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Entercom Communications (NYSE:ETM)
Q1 2020 Earnings Call
May 14, 2020, 10:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Good morning, and welcome to Entercom's first-quarter 2020 earnings release conference call. [Operator instructions] This conference is being recorded. I would like to introduce your first speaker for today's call, Mr. Richard Schmaeling, CFO and executive vice president.

Sir, you may begin.

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Thank you, Missy, and welcome to Entercom's first-quarter earnings conference call. A replay of this call will be available on our company website shortly after conclusion of today's call and available by telephone at the replay number noted in our release. During this call, the company may make forward-looking statements, which are based upon the company's current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties. The company's actual results could differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements.

Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are described in the Risk Factors section of the company's annual report on Form 10-K. As such, risks and uncertainties may be updated from time to time in the company's SEC filings. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, except as may be required by law. During this call, we may reference certain non-GAAP financial measures.

We refer you to the Investors page of our website at entercom.com for reconciliations of such measures and other pro forma financial information. I'll turn it over to you, David.

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

Great. Thanks, Rich, and good morning, everybody. Thanks for joining Entercom's first-quarter 2020 earnings call. I want to start by saluting the Entercom team for their outstanding work and all they are doing to rise to the unique challenges of these unprecedented times and serve the American public, our customers and our communities.

COVID-19 has taken its toll on our business as it has such a large swath of the American economy. We ended the year with a great deal of optimism and high expectations coming off a solid 2019 during which we posted 2% revenue growth, 3% ex political and 10% EBITDA growth. We got off to a strong start to the year, and we're gaining momentum across our business lines. Through February, year-to-date revenues were up over 7% versus prior year, with significant margin expansion and strong double-digit EBITDA gains.

While we are on track to have a great quarter, in March, revenues declined 22% for the month as we experienced a large number of cancellations across our business related to the pandemic. As a result, Q1 revenues declined 4%, and EBITDA was down 19%. Local spot advertising and events were both down significantly, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and the cancellation of most of our March event slate. There were, however, a number of bright lights for the quarter, including our digital revenues, which grew by 41% year over year, led by strong podcasting and streaming audio advertising growth as well as continued strong double-digit Entercom Audio Network growth.

We also saw healthy political advertising demand in the quarter. On today's call, I want to first discuss how COVID-19 has impacted our business, the actions we have taken to address and mitigate the various challenges and how we are well positioned to weather the pandemic financially. Afterwards, I will share some thoughts on the company's strategic evolution in the broader audio landscape and how that positions us competitively, both in the current environment and after we come through this and get to the other side. But before we get to that, I'd like to share a few words on how we are engaging the American public during these difficult times.

Radio has always played an important role with the American public at a time of crisis, and COVID-19 is no exception. Radio is the country's No. 1 reach medium and particularly in difficult times, Americans rely on radio for news, information, guidance, reassurance, entertainment and companionship. Entercom is the nation's leader in local radio news, and I am particularly proud of the great work our local news teams are doing across the country.

Ratings were up significantly, including a 56% increase among adults 25-54 at KNX in Los Angeles, 63% at WBBM in Chicago and 100% at 1010 Wins in New York. Our news in these top stations have been providing excellent news coverage and guidance, along with the platform to engage with governors, mayors and other federal state and local officials and connect them with anxious citizens. In addition, our stations are distributing related information via regular podcasts, email newsletters and other digital and social platforms, helping to keep tens of millions of Americans informed and safe. At the same time, across our non-news stations in Radio.com, we are providing an array of special programming for these unusual times, including a series of live concerts and other unique content.

Recent data from Nielsen, Mindshare, Havas and Edison Media Research have all confirmed radio's strong vitality. For example, Nielsen reports that 83% of Americans are listening to the same or more radio than prior to the crisis. And Havas study shows a surge in radio listenership among millennials, with 33% of 18 to 24 year olds and 40% of 25 to 34 year olds, listening more to radio as a result of the pandemic. And while as you might expect, in-car listeners shifted down for the moment as Americans have been staying more at home, in-home listenership has surged across smart speakers and other connected devices.

For example, in March, smart speaker listeners to Entercom stations jumped 82% over the prior year and 27% over the prior month. As the threat of COVID-19 first emerged, our team responded quickly and vigorously to address the impact of the pandemic on our business. Our first priority has been and continues to be the health and safety of our team. We formed a cross-functional COVID-19 task force in late February and moved rapidly to shift the vast majority of our team to work from home.

Our prior investments in technology enabled us to do so with virtually no impact on operations to continue to serve our listeners, customers and communities without interruption or diminished effectiveness. I want to give a special thanks to the task force and to our outstanding engineering and IT teams who have worked tirelessly and performed wonderfully. In late March, we moved aggressively to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19 on our revenues by implementing a comprehensive set of measures to significantly reduce expenses. These actions included a substantial reduction in our workforce, temporary salary reductions impacting every full-timer making over $50,000 per year and a number of other steps.

By moving quickly and deeply, we've been able to reduce Q2 operating expenses by over $80 million, 8-0. In addition, we have cut our 2020 capital expenditures by over 40% and suspended our dividend. We also took the precautionary step of drawing down our revolver in March and had $189 million in cash on hand as of March 31. It is important to note that we have no material debt repayments due until late 2024.

After studying a range of scenarios, we have concluded that our liquidity is sufficient to meet all of our financial and operating requirements. Furthermore, once we get through this, we intend to remain highly focused on reducing our total leverage to under 4x as rapidly as possible. Turning to business conditions. As you know, they have been extremely challenging over the past 60 days.

The abrupt shutdown of so much of the American economy has been unprecedented and has had a very significant impact on local advertisers in particular. We have also been hit by the cancellations of sports play-by-play, an area in which we are the industry's largest operator by a wide margin, although that will be offset by a pro rata reduction in rights fees. Similarly, we have also been able to eliminate virtually all of the expenses from our various major events, all of which have been canceled. Current business conditions have sought a bit after the tsunami of closures and cancellations that occurred in March and the first half of April.

While there are no guarantees on the trajectory of our national recovery in these unprecedented times, April certainly appears to be the bottom. May is a little better than April, and June is trending somewhat better than May. Furthermore, the tone and tenor of our advertiser conversations has improved. Auto is a good example of a business that has been largely idle for the past several weeks in most markets and is looking forward to getting back to work.

These advertisers have important stories to tell the public about how their businesses have returned and how they would be able to serve customers in today's world. Radio is the perfect storytelling medium for advertisers for a number of reasons. It is local, it reaches more people, it has minimal production costs, and messaging can be changed immediately, and it is built on its one-to-one personal connection with listeners. We have been working closely to support our customers even those with canceled advertising as their businesses closed and expect a return to the airways as conditions allow.

This is an important time of introspection for all organizations. As we step back and think about how we are positioned for the future, Entercom today is a fundamentally different and far stronger company than we were just 2.5 years ago when we completed our merger with CBS radio. At that time, Entercom was the country's fourth largest radio broadcaster with a lineup of leading, high-performing radio stations across the country, but we lacked scale and recognized that scale was essential to transforming the company into a fully competitive, strategically relevant organization with strong multi-platform digital assets and capabilities, fully able to meet the evolving demands of our listeners and customers. Since the closing of the merger, we have transformed ourselves into a leading audio-based integrated media and entertainment company with outstanding positions across broadcast, digital and podcasting.

Capitalizing on our scale, we launched Radio.com, which is the fastest-growing digital audio platform in the U.S. In this past year, we acquired Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios and established Entercom as one of the country's largest podcasting publishers. Scale has also enabled us to develop a strong and emerging set of data and analytics capabilities and build out a national client partnership and marketing solutions team. But it isn't just the scale or quantity of our offerings, it is also the premium quality of our original content, both across our stations and podcasting, that distinguishes the company.

As a result of these strategic actions, today, Entercom is one of the four strongest multi-platform audio companies in the U.S. and is well positioned for the future. We have what is arguably the best platform of local radio stations in the top 50 U.S. markets and are the No.

1 creator of original local audio content as well as the unrivaled leader in news and sports radio.In addition, we are one of the two largest commercial podcast publishers in the U.S. with a rapidly growing business, competing at scale that has grown to 28 million monthly unique listeners worldwide and more than 150 million podcast downloads per month. We focus on premium high-quality content offerings and have distinguished ourselves by the large number of high-quality hits in our portfolio. As of this week, we had 26 of the top 100 shows on the Triton chart, and seven of the top 25 on the Apple chart, both more than any other party.

In addition, we are the only audio company in the world who have received multiple nominations in the recently announced Peabody Awards, which are the world's most prestigious award for excellence in electronic journalism, celebrating the highest quality radio, TV or digital stories. Our product lineup includes chart-topping influencers like Dr. Brené Brown, Andrew Yang, YouTube sensation, Dávid Dobrík, Malcolm Gladwell, Pod Save America; and Jon Meacham's new series Hope, Through History, which chronicles how our nation has persevered through other great challenges, including polio and World War II. In addition, we just launched the latest original hit dramatic series, Winds of Change in partnership with journalists and author, Patrick Radden Keefe, which debuted in the top 5 on Apple's chart.

We have high expectations for our podcasting business and believe it will be an important driver of future growth, generating significant symbiotic benefits to drive listenership and revenues across our various audio platforms. I'd also like to share a few words about Radio.com. As noted earlier, Radio.com has been the fastest-growing digital audio platform in the country and now delivers over 40 million users, excluding podcasting. According to Comscore, our monthly average uniques grew 71% in March, significantly outpacing the other leading platforms.

And our year-to-date TLH is up 22%. We continue to expand our distribution, having recently launched on the Xfinity X1 platform and announced an enhanced Sonos relationship. The strong audience growth is enabling significant double-digit revenue gains, and we look forward to continued progress in the future. Our transformation is elevating our competitive position and enabling us to develop exclusive new multi-platform marketing programs with national brands.

For example, we recently launched a custom national marketing partnership with Dell, driven principally around podcasting, but also incorporated virtually every arm of our business, including broadcast radio, network radio, Radio.com, social and a custom podcast featuring Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis, both of whose podcasts are on our platform. We are 1 of only two companies in the U.S. with the scale and capabilities to offer customers the ability to leverage all of these capabilities, and it is enabling us to elevate our engagement with a number of the country's leading brands. We expect programs like this to be an increasingly important driver of our business going forward.

In closing, unfortunately, after a strong start to the year, COVID-19 has altered many of our hopes and plans for 2020, just as they have for everyone. With that said, we are excited about where we are headed on the other side of this. We fully expect to emerge as a strong, healthy, fully competitive company positioned for success in the years ahead. That means continuing to work vigorously to capitalize on the significant new opportunities we have enabled through our strategic transformation into a scaled, multi-platform audio leader with outstanding original premium content.

It also means ensuring that we have enhanced our business model to effectively and efficiently operate under the current challenges and put ourselves in the best possible position to drive significant bottom line growth in the post COVID-19 world. Once again, I want to express my appreciation for the terrific work and versatility of our team and extend our continuing commitment to work closely with our partners and customers to get through this together, to support our communities and emerge in a better place as a nation. With that, I'll turn the call over to Rich.

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Thanks, David, and good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us. I'd like to start by also recognizing and thanking the hard-working Entercom team that has rapidly adapted to this temporary new normal and has seamlessly continued to provide vital news, information and entertainment to our listeners and support to our advertising clients during these unprecedented times. As discussed by David, after a strong start to the year, we experienced a sharp downturn in revenues during March and the extent of this decline was even more severe in April. For the first quarter, after being up over 7% February year to date, our revenues for the full quarter ended down 4% due to the impact of COVID-19.

Our digital revenues for the quarter were still strong, and were up 41% year over year, propelled by the growth of podcasting and digital audio advertising. Our total as reported operating expenses came in at $285.7 million for the first quarter and include $4.8 million of integration and restructuring costs and a $1 million noncash impairment charge. We also recorded a onetime charge of $2.5 million for an industrywide settlement with BMI and $3 million for unusual items related to COVID-19. Excluding these onetime and unusual costs and adjusting out noncash items like D&A, on a same-station basis, our total cash operating expenses came in at $260 million, were down $18.2 million or 7% versus $278.3 million in the prior year.

This savings is primarily flowing through from integration cost synergies enacted during the course of last year. As you will recall, we had previously guided that we'd realize another $25 million of net cost synergies during the first half of 2020. Turning to the second quarter. Given the highly disruptive and uncertain economic environment, we will not be providing guidance.

Nevertheless, we are cautiously optimistic that if states lift stay-at-home orders and businesses start to reopen that the advertising environment will begin to improve. And based on our Pearson data, this belief is buttressed by the fact that the current outlook for May looks better than April, and June looks better than May. As stated by David, it appears that April was the bottom. In addition, although we have limited visibility, we believe it is reasonable to expect that we will see continued sequential improvement during the third quarter as GDP begins to rebound and due to the expected resumption of live sports and our play-by-play coverage.

And in the fall, we still expect to benefit from a strong presidential election cycle. Previously, we stated that we expected our political revenues would be up year over year by over $20 million, and we expect about 60% of this revenue will run between September and Election Day. At the outset of this national emergency, our team responded quickly and aggressively to mitigate the impact of the downturn of revenues and to preserve liquidity. We suspended our quarterly dividend and fully drew our revolver as precautionary measure.

At the end of March, we had $189 million of cash on hand. We deferred lower priority capex projects and reduced our planned expenditures for this year by over 40% to a range of between $25 million to $30 million. We executed a series of actions expected to reduce our fixed expenses by approximately $150 million over the remainder of this year, including a reduction in force that will generate about $30 million of ongoing annual savings, reductions in compensation for our senior management and other employees, furloughs of employees whose jobs have been highly disrupted by the pandemic, suspension of new hiring, travel and entertainment and our 401(k) matching program and a significant reduction in outside services and other discretionary expenses. In addition, due to the suspension of the NBA and NHL seasons and the delayed start of the MLB season, we will be able to reduce our play-by-play sports rights fee obligations pro rata based on a number of games canceled under virtually all of our agreements.

We will also see reductions in our variable expenses due to canceling all of our planned second quarter events and due to the decrease in revenues. These costs, including cost of sales associated with our digital agency and podcast and product lines, amount to about 20% of our revenues. Adding it all up and looking specifically at the second quarter, we expect that our cash operating expenses, fixed plus variable, will be down year over year by over $80 million. Looking at other elements of our liquidity, we realized $10.8 million of proceeds from the sale of WAAF FM in Boston in April.

We now expect that our full year cash income tax payments will be less than $10 million, given the benefit of a number of the CARES Act provisions, including the immediate full deduction for qualified improvement property. Under the CARES Act, we also expect a deferral payment of about $14 million of federal payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022. And given the significant decrease in LIBOR, we now project that our full year cash interest will be nicely inside $90 million. Turning to our outstanding debt.

Last year, we executed a series of transactions to amend and extend our revolver and to create added cushion against our first lien covenant. As a result of these transactions, 98% of our debt matures in November of 2024 or later, and our first lien leverage at the end of the first quarter was 2.5 times compared to our covenant of four times, calculated in accordance with the requirements of our credit agreement. Our total net leverage at the end of the first quarter was 4.9 times, and our total net debt was $1.64 billion. Our first lien covenant is our only maintenance covenant and is solely for the benefit of our revolving credit facility lenders or the 11 relationship banks that make up our syndicate.

To evaluate whether we will be able to maintain compliance with this maintenance covenant and to assess the adequacy of our liquidity, the company has run a range of scenarios, bearing the assumed timing and rapidity of the recovery. This in-depth analysis led us to conclude that our liquidity will be sufficient to weather this storm and that we will likely be able to maintain compliance with our covenant. With that said, the company is continuously monitoring business conditions and updating its projections, and will proactively seek a covenant waiver if deemed necessary. Such a waiver would require the approval of six of our 11 syndicate banks.

The term loan lenders do not participate in this process. With that, we'll now go to your questions. Missy?

Questions & Answers:


Operator

[Operator instructions] First question comes from Se Kim from Wolfe Research. Your line is open.

Se Kim -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

Good morning and thanks for taking the questions. I have a couple. On the cost side, can you walk us through the cadence of the $150 million in fixed cost savings identified, especially as it relates to the second half of the year? And for my second one, is there any way you could quantify the impact of the postponement of the MLB and the NBA to both revenue and expenses? Thank you.

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Yes. I'll start, and then David, you can pick up with the quantification of MLB. So I think we've tried to give you, say, enough so you can ascertain the fixed cost component of the savings in 2Q. We did say that our variable expenses are about 20% relative to revenue and that our total savings in 2Q, fixed plus variable, will be more than $80 million.

So hopefully, that's enough for you to parse out and make an estimate of the fixed cost piece, and then the remainder of the $150 million is rest of the year. David, I'll hand it to you, please?

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Yes. I mean if you look at sports play-by-play, it's a significant single-digit percentage of our business. But the cost will offset the revenue loss, and so it will wash out during the period in which there are no games.

Se Kim -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

Got you. And I was also hoping if you could parse out ad trends, I guess, more anecdotally what you are seeing across markets that have reopened and those that have not? Are you seeing a noticeable difference in business activity?

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

It's too early to call. I would say to you that at this stage, I would imagine a lot of us, days feel like weeks, weeks feel like months. But it's only been a few days since we've seen that happen. I would say that while there's some anecdotal or some specific instances, I would say, more broadly speaking, we've not seen any significant differentiation between those markets that are beginning to open and those that have not yet.

And I think it makes sense. I think advertisers are proceeding cautiously and watching how the public reacts and moving accordingly. That said, as I mentioned earlier, the tone and tenor of our conversations with customers has definitely improved. And we definitely hear a lot of them wanting to come back and really just a question of feeling out the situation as it evolves.

Se Kim -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

Thanks.

Operator

Thank you. Next question comes from Steven Cahall from Wells Fargo. Your line is open.

Steven Cahall -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Thanks. I was wondering if, first off, maybe you could just expand on the pacing a little bit. Can you give us maybe any sort of order of magnitude of what April was down or what May have been down, so that we can kind of model off that? And what kind of sequential improvement you might be seeing? And it'd be great in there to maybe compare and contrast national versus local. And any strong performance that you might still be seeing on the Entercom Audio Network? And I have a quick follow-up.

Thanks.

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

Rich, do you want to grab that?

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Yes. I'll start there and say that, yes, I really think at this point, pacing is suspect. And so given the uncertainty, we're uncomfortable giving guidance. We did provide some color on what our pacing shows now, really just to point out that we are seeing, at least in the quarter, a sequential improvement.

So clearly, right now, May is a handful of points better than April, and June is significantly better than May. Don't know if that's going to stick, we'll see as things shake out over these last six weeks, or if it accelerates, it's uncertain. And do you want to pick from there, David?

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. And just to speak to the categories. As you might imagine, local businesses are the worst impacted by this as a large number of those businesses are closed or in some state of disrepair at the moment. National and network is significantly stronger.

And our digital and podcasting business are also quite a bit stronger.

Steven Cahall -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

OK. Maybe then we can pick up on the digital side. So has that continued to kind of trend as it did in Q1, which was obviously really strong? And can you give us a sense of maybe just how big the digital business is at this point? We have a good sense of how big the podcast business is. But just wondering how big digital is overall since that's kind of maybe cushioning what's going on the non-digital side.

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Yes. So our digital revenues in total are greater than 10% of our total revenues. And we're seeing continued strength in podcasting and digital audio advertising, in particular.

Steven Cahall -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Great. And then maybe just a last one for me. So I think you said cash expenses will be down around $80 million in Q2. We were modeling that, that's considerably less than what revenue might be down in Q2.

So given with some big focus on expense management, can you just help us think about whether or not you'd expect to be free cash flow positive, maybe in Q2 or for the year overall? And included in that, maybe what sort of after-tax proceeds do you think you'll get from the station that you divested? Thanks.

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Yes. So when we think about the full year outlook, our base case model projects that we will be free cash flow positive for the year. And the $10.8 million in proceeds we got for WAAF in Boston is about $10 million after tax.

Steven Cahall -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Great. Thanks very much.

Operator

Thank you. Next question comes from Craig Huber from Huber Research Partners. Your line is open.

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

Thank you. Let me start with some just general housekeeping questions. Rich, was the podcast acquisition revenues in the quarter, say, $12 million to $13 million and was political roughly, say, $3 million? First question.

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Yes. So we gave guidance at the end of 2019 that the podcast businesses, Pineapple and Cadence combined, would do about $15 million of revenue. So yes, you're in the ballpark. And then our political was stronger in the first quarter.

We did about $7.7 million of net political versus about $1 million of revenue in the prior year. It was a very strong first quarter. And as others have commented, Mike Bloomberg and others spent a lot of money.

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

They certainly did. I mean — OK. That's helpful. But you're still thinking up roughly $20 million for the year, but maybe there could be some upside on that perhaps you're thinking, for political?

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

We'll see. All the information that we see, and we are very active with — we've built the team internally that's facing the top political agencies. We have a level of engagement with these agencies that, frankly, the company has never had before. We are working hard to bring our data and analytics capabilities to these campaigns, so they can better target the voters they're seeking to reach, and we are cautiously optimistic that we're going to do very well in this cycle, and we think revenues ought to be up at least $20 million year over year.

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

Then just so it's clear on my end, Rich, the $80 million cost number you guys are talking about in the second quarter, I think you're saying is that down from the first quarter on an absolute basis. Is that what you're suggesting?

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Yes. So the $80 million, the more than $80 million fixed plus variable is versus prior year actual as reported.

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

Versus prior year. OK. And then a bigger question on the cost front. Once we get through this pandemic here, that $80 million number, for example, what's your general sense of how much of that cost savings you guys can hang on to? Obviously, the furlough piece will come back.

But how much roughly would you think of that $80 million you will hang on to once we get through this pandemic period?

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Yes. And I'd say that we're working really hard on that question right now. So we did have a pretty sizable reduction in force, and that will deliver annual savings of $30 million. In addition, as we've mentioned a little bit earlier, we do see other changes resulting from this event that's making us rethink how we conduct business.

For example, I do suspect we're not going to have much travel in the future as we've had in the past. We're thinking about our facilities footprint. We're working quite successfully from home, and there are certain people, perhaps, that will never come back into our offices or will be there only for when they have meetings with their teams. So we are going through a process of reexamining kind of all elements of our expense base.

And we do think that a much greater percentage of the total savings will be made permanent, and we will provide further guidance on that percentage, that extent of savings as we progress further in this year. I don't know, David, do you want to add anything to that?

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

No, I think you've covered it well.

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

I have final two quick questions, if I could. If I would just think that April was maybe down 40% year over year on a same-store basis, is that in the ballpark, guys?

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

I'm sorry, what was? I missed the question.

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

Is the month of April ad revenues on same-store basis, if I was to assume it's down about 40%, for just the month of April year over year, is that a reasonable number to think about?

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

It's down a lot, and we don't want to talk specifics because it's, frankly, every day, we're looking at our pace and every day we're touching base with our leaders to get a sense of how things are progressing, and it's pretty uncertain and we're just not going to comment at this point on the outlook for 2Q.

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

Even though just for the month of April, I'm asking about, you guys can't comment on that?

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Don't want to. Thank you.

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

OK. My last question, guys. The advertising categories, I guess, for let's say, the last 1.5 months or so, what has held up the best? I know you mentioned national, but I'd like to hear a little bit more about that. What categories have held up the best, please?

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I mean if you look across our portfolio, one of the benefits of our model, of course, is we have a very diverse set of clients. By the same token, a significant chunk of them, of course, are in shutdown mode right now. The ones that are doing significantly better, you're looking at — I'm just pulling up my notes here, you're looking at categories like groceries, personal services, insurance, medical and a host of others, of that ilk.

And obviously, on the other side, you have categories like restaurants and casinos, and travel and so forth. Fortunately, all of which are relatively small portion of our revenue model.

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

I assume auto's on that last category, hurting pretty bad, right?

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

Auto was somewhere in the middle because, to some extent, they've benefited from — I mean, first, auto has been down quite a bit, but with some green shoots, I would say, as we look forward.

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Missy, can we move to next questioner, please.

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

OK. Great. Thank you, guys.

Operator

Next question comes from Zack Silver from B. Riley FBR. Your line is open.

Zack Silver -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

OK. Great. Thank you for taking the question. The first one, more of a kind of high-level longer-term one.

It's just in the last big downturn during '08, '09, obviously, all advertising took a big step down. But it seems like terrestrial radio never really recovered from 2007 levels. Just wondering what you can say to us, to investors that makes you think this time when we get through the other side of this that it's different and you guys are positioned better for recovery?

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. So first, it's quite a bit different today, I'd say for a few reasons. Number one, back then, Entercom, as an example, but I think typical of the industry, we were a one-dimensional business. We had radio stations without scale, and we have no data analytics or attribution capabilities whatsoever.

And so it was impossible for us to demonstrate quantifiable effectiveness or ROI. And today, that's totally different. We have thousands and thousands of our customers linked to our analytics platforms. We do lots of attribution work and took —1,000 customers connected to our attribution platforms.

And we are demonstrating stronger efficacy, and we think that's a fundamental difference in terms of the conversations that we will have going forward with customers. Secondly, at that time, it was a little bit of a perfect storm where digital was just hitting its stride and advertisers were looking for where to take those dollars from, and radio among other media got hit. We were vulnerable. Today, digital order commands a huge share of advertising.

You have many advertisers who have recognized that they may be underweighted to radio. And Procter & Gamble, being a great example of a company, which felt that they shifted their share back more toward traditional media, like radio, and we think there are others that will similarly look at their media mix. And when you think about radio being the No. 1 reach medium in the country today, which we were not then, and having, where other media, I think, are more vulnerable today than they were back then, I think that the landscape is quite different and that we will be able to play offense here and not just defense, particularly at the time when audio was hot.

And then also we have digital and podcasting businesses today that we didn't have back then. So if an advertiser pivots the conversation to digital, we're there to serve that need. And I think the last point I'd make is that we have deeper client relationships than we had before. And in a world in which advertisers are looking for total audience and impressions, I think, we stack up well for that fight.

And you've seen some validation of that from Jack Myers of The Myers Report, who is one of the most influential thought leaders in the ad world, who came out with a report recently, post COVID, in which he called, "Radio: The last bastion of legacy media strength," and that's a direct quote. And he compared the fortunes of radio with other legacy media favorably and argued that audio would grow 24% over the next five years. And that incorporates streaming and podcasting, but within that, he had high praise for radio and our wherewithal going forward. So we feel much more confident coming into this recovery than we did a decade ago.

Zack Silver -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

Got it. Thanks for that thoughtful response. You touched on, in your response, the analytics piece of it. And I think that you guys mentioned, I think, it was the third quarter of last year that you had about 6,000 advertisers connected to that platform.

When — I guess, on that, can we get an updated number? And then second, whether some of the conversations you're having with advertisers at this point, reaching out to them proactively, is this maybe an opportunity to get more traction on that analytics platform?

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

So to your first question, I don't have a recent number in front of me, but I've seen something with a seven handle circulating recently, so let's call it somewhere north of 7,000. And we're also now doing different forms of attribution that are enhancing the scope of what we can deliver for clients such our databases continue to expand. So that's exciting. And we're absolutely having this conversation with customers, and it's great to have sort of data-driven conversations that are absolutely influential.

And we've seen in terms of attrition rates of advertisers, those advertisers who are on our platforms and with whom we have these kinds of conversations, we have a much higher retention rate than across those who we don't.

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

I was just going to add to that, Zack, that our analytics platform is really a tool that's focused on web lift and creative optimization, day-part optimization. We have a series of other attribution capabilities, like retail foot traffic, that are also available to our advertisers. And it's not just individual advertisers, but we're having conversations at the HoldCo level of our analytic capabilities and how we can demonstrate the effectiveness of radio and how our data, and we have a very large, over 30 million set of first-party data that they can use to target their audience, and we can provide — we can wrap around that campaign attribution. So I do think when you think about where we were a decade ago to now, it's night and day.

And we are in a much better position to lean forward and really tell our story with facts and figures.

Zack Silver -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

Got it. And then if I could just squeeze one more in around the network growth. I think, David, you mentioned in your prepared remarks, it was up double digits for the quarter, which I think was a lot better in the industry overall. Are we interpreting that correctly? And I guess, what drove the outperformance versus the industry?

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

You are correct that we did talk about double-digit growth in the first quarter. And I think it echoes one of the themes that we touched on earlier, which is the quality of our offerings. And we work hard to differentiate ourselves on that on quality and you see that in our leading news stations, you see that in the quality of our sports stations and the premium content that we generate. And you see that in our podcast lineup, as we talked about.

And when it comes to our network, our network is a boutique network that only covers our radio stations, so you're dealing with strong brands in top markets. And unlike some of the other networks, which offer a broader offering, we're a little more boutiquey, and I think that gives us a little bit of an edge here that's enabled us to grow. But that said, we have good competitors out there. And I think network radio, on a broader note, is well positioned for the future.

Zack Silver -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

Got it. Very helpful. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our last question comes from Avi Steiner from JP Morgan.

Avi Steiner -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Thank you and I appreciate the time. Two questions, maybe the first for you, David. You answered the question on the differences this time versus — sort of this time period versus last recession and the different digital competitive backdrop. I was wondering if you could touch on how you see traditional radio and podcasting faring on a listenership basis if work from home becomes a more permanent aspect of everyday life.

I hope it doesn't, but I'm just curious as to your thoughts there, Dave.

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

Sure. So we do know that driving is an important part of our listenership model. It's, call it, 40% or so. People lose the fact that almost 60% comes from home listening and from other listening out and about away from home, people at work, you think about a spectrum of types of employment where people listen on the job.

So we have seen that in recent weeks. We talked a little bit about ratings performance and definitely affected. Nielsen has come out and talked about the disruptive moment and as already told advertisers that basically once we come out of this, that data is really not applicable to a recovery. And we're already seeing that in our week-to-week data where significant increases week-to-week in listenership.

And we're also, as I mentioned, doing really well in the home and seeing double-digit growth across smart speakers and so forth. And that technology has really enhanced our value proposition for listeners in a significant way. All of that said, I'm actually kind of bullish about where we're going in terms of listenership for a few reasons. One, I should just point out to the side that the primary pure-play streamers were also hit and knocked down in March.

We've seen data from both Spotify and from Pandora showing slower listening. So again, I think you're dealing with a disruptive moment in time. But as we look forward, people are not going to be locked up in their homes, they're going to be out and about. And I think that one big sea change event that we may see here is that mass transit and ridesharing are going to be hell of a lot less popular going forward for quite some time than personal vehicles.

And so we may see a surge in automobile ownership. And that probably leads to a greater amount of driving and a greater amount of radio consumption as a result.

Avi Steiner -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

I really appreciate that answer. And maybe one for you, Rich. The focus now, I know, is clearly on the core business, which is absolutely the right thing. But your bonds are trading at a fairly large discount, particularly your shorter-dated in the context of the liquidity comment I heard earlier in the call.

And I'm wondering if there's something you could or would consider doing to address that beyond focusing on performance? And I appreciate the time again, stay healthy.

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Thanks, Avi. And you could imagine, we have a great syndicate of 11 relationship banks, and we're actively engaged in conversations with them about market conditions, about opportunities. And so we're looking at everything and are thinking about everything, but haven't made any decisions about, perhaps, how we could exploit the opportunity you're pointing to.

Operator

Thank you. And our last question for the call comes from Davis Hebert from Wells Fargo. Your line is open.

Davis Hebert -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Actually, my question has been asked and answered.

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Thank you Davis.

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Davis. And just want to thank everybody for attending the call in these challenging times and wish everybody all the best for staying safe and being well, and look forward to reporting back to you all in the times ahead. Thank you.

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Thank you very much. Bye-bye.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 51 minutes

Call participants:

Richard Schmaeling -- Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

David Field -- Chief Executive Officer

Se Kim -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

Steven Cahall -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Craig Huber -- Huber Research Partners -- Analyst

Zack Silver -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

Avi Steiner -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Davis Hebert -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

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