulyan’s voting interest in the Company currently exceeds 50%, this exemption appears to apply to the Company. Elimination of the exemption is, however, under consideration by the FCC. If the exemption is eliminated, or if Mr. Smulyan’s voting interest falls to or below 50%, then the interests of any minority shareholders that meet or exceed the thresholds described above would become attributable and would be combined with the Company’s interests for purposes of determining compliance with FCC ownership rules.

Ownership-rule conflicts arising as a result of aggregating the media interests of the Company and its attributable shareholders could require divestitures by either the Company or the affected shareholders. Any such conflicts could result in Emmis being unable to obtain FCC consents necessary for future acquisitions. Conversely, Emmis’ media interests could operate to restrict other media investments by shareholders having or acquiring an interest in Emmis.

ALIEN OWNERSHIP. Under the Communications Act, no FCC license may be held by a corporation if more than one-fifth of its capital stock is owned or voted by aliens or their representatives, a foreign government or representative thereof, or an entity organized under the laws of a foreign country (collectively, “Non-U.S. Persons”). Furthermore, the Communications Act provides that no FCC license may be granted to an entity directly or indirectly controlled by another entity of which more than one-fourth of its capital stock is owned or voted by Non-U.S. Persons if the FCC finds that the public interest will be served by the denial of such license. The FCC has adopted rules to simplify and streamline the process for requesting authority to exceed the 25% indirect foreign ownership limit in broadcast licensees and has revised the methodology that publicly traded broadcasters must use to assess their compliance with the foreign ownership restrictions. The foregoing restrictions on alien ownership apply in modified form to other types of business organizations, including partnerships and limited liability companies. In addition, an LMA with a foreign owned company is not prohibited as long as the non-foreign holder of the FCC license continues to control and operate the station. Our Second Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation and Second Amended and Restated Code of By-Laws authorize the Board of Directors to prohibit such restricted alien ownership, voting or transfer of capital stock as would cause Emmis to violate the Communications Act or FCC regulations.

ASSIGNMENTS AND TRANSFERS OF CONTROL. The Communications Act prohibits the assignment of a broadcast license or the transfer of control of a broadcast licensee without the prior approval of the FCC. In determining whether to grant such approval, the FCC considers a number of factors, including compliance with the various rules limiting common ownership of media properties, the “character” of the assignee or transferee and those persons holding attributable interests therein and compliance with the Communications Act’s limitations on alien ownership as well as other statutory and regulatory requirements. When evaluating an assignment or transfer of control application, the FCC is prohibited from considering whether the public interest might be served by an assignment of the broadcast license or transfer of control of the licensee to a party other than the assignee or transferee specified in the application.

PROGRAMMING AND OPERATION. The Communications Act requires broadcasters to serve the “public interest.” Beginning in the late 1970s, the FCC gradually relaxed or eliminated many of the more formalized procedures it had developed to promote the broadcast of certain types of programming responsive to the needs of a station’s community of license. However, licensees are still required to present programming that is responsive to community problems, needs and interests and to maintain certain records demonstrating such responsiveness.

Federal law prohibits the broadcast of obscene material at any time and the broadcast of indecent material during specified time periods; these prohibitions are subject to enforcement by the FCC and carry fines of up to more than $400,000 per violation, with a cap exceeding $3.75 million for a continuing violation. The company has received, and may receive in the future, letters of inquiry or other notifications concerning alleged violations of the indecency rules at certain of its stations. We cannot predict the outcome of any indecency complaint proceeding or investigation or the extent or nature of future FCC enforcement actions.

The FCC’s indecency rules have also been the subject of litigation, and are the subject of a pending proceeding regarding how the agency might revise its indecency enforcement policies.  

Federal law also imposes sponsorship identification (or “payola”) requirements, which mandate the disclosure of information concerning programming that is paid for by third parties. The company may receive letters of inquiry or other notifications concerning alleged violations of the sponsorship identification rules at certain of its stations. We cannot predict the outcome of any sponsorship identification complaint proceeding or investigation or the extent or nature of future FCC enforcement actions.

Stations also must pay regulatory and application fees and follow various rules promulgated under the Communications Act that regulate, among other things, political advertising, sponsorship identification, equal employment opportunities, contest and lottery advertisements, and technical operations, including limits on radio frequency radiation.

Failure to observe FCC rules and policies can result in the imposition of various sanctions, including monetary fines, the grant of “short-term” (less than the maximum term) license renewals or, for particularly egregious violations, the denial of a license renewal application or the revocation of a license.

ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENTS AND PROPOSED CHANGES. The FCC has adopted rules implementing a low power FM (“LPFM”) service, and approximately 800 such stations are in operation. In November 2007, the FCC adopted rules that, among other things, enhance LPFM’s interference protection from subsequently-authorized full-service stations. Congress then passed legislation eliminating certain minimum distance separation requirements between full-power and LPFM stations, thereby reducing the interference protection afforded to FM stations. As required by the legislation, the FCC in January 2012 submitted a report to Congress indicating that the results of a statutorily mandated economic study indicated that, on the whole, LPFM stations do not currently have, and in the future are unlikely to have, a demonstrable economic impact on full-service commercial FM radio stations. The FCC has since modified its rules to permit the processing of additional LPFM applications and to implement the legislative requirements regarding interference protection, and has accepted applications seeking authority to construct or make major changes to LPFM facilities.  Although to date there have been very few, if any, instances of LPFM

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stations interfering with full-power radio stations, we cannot predict whether any LPFM stations will actually interfere with the coverage of our radio stations in the future.

In June 2009, the FCC adopted rules that allow an AM radio station to use currently authorized FM translator stations to retransmit the AM station’s programming within the AM station’s authorized service area. In October 2015, the FCC issued an Order that adopted a two-stage process for AM radio stations to acquire additional FM translators. The FCC has also adopted certain changes to its rules that govern AM radio stations, and has sought comment on additional changes to those rules, which remain pending.

The FCC also previously authorized the launch and operation of a satellite digital audio radio service (“SDARS”) system. The country’s single SDARS operator, Sirius XM, provides nationwide programming service as well as channels that provide local traffic and weather information for major cities.

In addition, the FCC permits terrestrial digital audio broadcasting (“DAB,” also known as high definition radio or “HD Radio®”) by FM stations, and has pending a proceeding to permit digital operations by AM stations.

In order to broadcast musical compositions or to stream them over the Internet, Emmis must pay royalties to copyright owners of musical compositions (typically, songwriters and publishers). These copyright owners often rely on organizations known as performing rights organizations, which negotiate licenses with copyright users for the public performance of their compositions, collect royalties, and distribute them to copyright owners. The three major performing rights organizations, from which Emmis has licenses and to which Emmis pays royalties, are the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (“ASCAP”), Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”), and SESAC, Inc. These rates are set periodically, are often negotiated by organizations acting on behalf of broadcasters, and may increase in the future. It also is possible that songwriters or publishers may disassociate with these performing rights organizations, or that additional such organizations could emerge in the future. In 2013 a new performing rights organization, named Global Music Rights (“GMR”), was formed. GMR has obtained the rights to certain high-value copyrights and is seeking to negotiate individual licensing agreements with radio stations for songs within its repertoire. GMR and the Radio Music License Committee, Inc. (“RMLC”), which negotiates music licensing fees with performance rights organizations on behalf of many radio stations, have initiated antitrust litigation against one another, which remains pending. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is also reviewing consent decrees governing ASCAP and BMI to determine whether those consent decrees should be modified.  If a significant number of musical composition copyright owners withdraw from the established performing rights organizations, if new performing rights organizations form to license compositions that are not already licensed, or if the consent decrees between the DOJ and ASCAP/BMI are materially modified or eliminated, Emmis’ royalty rates or negotiation costs could increase. Emmis’ royalty rates or negotiation costs could also change as a result of GMR/RMLC litigation or the resolution of the full-work licensing issue.

In order to stream music over the Internet, Emmis must also obtain licenses and pay royalties to the owners of copyrights in sound recordings (typically, artists and record companies). These royalties are in addition to royalties for Internet streaming that must also be paid to performance rights organizations. The Copyright Royalty Board (“CRB”) recently completed its proceeding to set rates for the 2016-2020 license period. The CRB set a rate during this period for performances by non-subscription noninteractive services of 0.17 cent per listener per song, and a rate for noninteractive subscription services of 0.22 cent per listener per song, both of which are subject to changes that mirror changes in the Consumer Price Index. The CRB’s 2016-2020 rates represent a decrease from the 2015 CRB rates applicable to broadcasters and other webcasters.  A proceeding to establish the rates for 2021-2025 began in 2019.

In addition, lawsuits have been filed under various state laws challenging the right of digital audio transmission services and broadcasters to publicly perform or reproduce sound recordings fixed prior to February 15, 1972 (“pre-1972 sound recordings”) without a license. Federal legislation signed into law in October 2018 applies a statutory licensing regime to pre-1972 sound recordings similar to that which governs post-1972 sound recordings. Among other things, the new law extends remedies for copyright infringement to owners of pre-1972 sound recordings when recordings are used without authorization. The public performance right that the new law creates for pre-1972 recordings streamed online may increase our licensing costs.

Legislation also has previously been introduced in Congress that would require the payment of performance royalties to artists, musicians, or record companies whose music is played on terrestrial radio stations, ending a long-standing copyright law exception. If enacted, such legislation could have an adverse impact on the cost of music programming.

Congress and the FCC also have under consideration, and may in the future consider and adopt, new laws, regulations and policies regarding a wide variety of additional matters that could, directly or indirectly, affect the operation, ownership and profitability of our broadcast stations, result in the loss of audience share and advertising revenues for our broadcast stations and/or affect our ability to acquire additional broadcast stations or finance such acquisitions. Such matters include, but are not limited to:

 

proposals to impose spectrum use or other fees on FCC licensees;

 

proposals to repeal or modify some or all of the FCC’s multiple ownership rules and/or policies;

 

proposals to impose requirements intended to promote broadcasters’ service to their local communities;

 

proposals to change rules relating to political broadcasting;

 

technical and frequency allocation matters;

 

AM stereo broadcasting;

 

proposals to modify service and technical rules for digital radio, including possible additional public interest requirements for terrestrial digital audio broadcasters;

 

proposals to restrict or prohibit the advertising of beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages;

 

proposals to tighten safety guidelines relating to radio frequency radiation exposure;

 

proposals permitting FM stations to accept formerly impermissible interference;

 

proposals to reinstate holding periods for licenses;

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changes to broadcast technical requirements related to the implementation of SDARS;

 

proposals to modify broadcasters’ public interest obligations;

 

proposals to limit the tax deductibility of advertising expenses by advertisers; and

 

proposals to regulate violence and hate speech in broadcasts.

We cannot predict whether any proposed changes will be adopted, what other matters might be considered in the future, or what impact, if any, the implementation of any of these proposals or changes might have on our business.

The foregoing is only a brief summary of certain provisions of the Communications Act and of specific FCC regulations. Reference should be made to the Communications Act as well as FCC regulations, public notices and rulings for further information concerning the nature and extent of federal regulation of broadcast stations.

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS.

The risk factors listed below, in addition to those set forth elsewhere in this report, could affect the business and future results of the Company. Additional risks and uncertainties that are not currently known to the Company or that are not currently believed by the Company to be material may also harm the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Related to our Business

Our results of operations could be negatively impacted by weak economic conditions and instability in financial markets.

We believe that advertising is a discretionary business expense. Spending on advertising tends to decline disproportionately during an economic recession or downturn as compared to other types of business spending. Consequently, a downturn in the United States economy generally has an adverse effect on our advertising revenue and, therefore, our results of operations. For example, the significant decline in the United States economy caused by the response to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, has led to a material decline in our advertising revenues in recent months. The longer-term impact to advertising revenues of these preventative measures against COVID-19 is currently unknown.

Even in the absence of a general recession or downturn in the economy, an individual business sector (such as the automotive industry) that tends to spend more on advertising than other sectors might be forced to reduce its advertising expenditures if that sector experiences a downturn. If that sector’s spending represents a significant portion of our advertising revenues, any reduction in its advertising expenditures may affect our revenue.

Radio revenues in the markets in which we operate have been challenged and may remain so.

Radio revenues in the markets in which we operate have lagged the growth of the general United States economy. Indianapolis market revenues, as measured by the accounting firm Miller Kaplan Arase LLP (“Miller Kaplan”), during the years ended February 2019 and 2020 were down 2.7%, and down 2.6%, respectively. During this same period, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that U.S. real gross domestic product growth has been approximately 2% to 3% each year. Our results of operations could be negatively impacted if radio revenue performance in the markets in which we operate continues to lag general United States economic growth.

We may lose audience share and advertising revenue to competing radio stations or other types of media.

We operate in highly competitive industries. Our radio stations compete for audiences and advertising revenue with other radio stations and station groups, as well as with other media. Shifts in population, demographics, audience tastes, consumer use of technology and forms of media and other factors beyond our control could cause us to lose market share. Any adverse change in a particular market, or adverse change in the relative market positions of the stations located in a particular market, could have a material adverse effect on our revenue or ratings, could require increased promotion or other expenses in that market, and could adversely affect our revenue in other markets. Other radio broadcasting companies may enter the markets in which we operate or may operate in the future. These companies may be larger and have more financial resources than we have. Our radio stations may not be able to maintain or increase their current audience ratings and advertising revenue in the face of such competition.

We routinely conduct market research to review the competitive position of our stations in their respective markets. If we determine that a station could improve its operating performance by serving a different demographic within its market, we may change the format of that station. Our competitors may respond to our actions by more aggressive promotions of their stations or by replacing the format we vacate, limiting our options if we do not achieve expected results with our new format.

From time to time, other stations may change their format or programming, a new station may adopt a format to compete directly with our stations for audiences and advertisers, or stations might engage in aggressive promotional campaigns. These tactics could result in lower ratings and advertising revenue or increased promotion and other expenses and, consequently, lower earnings and cash flow for us. Any failure by us to respond, or to respond as quickly as our competitors, could also have an adverse effect on our business and financial performance.

Because of the competitive factors we face, we cannot assure investors that we will be able to maintain or increase our current audience ratings and advertising revenue.

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Our radio operations are heavily concentrated in the Indianapolis market.

Our radio operations in Indianapolis account for approximately 60% of our continuing radio revenues in fiscal 2020. Our results from operations can be materially affected by decreased ratings for our stations in Indianapolis, which could result in revenue declines for us in that market.

Our radio operations lack the scale of some of our competitors.

We currently own two stations in New York, one of which is being programmed by another broadcaster under the terms of an LMA, and four stations in Indianapolis. Some of our competitors have larger clusters of radio stations. Our competitors may be able to leverage their market share to extract a greater percentage of available advertising revenues in these markets and may be able to realize operating efficiencies by programming multiple stations in these markets.

Our operations have been adversely affected by the response to COVID-19 and may be affected by future pandemics.

Our operations have been adversely affected by the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, with many advertisers cancelling their orders and an overall reduction in new advertising orders. In addition, some of our advertisers may not pay us timely, or at all, for the advertisements we have aired and billed to them due to the economic impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on their businesses. If economic activity continues to contract as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, or if there is a similar reaction to any future pandemic, our financial results will be negatively affected. Furthermore, we hold broadcasting rights to a number of events in which large numbers of people are in close proximity (e.g., the Indianapolis 500, Indiana Pacers games and Indianapolis Colts games).  If these events are cancelled due to contagion risk, it could have an adverse effect on our financial results.

Future operation of our business may require significant additional capital.

The continued development, growth and operation of our businesses may require substantial capital. In particular, our dynamic pricing business, Digonex, is not currently profitable and needs additional capital to fund its operations. Furthermore, any future acquisitions may require large amounts of capital. We intend to fund our growth, including Digonex and acquisitions, if any, with cash generated from operations and asset sales, and proceeds from future issuances of debt and equity, either public or private. Our ability to raise additional debt or equity financing is subject to market conditions, our financial condition and other factors. If we cannot obtain financing on acceptable terms when needed, our results of operations, ability to fund Digonex or complete acquisitions, and financial condition could be adversely impacted.

We must respond to the rapid changes in technology, services and standards that characterize our industry in order to remain competitive, and changes in technology may increase the risk of material intellectual property infringement claims.

The radio broadcasting industry is subject to rapid technological changes, evolving industry standards and the emergence of competition from new technologies and services. We cannot assure that we will have the resources to acquire new technologies or to introduce new services that could compete with these new technologies. Various media technologies and services that have been developed or introduced include:

 

 

satellite-delivered digital audio radio service, which has resulted in subscriber-based satellite radio services with numerous niche formats;

 

 

audio programming by cable systems, direct-broadcast satellite systems, Internet content providers and other digital audio broadcast formats, including podcasts;

 

 

personal digital audio devices

 

 

D Radio®, which provides multi-channel, multi-format digital radio services in the same bandwidth currently occupied by traditional AM and FM radio services; and

 

 

low-power FM radio, which could result in additional FM radio broadcast outlets, including additional low-power FM radio signals authorized in December 2010 under the Local Community Radio Act.

New media has resulted in fragmentation in the advertising market, but we cannot predict the impact that additional competition arising from new technologies may have on the radio broadcasting industry or on our financial condition and results of operations.

A number of automakers are introducing more advanced, interactive dashboard technology including the introduction of technologies like Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto that enable vehicle entertainment systems to more easily interface with a consumer’s smartphone and include alternative audio entertainment options.

Programmatic buying, which enables an advertiser to purchase advertising inventory through an exchange or other service and bypass the traditional personal sales relationship, has become widely adopted in the purchase of digital advertising and is an emerging trend in the radio industry. We cannot predict the impact programmatic buying may have on the radio industry or our financial condition and results of operations.

Additionally, technological advancements in the operation of radio stations and related businesses have increased the number of patent and other intellectual property infringement claims brought against broadcasters, including Emmis. While Emmis has not historically been subject to material patent and other intellectual property claims and takes certain steps to limit the likelihood of, and exposure to, such claims, no assurance can be given that material claims will not be asserted in the future.

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Our business depends heavily on maintaining our licenses with the FCC. We could be prevented from operating a radio station if we fail to maintain its license.

The radio broadcasting industry is subject to extensive and changing regulation. The Communications Act and FCC rules and policies require FCC approval for transfers of control and assignments of FCC licenses. The filing of petitions or complaints against FCC licensees could result in the FCC delaying the grant of, or refusing to grant, its consent to the assignment of licenses to or from an FCC licensee or the transfer of control of an FCC licensee. In certain circumstances, the Communications Act and FCC rules and policies will operate to impose limitations on alien ownership and voting of our common stock. There can be no assurance that there will be no changes in the current regulatory scheme, the imposition of additional regulations or the creation of new regulatory agencies, which changes could restrict or curtail our ability to acquire, operate and dispose of stations or, in general, to compete profitably with other operators of radio and other media properties.

Each of our radio stations operates pursuant to one or more licenses issued by the FCC. Under FCC rules, radio licenses are granted for a term of eight years. Our licenses expire at various times through June 2022. Although we will apply to renew these licenses, third parties may challenge our renewal applications. While we are not aware of facts or circumstances that would prevent us from having our current licenses renewed, there can be no assurance that the licenses will be renewed or that renewals will not include conditions or qualifications that could adversely affect our business and operations. Failure to obtain the renewal of any of our broadcast licenses may have a material adverse effect on our business and operations. In addition, if we or any of our officers, directors or significant stockholders materially violates the FCC’s rules and regulations or the Communications Act, is convicted of a felony or is found to have engaged in unlawful anticompetitive conduct or fraud upon another government agency, the FCC may, in response to a petition from a third party or on its own initiative, in its discretion, commence a proceeding to impose sanctions upon us which could involve the imposition of monetary fines, the revocation of our broadcast licenses or other sanctions. If the FCC were to issue an order denying a license renewal application or revoking a license, we would be required to cease operating the applicable radio station only after we had exhausted all rights to administrative and judicial review without success.

We disseminate large amounts of content to the public. An ill-conceived or mistimed on-air statement or social media post could have a material adverse effect on our business.

The FCC’s rules prohibit the broadcast of obscene material at any time and prohibit indecent material between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Broadcasters risk violating the prohibition on the broadcast of indecent material because of the FCC’s broad definition of such material, coupled with the spontaneity of live programming.

Congress has dramatically increased the penalties for broadcasting obscene, indecent or profane programming and broadcasters can potentially face license revocation, renewal or qualification proceedings in the event that they broadcast indecent material. In addition, the FCC’s heightened focus on indecency, against the broadcast industry generally, may encourage third parties to oppose our license renewal applications or applications for consent to acquire broadcast stations. As a result of these developments, we have implemented certain measures that are designed to reduce the risk of broadcasting indecent material in violation of the FCC’s rules. These and other future modifications to our programming in an effort to reduce the risk of indecency violations could have an adverse effect on our competitive position.

Even statements or social media posts that do not violate the FCC’s indecency rules could offend our audiences and advertisers or infringe the rights of third parties, resulting in a decline in ratings, a loss in revenues, a challenge to our broadcast licenses, or extended litigation. While we maintain insurance covering some of these risks, others are effectively uninsurable and could have a material adverse effect on our results from operations and financial condition.

Any changes in current FCC ownership regulations may negatively impact our ability to compete or otherwise harm our business operations.

The FCC is required to review all of its broadcast ownership rules every four years and to repeal or modify any of its rules that are no longer “necessary in the public interest.” We cannot predict the impact of these reviews on our business or their effect on our ability to acquire broadcast stations in the future or to continue to own and freely transfer stations that we have already acquired.

Changes in current Federal regulations could adversely affect our business operations.

Congress and the FCC have under consideration, and may in the future consider and adopt, new laws, regulations and policies that could, directly or indirectly, affect the profitability of our broadcast stations. In particular, Congress is considering a revocation of radio’s exemption from paying royalties to performing artists for use of their recordings (radio already pays a royalty to songwriters). A requirement to pay additional royalties could have an adverse effect on our business operations and financial performance.

Our business strategy and our ability to operate profitably depend on the continued services of our key employees, the loss of whom could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Our ability to maintain our competitive position depends to a significant extent on the efforts and abilities of our senior management team and certain key employees. Although our executive officers are typically under employment agreements, their managerial, technical and other services would be difficult to replace if we lose the services of one or more of them or other key personnel. Our business could be seriously harmed if one of them decides to join a competitor or otherwise competes directly or indirectly against us.

Our radio stations employ or independently contract with several on-air personalities and hosts of syndicated radio programs with large and loyal audiences in their respective broadcast areas. These on-air personalities are sometimes significantly responsible for the ranking of a station and, thus, the ability of the station to sell advertising. Such on-air personalities or other key individuals may not remain with our radio stations and we may not retain their audiences, which could affect our competitive position.

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Impairment losses related to our intangible assets have reduced our earnings and could reduce our earnings in the future.

We have reported significant net losses in our consolidated statement of operations in the past as a result of recording noncash impairment charges, mostly related to FCC licenses and goodwill. During the years ended February 28 (29), 2019 and 2020, we incurred impairment losses, principally related to our FCC licenses, of $0.9 million, and $6.5 million, respectively. As of February 29, 2020, our FCC licenses comprise 30% of our total assets. If events occur or circumstances change, or even if radio valuations trend downward, the fair value of our FCC licenses might fall below the amount reflected on our balance sheet, and we may be required to recognize impairment charges, which may be material, in future periods.

We may fail to realize any benefits and incur unanticipated losses related to any acquisition.

The success of our acquisitions will depend, in part, on our ability to successfully integrate the acquired business. It is possible that the integration process could result in the loss of key employees, the disruption of ongoing business or inconsistencies in standards, controls, procedures and policies that adversely affect our ability to maintain relationships with clients, customers and employees or to achieve the anticipated benefits of the acquisition. Successful integration may also be hampered by any differences between the operations and corporate culture of the two organizations. If we experience difficulties with the integration process, the anticipated benefits of the acquisition may not be realized fully, or at all, or may take longer to realize than expected. Finally, any cost savings that are realized may be offset by losses in revenues from the acquired business.

We may fail to consummate dispositions or complete them in a timely manner.

We regularly review our portfolio of assets and periodically dispose of assets when we believe it is appropriate to do so. We are exploring strategic alternatives with respect to WLIB-AM in New York, as well as land in northwest Indianapolis that is currently being used as a tower site, and may explore strategic alternatives with respect to other assets we currently own. We cannot ensure that an announced transaction will be consummated for any asset we may contemplate divesting.

Our operating results have been and may again be adversely affected by acts of war, a global health crisis, terrorism, and natural catastrophes.

Acts of war and terrorism against the United States, and the country’s response to such acts, may negatively affect the U.S. advertising market, which could cause our advertising revenues to decline due to advertising cancellations, delays or defaults in payment for advertising time, and other factors. In addition, these events may have other negative effects on our business, the nature and duration of which we cannot predict.

For example, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, we decided that the public interest would be best served by the presentation of continuous commercial-free coverage of the unfolding events on our stations. This temporary policy had a material adverse effect on our advertising revenues and operating results for the month of September 2001. Future events like those of September 11, 2001, or the evolving COVID-19 situation, may cause us to adopt similar policies, which could have a material adverse effect on our advertising revenues and operating results.

Additionally, the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 resulted in the destruction of the transmitter facilities that were located there. Although we had no transmitter facilities located at the World Trade Center, broadcasters that had facilities located in the destroyed buildings experienced temporary disruptions in their ability to broadcast. Future terrorist attacks or other disasters could cause similar disruptions in our broadcasts in the areas affected. If these disruptions occur, we may not be able to locate adequate replacement facilities in a cost-effective or timely manner or at all. Failure to remedy disruptions caused by terrorist attacks or other disasters and any resulting degradation in signal coverage could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Similarly, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, wild fires and other natural disasters can have a material adverse effect on our operations in any given market. While we generally carry insurance covering such catastrophes, we cannot be sure that the proceeds from such insurance will be sufficient to offset the costs of rebuilding or repairing our property or the lost income.

We have significant obligations relating to our current operating leases.

In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board released Accounting Standards Update 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842) (“ASU 2016-02”). This update requires lessees to recognize, on the balance sheet, assets and liabilities for the rights and obligations created by leases of greater than twelve months. Leases are classified as either finance or operating, with classification affecting the pattern of expense recognition in the income statement.

As of February 29, 2020, we had operating lease commitments of approximately $13.7 million. These leases are classified as operating leases and disclosed in Note 9 to our accompanying consolidated financial statements. Upon adoption of ASU 2016-02, the Company recognized all operating leases as assets (the right to use the leased property) and liabilities (the present value of future lease payments). The assets and liabilities recognized upon adoption of ASU 2016-02 were $28.8 million. A number of these leases were part of dispositions completed during fiscal 2020.

Our business is dependent upon the proper functioning of our internal business processes and information systems, and modification or interruption of such systems may disrupt our business, processes and internal controls.

The proper functioning of our internal business processes and information systems is critical to the efficient operation and management of our business. If these information technology systems fail or are interrupted, our operations may be adversely affected and operating results could be harmed. Our business processes and information systems need to be sufficiently scalable to adapt to the size of our business and may require modifications or upgrades that expose us to a number of operational risks. Our information technology systems, and those of third party providers,

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may also be vulnerable to damage or disruption caused by circumstances beyond our control. These include catastrophic events, power anomalies or outages, natural disasters, computer system or network failures, viruses or malware, physical or electronic intrusions, unauthorized access and cyber-attacks. Any material disruption, malfunction or similar challenges with our business processes or information systems, or disruptions or challenges relating to the transition to new processes, systems or providers, could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Because of our holding company structure, we depend on our subsidiaries for cash flow, and our access to this cash flow may be restricted from time to time.

We operate as a holding company. All of our radio stations and other assets are currently owned and operated by our subsidiaries. Emmis Operating Company (“EOC”), our wholly-owned subsidiary, is the borrower under our mortgage debt. EOC has historically been the borrower of our secured indebtedness and may incur additional secured indebtedness in the future. All of our station and other operating subsidiaries and FCC license subsidiaries are subsidiaries of EOC. Further, we may guarantee EOC’s obligations under any secured indebtedness and a significant portion of EOC’s assets may be pledged as collateral under any secured indebtedness. As a holding company, our only source of cash to pay our obligations, including corporate overhead expenses, is cash distributed from our subsidiaries. We currently expect that the majority of the net earnings and cash flow of our subsidiaries will be retained and used by them in their operations, including servicing their debt obligations. Even if our subsidiaries elect to make distributions to us, we cannot be assured that applicable state law and contractual restrictions, including covenants contained in our secured indebtedness, would permit such dividends or distributions.

Risks Related to our Indebtedness:

Our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect our financial health.

We have a significant amount of indebtedness. At May 4, 2020, our total indebtedness was $54.9 million, consisting of $12.6 million under our mortgage debt, $38.3 million of 98.7FM nonrecourse debt, and $4.0 million of other nonrecourse debt. The Company expects that proceeds from the LMA in New York with a subsidiary of Disney will be sufficient to pay all debt service related to the 98.7FM nonrecourse debt. Our substantial indebtedness could have important consequences to investors. For example, it could:

 

o

 

make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our indebtedness;

 

increase our vulnerability to generally adverse economic and industry conditions;

 

require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to payments on our indebtedness, thereby reducing the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes;

 

result in higher interest expense in the event of increases in interest rates because some of our debt, albeit nonrecourse to Emmis, is at variable rates of interest;

 

limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our businesses and the industries in which we operate;

 

place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to some of our competitors that have less debt; and

 

limit, along with any restrictive covenants in our debt agreements, our ability to borrow additional funds or make acquisitions.

If we cannot continue to comply with the financial covenants in our debt instruments, or obtain waivers or other relief from our lenders, we may default, which could result in loss of our sources of liquidity and acceleration of our indebtedness.

We have a substantial amount of indebtedness, and the instruments governing such indebtedness contain restrictive financial covenants. While the restrictive financial covenants related to our mortgage debt are currently not applicable since we deposited $8.0 million with the lender, under certain conditions those funds may be returned to us and the restrictive financial covenants would again apply. Our ability to comply with the covenants in our debt instruments, if applicable, will depend upon our future performance and various other factors, such as business, competitive, technological, legislative and regulatory factors, some of which are beyond our control. We may not be able to maintain compliance with all of these covenants. In that event, we would need to seek an amendment to our debt instruments, or would need to refinance our debt instruments. There can be no assurance that we can obtain future amendments or waivers of our debt instruments, or refinance our debt instruments and, even if so, it is likely that such relief would only last for a specified period, potentially necessitating additional amendments, waivers or refinancings in the future. In the event that we do not maintain compliance with the covenants under our debt instruments, the lenders could declare an event of default, subject to applicable notice and cure provisions, resulting in a material adverse impact on our financial position. If the lenders declare amounts outstanding to be immediately due and payable and we were unable to repay those amounts, the lenders could proceed against the collateral granted to them to secure that indebtedness. If the lenders accelerate the repayment of borrowings, we may be forced to liquidate certain assets to repay all or part of our debt instruments, and we cannot be assured that sufficient assets will remain for us to continue our business operations after we have paid all of the borrowings under our debt instruments. Our ability to liquidate assets is affected by the regulatory restrictions associated with radio stations, including FCC licensing, which may make the market for these assets less liquid and increase the chances that these assets will be liquidated at a significant loss.

Our 98.7FM debt is not subject to these risks to the same degree as the debt under our mortgage, as certain rights and payments under the 98.7FM LMA have been assigned to the holder of the 98.7FM debt, the 98.7FM debt is generally nonrecourse to the rest of Emmis, and the LMA payments have been guaranteed by Disney Enterprises, Inc. Furthermore, our $4.0 million of other nonrecourse debt is also not subject to these risks to the same degree as the debt under our mortgage, as this debt is solely recourse to entities that no longer have any operating activity.

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The terms of our indebtedness and the indebtedness of our direct and indirect subsidiaries may restrict our current and future operations, particularly our ability to respond to changes in market conditions or to take some actions.

Our debt instruments have historically imposed significant operating and financial restrictions on us. These restrictions may significantly limit or prohibit, among other things, our ability and the ability of our subsidiaries to incur additional indebtedness, issue preferred stock, incur liens, pay dividends, enter into asset purchase or sale transactions, merge or consolidate with another company, dispose of our assets or make certain payments or investments.

These restrictions may limit our ability to grow our business through acquisitions and could limit our ability to respond to market conditions or meet extraordinary capital needs. They also may restrict our corporate activities in other ways. These restrictions could adversely affect our ability to finance our future operations or capital needs.

To service our indebtedness and other obligations, we will require a significant amount of cash. Our ability to generate cash depends on many factors beyond our control.

Our long-term debt agreements require us to pay periodic interest and principal payments. Our ability to make payments on our indebtedness and to fund capital expenditures will depend on our ability to generate cash in the future. This ability to generate cash, to a certain extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control. Our businesses might not generate sufficient cash flow from operations. We might not be able to complete future offerings, and future borrowings might not be available to us in an amount sufficient to enable us to pay our indebtedness or to fund our other liquidity needs.

Risks Related to our Common Stock:

One shareholder controls a majority of the voting power of our common stock, and his interest may conflict with those of other shareholders.

As of May 8, 2020, our Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey H. Smulyan, beneficially owned shares representing approximately 51% of the outstanding combined voting power of all classes of our common stock, as calculated pursuant to Rule 13d-3 of the Exchange Act. He therefore is in a position to exercise substantial influence over the outcome of most matters submitted to a vote of our shareholders, including the election of a majority of our directors.

The difficulties associated with any attempt to gain control of our company could adversely affect the price of our Class A common stock.

Jeffrey H. Smulyan has substantial influence over the decision as to whether a change in control will occur for our company. There are also provisions contained in our articles of incorporation, by-laws and Indiana law that could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire control of Emmis. In addition, FCC approval for transfers of control of FCC licenses and assignments of FCC licenses are required. These restrictions and limitations could adversely affect the trading price of our Class A common stock.

Our Class A common stock is no longer traded on Nasdaq; no assurance can be given of future trading markets.

Effective May 14, 2020, our Class A common stock was delisted from the Nasdaq Stock Market.  The Company’s Class A Common Stock may be eligible for quotation on the OTC Markets Group if market makers commit to making a market in the Company’s shares.  However, the Company can provide no assurance that trading in its Class A Common Stock will continue on the OTC Markets Group or otherwise.

Our Class A common stock is no longer expected to be registered under the Exchange Act.

Shortly after we file this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we intend to file a Form 15 with the SEC, at which time we anticipate that our obligations to file periodic reports under the Exchange Act, including annual, quarterly and current reports on Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, respectively, will be suspended, and that all requirements associated with being an Exchange Act-registered company will cease 90 days thereafter. 

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.

None.

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES.

The types of properties required to support each of our radio stations include offices, studios and transmitter/antenna sites. We typically lease our studio and office space, although we do own some of our facilities. Most of our studio and office space leases contain lease terms with expiration dates of five to fifteen years. A station’s studios are generally housed with its offices in downtown or business districts. We generally consider our facilities to be suitable and of adequate size for our current and intended purposes. We own several of our main transmitter/antenna sites and lease the remainder of our transmitter/antenna sites with lease terms that generally range from five to twenty years. The transmitter/antenna site for each station is generally located so as to provide maximum market coverage, consistent with the station’s FCC license. In general, we do not anticipate difficulties in renewing facility or transmitter/antenna site leases or in leasing additional space or sites if required. We have approximately $13.7 million in aggregate minimum rental commitments under real estate leases. Many of these leases contain escalation clauses such as defined contractual increases or cost-of-living adjustments.

Our principal executive offices are located at 40 Monument Circle, Suite 700, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204, in approximately 115,000 square feet of owned office space which is shared by our Indianapolis radio stations, our Indianapolis Monthly publication, and Digonex. This property is subject to a mortgage.

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We own substantially all of our other equipment, consisting principally of transmitting antennae, transmitters, studio equipment and general office equipment. The towers, antennae and other transmission equipment used by our stations are generally in good condition, although opportunities to upgrade facilities are periodically reviewed.

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

The Company is a party to various legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business. In the opinion of management of the Company, there are no legal proceedings pending against the Company likely to have a material adverse effect on the Company.

Emmis filed suit against Illinois National Insurance Company (“INIC”) in 2015 related to INIC’s decision to not cover Emmis’ defense costs under Emmis’ directors and officers insurance policy in a lawsuit related to the Company’s preferred stock in which Emmis was the defendant (the “Prior Litigation”). On March 21, 2018, Emmis was granted summary judgment entitling it to coverage of its defense costs in the Prior Litigation. On October 10, 2018, Emmis and INIC agreed that Emmis' damages were $3.5 million. On November 7, 2018, INIC appealed the District Court's summary judgment determination that the insurance policy covers Emmis' defense costs. On July 2, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed the District Court’s decision. On July 16, 2019, Emmis filed to seek a panel rehearing on the matter. On August 21, 2019, after considering Emmis’ petition for rehearing, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit withdrew its opinion issued on July 2, 2019 and affirmed the District Court’s decision. INIC filed to seek a panel rehearing on the decision, which the Seventh Circuit denied on September 13, 2019. INIC paid the agreed-upon damages plus accrued interest on October 7, 2019 and INIC’s right to seek a review of the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States has expired. We recognized a $2.2 million gain related to this matter during the quarter ended November 30, 2019, which is net of $1.4 million of legal fees.

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

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PART II

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

MARKET INFORMATION FOR OUR COMMON STOCK

Emmis’ Class A common stock is quoted on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol EMMS. There is no established public trading market for Emmis’ Class B common stock or Class C common stock.

On April 21, 2020, our Board of Directors determined to voluntarily delist the Company’s Class A common stock from The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”). On April 24, 2020, the Company notified Nasdaq of the Board’s determination, issued a press release, posted the press release on our website and filed a Current Report on Form 8-K.  On May 4, 2020, the Company filed with the SEC a Form 25 requesting the delisting of its Class A common stock from Nasdaq and the deregistration of its common stock under Section 12(b) of the Exchange Act.  The last day of trading in our Class A common stock was May 13, 2020.  After delisting, the Company’s Class A common stock may be eligible for quotation on the OTC Markets Group if market makers commit to making a market in the Company’s shares.  The Company can provide no assurance that trading in its Class A common stock will continue on the OTC Markets Group or otherwise.

After the effectiveness of the Form 25, the Company intends to file with the SEC, on or about May 14, 2020, a Form 15 requesting the deregistration of its Class A common stock under Section 12(g) of the Exchange Act and the suspension of the Company’s reporting obligations under Sections 13 and 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Accordingly, we expect that this will be our last Annual Report on Form 10-K.

HOLDERS

At May 1, 2020, there were 266 holders of record of the Class A common stock, and there was one holder of the Class B common stock.

DIVIDENDS

Emmis currently intends to retain future earnings for use in its business and has no plans to pay any dividends on shares of its common stock in the foreseeable future.

SHARE REPURCHASES

During the three-month period ended February 29, 2020, there was withholding of shares of common stock upon vesting of restricted stock to cover withholding tax obligations. The following table provides information on our repurchases during the three months ended February 29, 2020:

 

Period

 

(a)

Total Number

of Shares

Purchased

 

 

(b)

Average Price

Paid Per

Share

 

 

(c)

Total Number of

Shares

Purchased as

Part of Publicly

Announced

Plans or

Programs

 

 

(d)

Maximum

Approximate

Dollar Value of

Shares That May

Yet Be Purchased

Under the Plans or

Programs (in 000’s)

 

Class A Common Stock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

$

 

January 1, 2020 - January 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

$

 

  February 1, 2020 - February 29, 2020

 

 

1,371

 

 

$

3.61

 

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

1,371

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.

As a smaller reporting company, we are not required to provide this information.

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

GENERAL

The following discussion pertains to Emmis Communications Corporation (“ECC”) and its subsidiaries (collectively, “Emmis” or the “Company”).

We principally own and operate radio properties located in the United States. Our revenues are mostly affected by the advertising rates our entities charge, as advertising sales represent more than one-half of our consolidated revenues. These rates are in large part based on our entities’ ability to attract audiences/subscribers in demographic groups targeted by their advertisers. The Nielsen Company generally measures radio station ratings weekly for markets measured by the Portable People Meter™, which includes all of our radio stations. Because audience ratings in a station’s local market are critical to the station’s financial success, our strategy is to use market research, advertising and promotion to attract and retain audiences in each station’s chosen demographic target group.

Our revenues vary throughout the year. As is typical in the broadcasting industry, our revenues and operating income are usually lowest in our fourth fiscal quarter.

In addition to the sale of advertising time for cash, stations typically exchange advertising time for goods or services, which can be used by the station in its business operations. These barter transactions are recorded at the estimated fair value of the product or service received. We generally confine the use of such trade transactions to promotional items or services for which we would otherwise have paid cash. In addition, it is our general policy not to preempt advertising spots paid for in cash with advertising spots paid for in trade.

The following table summarizes the sources of our revenues for the years ended February 28 (29), 2019 and 2020. The category “Nontraditional” principally consists of ticket sales and sponsorships of events our stations and magazines conduct in their local markets. The category “Other” includes, among other items, revenues related to Digonex business, network revenues and barter. We sold our four radio stations in St. Louis on April 30, 2018. The St. Louis radio stations were being operated pursuant to local marketing agreements from March 1, 2018 through their sale. The Company received $0.7 million of fees related to this arrangement which are included in “LMA Fees” below. The table below excludes the results of our stations in Austin, as well as WQHT-FM and WBLS-FM in New York, which were sold in the quarter ended November 30, 2019 and their historical results have been classified as discontinued operations. See Note 1 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for more discussion of our discontinued operations.

 

 

Years Ended February 28 (29),

 

 

 

2019

 

 

% of Total

 

 

2020

 

 

% of Total

 

Net revenues:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local

 

$

15,517

 

 

 

38.9

%

 

$

15,224

 

 

 

38.3

%

National

 

 

2,059

 

 

 

5.2

%

 

 

2,753

 

 

 

6.9

%

Political

 

 

1,035

 

 

 

2.6

%

 

 

219

 

 

 

0.6

%

Publication Sales

 

 

384

 

 

 

1.0

%

 

 

368

 

 

 

0.9

%

Non Traditional

 

 

3,255

 

 

 

8.2

%

 

 

3,329

 

 

 

8.4

%

Digital

 

 

2,087

 

 

 

5.2

%

 

 

2,449

 

 

 

6.2

%

LMA Fees

 

 

11,050

 

 

 

27.7

%

 

 

10,331

 

 

 

26.0

%

Other

 

 

4,504

 

 

 

11.2

%

 

 

5,037

 

 

 

12.7

%

Total net revenues

 

$

39,891

 

 

 

 

 

 

$

39,710

 

 

 

 

 

A significant portion of our expenses varies in connection with changes in revenue. These variable expenses primarily relate to costs in our sales department, such as salaries, commissions and bad debt. Our costs that do not vary as much in relation to revenue are mostly in our programming and general and administrative departments, such as talent costs, syndicated programming fees, utilities, office expenses and salaries. Lastly, our costs that are highly discretionary are costs in our marketing and promotions department, which we primarily incur to maintain and/or increase our audience and market share.

SIGNIFICANT TRANSACTIONS

The transactions described below impact the comparability of operating results for the two-year period ended February 29, 2020.

Sale of Austin Partnership

On October 1, 2019, a subsidiary of Emmis sold its 50.1% ownership interest in Emmis Austin Radio Broadcasting Company, L.P. (the “Austin Partnership”) to our minority partner, Sinclair Telecable, Inc., for $39.3 million (the “Austin Partnership Transaction”). Emmis recognized a gain on sale of $37.3 million. Gross cash proceeds, inclusive of purchase price adjustments, were approximately $40.7 million. Transaction-related expenses were approximately $0.7 million. $9.9 million of these proceeds were used to repay debt outstanding, with the balance held for general corporate purposes, including capital expenditures, working capital, and potential acquisitions and investments.

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The Austin Partnership has historically been included in our Radio segment. The following table summarizes the operating results of the Austin Partnership for all periods presented. In accordance with ASC 205-20-45-6, Emmis has allocated interest on the debt required to be repaid as a result of this disposal transaction to the results of the Austin Partnership.

 

 

 

For the year ended February 28 (29),

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

Net revenues

 

$

31,149

 

 

$

19,539

 

Station operating expenses, excluding depreciation and amortization

 

 

20,772

 

 

 

13,428

 

Gain on sale of assets, net of disposition costs

 

 

 

 

 

(37,275

)

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

504

 

 

 

120

 

Operating income

 

 

9,873

 

 

 

43,266

 

Interest expense

 

 

622

 

 

 

311

 

Income before taxes

 

$

9,251

 

 

$

42,955

 

Sale of WBLS-FM and WQHT-FM

On November 25, 2019, Emmis contributed the assets and liabilities of WBLS-FM and WQHT-FM to MediaCo Holding Inc., an Indiana corporation (“MediaCo”) and in return, Emmis received $91.5 million in cash, a convertible promissory note payable to Emmis in an amount of $5.0 million and 1,666,667 shares of MediaCo Class A common stock (the “MediaCo Transaction”). These shares constituted all of the issued and outstanding MediaCo Class A common stock and represented in the aggregate an approximately 23.72% equity ownership interest and 3.02% of the outstanding voting interests of MediaCo immediately following the transaction. On January 17, 2020, we made a taxable pro rata distribution of 0.1265 shares of MediaCo Class A common stock for each outstanding share of Emmis’ Class A and Class B common stock at the close of business on January 3, 2020. The $5.0 million convertible promissory note carries interest at a base rate equal to the interest on MediaCo’s senior credit facility (currently London Interbank Offered Rate with a 2.0% floor plus 7.5%), or if no senior credit facility is outstanding, 6.00%, plus an additional 1.00% on any payment of interest in kind and, without regard to whether MediaCo pays such interest in kind, an additional increase of 1.00% following the second anniversary of the date of issuance and additional increases of 1.00% following each successive anniversary thereafter. The note is convertible, in whole or in part, into MediaCo Class A common stock at the option of Emmis beginning six months after issuance at a strike price equal to the thirty day volume weighted average price of the MediaCo Class A common stock on the date of conversion. The note matures on November 25, 2024. In addition, MediaCo’s net working capital as of the closing date must be reimbursed to Emmis within nine months of the MediaCo Transaction. As of February 29, 2020, Emmis has recorded a $6.5 million receivable from MediaCo related to this net working capital. SG Broadcasting LLC, an affiliate of Standard General L.P, a New York-based investment firm that manages event-driven opportunity funds, purchased all of MediaCo’s Class B common stock, representing a 76.28% equity ownership interest. The common stock of MediaCo acquired by Standard General is entitled to ten votes per share and the common stock acquired by Emmis and distributed to Emmis’ shareholders is entitled to one vote per share. Emmis will continue to provide management services to the stations under a Management Agreement, subject to the direction of the MediaCo board of directors which initially consists of four directors appointed by Standard General and three directors appointed by Emmis. Emmis will receive an annual management fee of $1.25 million, plus reimbursement of certain expenses directly related to the operation of MediaCo’s business. The employees of WQHT-FM and WBLS-FM remain employees of Emmis, and are being leased to MediaCo.

Gross cash proceeds at closing, inclusive of purchase price adjustments, were $91.8 million, $3.5 million of which was used by Emmis to repay Mortgage debt outstanding. Transaction-related expenses were approximately $2.2 million. The remaining cash will be used for general corporate purposes, including capital expenditures, working capital, and acquisitions and investments, including the acquisition of a sound masking business in March 2020 for $75.1 million. Upon the closing of the transaction, Emmis deconsolidated these stations, recorded the retained equity investment at fair value, and recognized a gain on sale of $35.6 million.

These stations have historically been included in our Radio segment. The following table summarizes the operating results of the stations for all periods presented. In accordance with ASC 205-20-45-6, Emmis has allocated interest on the debt required to be repaid as a result of this disposal transaction to the results of the stations.

 

 

For the year ended February 28 (29),

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

Net revenues

 

$

43,091

 

 

$

35,828

 

Station operating expenses, excluding depreciation and amortization

 

 

30,949

 

 

 

25,831

 

Gain on sale of assets, net of disposition costs

 

 

 

 

 

(35,665

)

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

1,318

 

 

 

417

 

Operating income

 

 

10,824

 

 

 

45,245

 

Interest expense

 

 

329

 

 

 

194

 

Income before taxes

 

$

10,495

 

 

$

45,051

 

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Digonex

Emmis Operating Company, as collateral agent for secured creditors, notified Digonex Technologies, Inc. of a default under its notes payable on October 1, 2019, which was not cured by the October 6, 2019 deadline. The debt was accelerated on December 6, 2019, and Emmis Operating Company, as collateral agent for the secured creditors, foreclosed on Digonex Technologies, Inc. on December 31, 2019, taking possession of substantially all of its assets. On January 1, 2020, Emmis Operating Company conveyed the foreclosed assets to a new legal entity, Emmis Dynamic Pricing, LLC that is owned by the holders of the Digonex Technologies, Inc. secured debt pro rata to their share of the Digonex Technologies, Inc. secured debt. The transfer of assets from Digonex Technologies, Inc. to Emmis Dynamic Pricing, LLC was a transfer between entities under common control and so the assets were transferred at carryover basis. Emmis Operating Company owns approximately 90% of Emmis Dynamic Pricing, LLC and therefore controls the entity. Emmis Dynamic Pricing, LLC does business under the name Digonex and continues to operate the underlying business of Digonex, but with a simpler capital structure. Up until this event, Emmis owned rights that were convertible into approximately 84% of Digonex Technologies, Inc.’s common equity. Subsequent to the transfer of assets from Digonex Technologies, Inc. to Emmis Dynamic Pricing, LLC, Emmis relinquished control of Digonex Technologies, Inc. and deconsolidated the entity, recognizing a loss on the deconsolidation, and eliminating the related noncontrolling interests. Emmis is converting the business of Digonex from a calendar year end to its fiscal year end. To accomplish this, the fourth quarter of the year ended February 29, 2020 includes five months of results of the business of Digonex (October 2019 to February 2020).

Sale of St. Louis radio stations

On April 30, 2018, Emmis closed on its sale of substantially all of the assets of its radio stations in St. Louis in two separate transactions. In one transaction, Emmis sold the assets of KSHE-FM and KPNT-FM to affiliates of Hubbard Radio. In the other transaction, Emmis sold the assets of KFTK-FM and KNOU-FM to affiliates of Entercom Communications Corp. Emmis decided to sell its stations in St. Louis to further reduce overall indebtedness. At closing, Emmis received aggregate gross proceeds of $60.0 million. After deducting estimated taxes payable and transaction-related expenses, net proceeds totaled approximately $40.5 million and were used to repay term loan indebtedness under Emmis’ senior credit facility. The taxes payable as a result of the transactions were not immediately due, so we repaid amounts outstanding under our revolver and we held excess cash on our balance sheet to enhance our liquidity position until we remit the taxes when due. Emmis recorded a $32.1 million gain on the sale of its St. Louis stations. Our St. Louis radio stations had historically been included in our Radio segment. These disposals did not qualify for reporting as a discontinued operation as they did not represent a strategic shift for the Company as described in Accounting Standards Codification 205-20-45-1C.

 

 

For the year ended February 28 (29),

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

Net revenues

 

$

711

 

 

$

 

Station operating expenses, excluding depreciation and amortization expense

 

 

505

 

 

 

 

Gain on sale of radio assets, net of disposition costs

 

 

(32,148

)

 

 

 

Operating income

 

 

32,354

 

 

 

 

Interest expense

 

 

592

 

 

 

 

Income before income taxes

 

$

31,762

 

 

$

 

KNOWN TRENDS AND UNCERTAINTIES

The U.S. radio industry is a mature industry and its growth rate has stalled. Management believes this is principally the result of two factors: (1) new media, such as various media distributed via the Internet, telecommunication companies and cable interconnects, as well as social networks, have gained advertising share against radio and other traditional media and created a proliferation of advertising inventory and (2) the fragmentation of the radio audience and time spent listening caused by satellite radio, audio streaming services and podcasts has led some investors and advertisers to conclude that the effectiveness of radio advertising has diminished.

Along with the rest of the radio industry, the majority of our stations have deployed HD Radio®. HD Radio offers listeners advantages over standard analog broadcasts, including improved sound quality and additional digital channels. In addition to offering secondary channels, the HD Radio spectrum allows broadcasters to transmit other forms of data. We are participating in a joint venture with other broadcasters to provide the bandwidth that a third party uses to transmit location-based data to hand-held and in-car navigation devices. The number of radio receivers incorporating HD Radio has increased in the past year, particularly in new automobiles. It is unclear what impact HD Radio will have on the markets in which we operate.

The Company has also aggressively worked to harness the power of broadband and mobile media distribution in the development of emerging business opportunities by developing highly interactive websites with content that engages our listeners, deploying mobile applications and streaming our content, harnessing the power of digital video on our websites and YouTube channels, and delivering real-time traffic to navigation devices.

The results of our radio operations are heavily dependent on the results of our stations in the Indianapolis market, which account for approximately 60% of our continuing radio net revenues. Market revenues in Indianapolis as measured by Miller Kaplan Arase LLP (“Miller Kaplan”), an independent public accounting firm used by the radio industry to compile revenue information, were down 2.6% for the twelve months ended February 29, 2020, as compared to the same period of the prior year. During this period, revenues for our Indianapolis cluster were up 3.4%. Ratings at our Indianapolis radio stations have been strong in recent months, which has enabled us to grow our market share and overcome declines earlier in the fiscal year.

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As part of our business strategy, we continually evaluate potential acquisitions of businesses that we believe hold promise for long-term appreciation in value and leverage our strengths. Accordingly, in March 2020, we acquired the sound masking business of Lencore Acoustics Corporation for $75.1 million in cash. We also regularly review our portfolio of assets and may opportunistically dispose of assets when we believe it is appropriate to do so. In that respect, over the past two fiscal years we have sold radio stations in St. Louis, our 50.1% controlling interest in our Austin radio stations as well as WQHT-FM and WBLS-FM in New York. We continue to explore the sale of WLIB-AM in New York and other assets, including land in Indianapolis.

The Company has been actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation and its impact globally, as well as domestically and in the markets we serve. Our priority has been the safety of our employees, as well as the informational needs of the communities that we serve. Through the first few months of calendar 2020, the disease became widespread around the world, and on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. In an effort to mitigate the continued spread of COVID-19, many federal, state and local governments have mandated various restrictions, including travel restrictions, restrictions on non-essential businesses and services, restrictions on public gatherings and quarantining of people who may have been exposed to the virus. These restrictions, in turn, caused the United States economy to decline and businesses to cancel or reduce amounts spent on advertising, negatively impacting our advertising-based businesses. Furthermore, some of our advertisers have seen a material decline in their businesses and may not be able to pay amounts owed to us when they come due. If the spread of COVID-19 continues, or is suppressed but later reemerges, and public and private entities continue to implement restrictive measures, we expect that our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows will continue to be negatively affected, the extent to which is difficult to estimate at this time.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Critical accounting policies are defined as those that encompass significant judgments and uncertainties, and potentially derive materially different results under different assumptions and conditions. We believe that our critical accounting policies are those described below.

Revenue Recognition

Broadcasting revenue is recognized as advertisements are aired. Publication revenue is recognized in the month of delivery of the publication. Both broadcasting revenue and publication revenue recognition is subject to meeting certain conditions such as persuasive evidence that an arrangement exists and collection is reasonably assured. These criteria are generally met at the time the advertisement is aired for broadcasting revenue and upon delivery of the publication for publication revenue. Advertising revenues presented in the financial statements are reflected on a net basis, after the deduction of advertising agency fees, usually at a rate of 15% of gross revenues.

FCC Licenses and Goodwill

We have made acquisitions in the past for which a significant amount of the purchase price was allocated to FCC licenses and goodwill assets. As of February 29, 2020, we have recorded approximately $66.5 million in FCC licenses, which represents approximately 30% of our total assets.

In the case of our radio stations, we would not be able to operate the properties without the related FCC license for each property. FCC licenses are renewed every eight years; consequently, we continually monitor our stations’ compliance with the various regulatory requirements. Historically, all of our FCC licenses have been renewed at the end of their respective periods, and we expect that all FCC licenses will continue to be renewed in the future. We consider our FCC licenses to be indefinite-lived intangibles.

We do not amortize 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. When evaluating our radio broadcasting licenses for impairment, the testing is performed at the unit of accounting level as determined by Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 350-30-35. In our case, radio stations in a geographic market cluster are considered a single unit of accounting, provided that they are not being operated under a Local Marketing Agreement by another broadcaster.

We complete our annual impairment tests on December 1 of each year and perform additional interim impairment testing whenever triggering events suggest such testing is warranted.

Valuation of Indefinite-lived Broadcasting Licenses

Fair value of our FCC licenses is estimated to be the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. To determine the fair value of our FCC licenses, the Company considered both income and market valuation methods when it performed its impairment tests. Under the income method, the Company projects cash flows that would be generated by each of its units of accounting assuming the unit of accounting was commencing operations in its respective market at the beginning of the valuation period. This cash flow stream is discounted to arrive at a value for the FCC license. The Company assumes the competitive situation that exists in each market remains unchanged, with the exception that its unit of accounting commenced operations at the beginning of the valuation period. In doing so, the Company extracts the value of going concern and any other assets acquired, and strictly values the FCC license. Major assumptions involved in this analysis include market revenue, market revenue growth rates, unit of accounting audience share, unit of accounting revenue share and discount rate. Each of these assumptions may change in the future based upon changes in general economic conditions, audience behavior, consummated transactions, and numerous other variables that may be beyond our control. The projections incorporated into our license valuations take current economic conditions into consideration. Under the market method, the Company uses recent sales of comparable radio stations for which the sales value appeared to be concentrated entirely in the value of the license, to arrive at an indication of fair value.

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Below are some of the key assumptions used in our income method annual impairment assessments. In recent years, we have reduced long-term growth rates in the markets in which we operate based on recent industry trends and our expectations for the markets going forward.

 

 

 

December 1, 2018

 

December 1, 2019

Discount Rate

 

11.9% - 12.3%

 

11.9% - 12.4%

Long-term Revenue Growth Rate

 

0.3% - 1.0%

 

(0.6%)

Mature Market Share

 

12.9% - 30.2%

 

0.5% - 20.6%

Operating Profit Margin

 

26.0% - 38.0%

 

24.3% - 31.4%

 

The Company recorded impairment charges related to FCC licenses in each of the past two years. Impairment charges recognized as part of our December 1, 2018 and 2019 annual testing were $0.3 million and $2.1 million, respectively. These impairments were mostly related to declining market revenues combined with lowered expectations for future long-term revenue growth rates as noted in the table above. In addition, in connection with an interim impairment review during the year ended February 29, 2020, the Company concluded the carrying value of certain FCC licenses exceeded their fair value by $4.0 million, and recorded an impairment charge in this amount.

Sensitivity Analysis

Based on the results of our December 1, 2019 annual impairment assessment, the carrying value of our broadcasting licenses was approximately $68.6 million, which exceeded the $66.5 million fair value by $2.1 million. Impairment expense $2.1 million was recognized in the fourth quarter of the year ended February 29, 2020 to reflect this. Should our estimates or assumptions worsen, or should negative events or circumstances occur in the units that have limited fair value cushion, additional license impairments may be needed.

 

 

Radio Broadcasting Licenses

 

 

 

As of December 1, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Amounts in thousands)

 

 

 

 

 

Unit of Accounting

 

Carrying Value

 

 

Fair Value

 

 

Percentage by which fair

value exceeds carrying value

 

WLIB-AM (New York)

 

 

6,657

 

 

 

6,686

 

 

 

0.4

%

98.7FM (New York)

 

 

44,313

 

 

 

44,313

 

 

 

0.0

%

Indianapolis Cluster

 

 

15,493

 

 

 

15,514

 

 

 

0.1

%

Total

 

 

66,463

 

 

 

66,513

 

 

 

0.1

%

 

If we were to assume a 100 basis point change in any of our three key assumptions (a reduction in the long-term revenue growth rate, a reduction in local commercial share or an increase in the discount rate) used to determine the fair value of our broadcasting licenses on December 1, 2019, the resulting impairment charge would have been $9.9 million, $16.2 million and $5.6 million, respectively.

Deferred Taxes

The Company accounts for income taxes under the asset and liability method, which requires the recognition of deferred tax assets and liabilities for the expected future tax consequence of events that have been recognized in the Company’s financial statements or income tax returns. Income taxes are recognized during the year in which the underlying transactions are reflected in the consolidated statements of operations. Deferred taxes are provided for temporary differences between amounts of assets and liabilities recorded for financial reporting purposes as compared to amounts recorded for income tax purposes. After determining the total amount of deferred tax assets, the Company determines whether it is more likely than not that some portion of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. If the Company determines that a deferred tax asset is not likely to be realized, a valuation allowance will be established against that asset to record it at its expected realizable value.

Insurance Claims and Loss Reserves

The Company is self-insured for most healthcare claims, subject to stop-loss limits. Claims incurred but not reported are recorded based on historical experience and industry trends, and accruals are adjusted when warranted by changes in facts and circumstances. The Company had $0.2 million accrued for employee healthcare claims as of February 28 (29), 2019 and 2020, respectively. The Company also maintains large deductible programs (ranging from $100 thousand to $250 thousand per occurrence) for workers’ compensation, employment liability, automotive liability and media liability claims.

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YEAR ENDED FEBRUARY 28, 2019 COMPARED TO YEAR ENDED FEBRUARY 29, 2020

Net revenues:

 

 

 

For the years ended

February 28 (29),

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

 

$ Change

 

 

% Change

 

 

 

(As reported, amounts in thousands)

 

 

 

 

 

Net revenues:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radio

 

$

33,778

 

 

$

33,462

 

 

$

(316

)

 

 

(0.9

)%

Publishing

 

 

4,678

 

 

 

4,407

 

 

 

(271

)

 

 

(5.8

)%

All Other

 

 

1,435

 

 

 

1,841

 

 

 

406

 

 

 

28.3

%

Total net revenues

 

$

39,891

 

 

$

39,710

 

 

$

(181

)

 

 

(0.5

)%

Radio revenues were down as the prior year included $0.7 million of St. Louis LMA fee revenues that were nonrecurring this year. Ratings at our Indianapolis radio stations have been strong in recent months, which has enabled us to grow our market share and overcome declines earlier in the fiscal year. This growth has been partially offset by revenue declines at our AM station in New York, WLIB-AM.

We are able to monitor the performance of our stations against the aggregate performance of the markets in which we operate based on reports for the periods prepared by Miller Kaplan. Miller Kaplan reports are generally prepared on a gross revenues basis and exclude revenues from barter arrangements. Miller Kaplan reported gross revenues for the Indianapolis market decreased 2.6% for the year ended February 29, 2020, as compared to the prior year. Our gross revenues reported to Miller Kaplan for our Indianapolis market were up 3.4% for the year ended February 29, 2020, as compared to the prior year.

Publishing net revenues were down as our lone remaining magazine, Indianapolis Monthly, faces a challenging market place for print advertising.

All Other consists of Digonex and our now-shuttered NextRadio and TagStation businesses, as well as the management fee we receive relating to MediaCo. Our dynamic pricing business, Digonex, doubled its revenues year-over-year. Emmis acquired majority control of the common equity of the entity that currently owns the Digonex business, Emmis Dynamic Pricing, LLC, during the fourth quarter of the year ended February 29, 2020, and converted the business of Digonex from a calendar year end to Emmis’ fiscal year end. To accomplish this, the fourth quarter of the year ended February 29, 2020, includes five months of results for the business of Digonex (October 2019- February 2020) though the additional two months of results are not material to overall revenue. This year over year growth from Digonex is muted by NextRadio and TagStation results included in the year ended February 28, 2019.

Station operating expenses excluding depreciation expense:

 

 

 

For the years ended

February 28 (29),

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

 

$ Change

 

 

% Change

 

 

 

(As reported, amounts in thousands)

 

 

 

 

 

Station operating expenses excluding depreciation expense:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radio

 

$

24,258

 

 

$

25,202

 

 

$

944

 

 

 

3.9

%

Publishing

 

 

4,822

 

 

 

5,031

 

 

 

209

 

 

 

4.3

%

All Other

 

 

9,779

 

 

 

2,768

 

 

$

(7,011

)

 

 

(71.7

)%

Total station operating expenses excluding depreciation expense

 

$

38,859

 

 

$

33,001

 

 

$

(5,858

)

 

 

(15.1

)%

 

Radio operating expenses excluding depreciation expense increased principally due to abnormally high healthcare costs and new expenses associated with the launch of our branded podcast company, Sound That Brands.

Publishing operating expenses excluding depreciation expense also increased principally due to higher healthcare costs.

Station operating expenses excluding depreciation expense for all other decreased in the year ended February 29, 2020 due to a dramatic reduction of scale of our TagStation business during fiscal 2019.

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Corporate expenses excluding depreciation expense:

 

 

 

For the years ended February 28 (29),

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

 

$ Change

 

 

% Change

 

 

 

(As reported, amounts in thousands)

 

 

 

 

 

Corporate expenses excluding depreciation expense

 

$

10,313

 

 

$

18,841

 

 

$

8,528

 

 

 

82.7

%

In the year ended February 29, 2020, the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors approved discretionary bonuses to executive officers totaling $6.5 million, inclusive of payroll taxes. In addition, the Compensation Committee approved higher director fees for fiscal 2020, totaling $1.6 million (an increase of approximately $1.2 million), resulting in an incremental $7.7 million of expense as compared to fiscal 2019. Additionally, a bonus for all remaining corporate employees was approved by management, resulting in an additional $0.3 million of expense. In connection with the acquisition of the sound masking business of Lencore Acoustics Corporation we incurred $0.8 million of transaction fees and expenses for the year ended February 29, 2020.

Impairment losses:

 

 

 

For the years ended

February 28 (29),

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

 

$ Change

 

 

% Change

 

 

 

(As reported, amounts in thousands)

 

 

 

 

 

Impairment losses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radio

 

$

548

 

 

$

6,099

 

 

$

5,551

 

 

 

1013.0

%

All Other

 

 

304

 

 

 

380

 

 

 

76

 

 

 

25.0

%

Impairment losses

 

$

852

 

 

$

6,479

 

 

$

5,627

 

 

 

660.4

%

In connection with the annual impairment review conducted on December 1, 2019, the Company concluded that the FCC license associated with our FM radio station in New York was impaired and recorded an impairment charge of $2.1 million. During the second quarter of fiscal 2020, we performed an interim impairment review of the FCC licenses in Indianapolis and the FCC license for WLIB-AM. As a result of this review, the Company determined the carrying value of these licenses exceeded the fair value of these licenses by $4.0 million and recorded an impairment charge in this amount. Also in fiscal 2020, we determined our preferred stock investment in our available for sale investment was impaired and recorded an impairment charge of $0.4 million. The impairment was deemed to be other than temporary.

In connection with the annual impairment review conducted on December 1, 2018, the Company concluded that the FCC licenses associated with its Indianapolis radio operations were impaired and recorded an impairment loss of $0.3 million. Also in fiscal 2019, Emmis decided to cease operation in its TagStation and NextRadio businesses. The book value of fixed assets was approximately $0.3 million and this amount was recorded as an impairment charge as the assets were abandoned. Furthermore, Emmis recorded an impairment loss of $0.2 million as the carrying valuation of two radio transmission towers in St. Louis classified as held for sale exceeded the Company’s estimate of their fair value less cost to sell.

We could record impairment charges in future periods if we determine the carrying value of our intangible assets exceeds their fair value. Our annual impairment test of our broadcasting licenses and goodwill is performed each year as of December 1. We may be required to retest prior to our next annual evaluation, which could result in additional impairment charges.

Depreciation:

 

 

 

For the years ended

February 28 (29),

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

 

$ Change

 

 

% Change

 

 

 

(As reported, amounts in thousands)

 

 

 

 

 

Depreciation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radio

 

$

516

 

 

$

360

 

 

$

(156

)

 

 

(30.2

)%

Publishing

 

 

18

 

 

 

13

 

 

 

(5

)

 

 

(27.8

)%

All Other

 

 

857

 

 

 

760

 

 

 

(97

)

 

 

(11.3

)%

Total depreciation

 

$

1,391

 

 

$

1,133

 

 

$

(258

)

 

 

(18.5

)%

 

The decrease in radio depreciation expense for the year ended February 29, 2020 mostly relates to property and equipment reaching the end of their useful lives in fiscal 2019. The decrease in all other also relates to our TagStation and NextRadio businesses, which recorded $0.1 million of depreciation in fiscal 2019 and had no activity in fiscal 2020.

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Gain on sale of radio and publishing assets, net of disposition costs:

 

 

 

For the years ended

February 28 (29),

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

 

$ Change

 

 

% Change

 

 

(As reported, amounts in thousands)

 

 

 

(Gain) loss on sale of radio and publishing assets, net of disposition costs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radio

 

$

(32,148

)

 

$

 

 

$

32,148

 

 

N/A

Publishing

 

 

331

 

 

 

 

 

 

(331

)

 

N/A

Gain on sale of radio and publishing assets, net of disposition costs

 

$

(31,817

)

 

$

 

 

$

31,817

 

 

N/A

 

On April 30, 2018, the Company sold its four radio stations in St. Louis and recorded a $32.1 million gain on sale of these stations.