Emmis Communications – Jake Kalmenson

Emmis Communications

by Jake Kalmenson


1 Emmis Communications’ Logo

Emmis Communications

40 Monument Circle, Suite 700

Indianapolis, IN 46204



Emmis Communications is a media conglomerate based in Indianapolis that specializes in broadcast radio and publishing. The company holds 24 radio stations in six different markets, as well as six magazine publications in five different markets. The company was established in 1979 when Jeff Smulyan purchased WSVL, a radio station in Shelbyville, Indiana. After a few years of struggling to get the operation going, WENS was finally launched, penetrating the market as an adult contemporary format—the station was nearly an automatic hit.  One significant member of the newly launched radio station was David Letterman who was just entering broadcast as a career. His fast appeal as a personality contributed mightily to the overall success of the radio station.  With the success of the companies first acquisition, Smulyan used his profits and reinvested them into the company, eventually turning Emmis Communications into a multi-media company that today ranks among the top 10 in the radio industry in the United States. 2

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 3.15.08 PM

3 Jeff Smulyan – Founder and Board Member – Emmis Communications

Jeff Smulyan serves as the founder and Chairman of the Board of Emmis Communications. In 1989, Smulyan and a group of investors purchased the Seattle Mariners. Only three years later they decided to sell it. Evidently, Jeff isn’t solely a radio guy, he has immersed Emmis into the magazine publication industry as well as the digital marketplace. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in history and Telecommunications, as well as earned a Juris Doctor degree from the USC Law School. 4

Rick Cummings - President of Programming

5 Rick Cummings – President of Programming

Rick Cummings joined the media company as its first program director for WENS-FM. He later went on to become the national program director for Emmis Communications in 1984. Later on in 2002, he became the President of Programming.6

RADIO: Emmis has a variety of stations in a multitude of markets, however a few in particular help bring in the majority of its revenues. These include its two flagship stations: Power 106 and Hot 97

Power 106

Power 106

7 Power 106

Power 106, Emmis’ Los Angeles-based hip-hop station, is a huge brand and has been the number one urban-hit station in LA for years. The station serves as a portal to debut hits as well as break new artists as millions of people tune in each day. For years KPWR (Power 106) had “Big Boy” host the morning show. However, last year the huge radio company Clear Channel (IHeart Radio) entered the market as a clear competitor with the launch of 92.3. The largest radio conglomerate used its leverage to strip Power 106 of its long-time morning show host by offering him a bigger contract. Since Big Boy left KPWR, the station has seen a serious dip in its ratings: the company moved from #5 in the market to #16 by the end of the year. 8

Kanye West at Power 106

9 Kanye West at Power 106

Hot 97

10 Hot 97 Logo

WQHT or “Hot 97” became the first all hip-hop station in 1992 when the format changed from dance to hip-hop and R&B. This change was in response to the station experiencing an all-time-low in ratings. Ever since, the station has been a powerhouse, trendsetting and defining hip-hop culture in the number one radio market, New York City. Hot 97’s principal demographic is 18-34 year olds. The station has facilitated the breaking of big time artists including: Jay Z, Nas, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo and 50 Cent.11


Every year Emmis Communication takes advantage of its powerful position in the music industry by hosting multiple music festivals. In Los Angeles, Power 106 puts on the concert ‘PowerHouse,’ which features many of the top hip-hop artists in the world. Additionally, the company’s New York hip-hop radio station ‘Hot 97’ hosts the music festival “Summer Jam” which takes place at MetLife stadium in New York City. In recent news, Emmis Communications has expanded its ‘Summer Jam’ to Tokyo.

Summer Jam Takes Tokyo

12 Summer Jam Takes Tokyo


In the financial report released November 30th, 2015, Emmis Communications released its net revenues per sector of the company. Evidently, radio revenues were the highest at $132,789,000 nine months into the year. As compared to last year, the company is down almost $5 million in revenue. Revenues from publishing remained steady: only dropping in the $10,000 range. What stands out most is that the company generated a significantly higher amount in the field of ‘Emerging Technologies,’ which refers to online radio and digital advertising. In 2014, the company saw $318,000 in revenue, whereas in 2015 the company saw almost $1 million in revenue: $985,000.13

Financial Results for Q3

14 Financial Results for Q3

Emmis Communications or (EMMS) currently sells for 58 cents per share. Over the last month (since March 28th) the company’s stock price has fluctuated within a range of 10 cents. It has hit a high of .65 cents per share, meanwhile hitting a low of 55 cents per share.

EMMS Stock - Month

15 EMMS Stock – Month

As shown below, the price has significantly wavered since 2012: it hit a high of over $3 per share, meanwhile also hitting a low of its current state, .58 cents per share. The company’s owner has attributed its fallen stock price to the recent struggles the company has faced in Los Angeles as well as the general consensus that radio is a declining industry.

EMMS Stock - Year

16 EMMS Stock – Year

Recent News

Due to the difficulties the company has seen with its flagship station KPWR, it has taken action to cut costs by laying off employees, cutting executive salaries and lowering its budget. After experiencing a weak fiscal quarter, the company laid off 32 employees, cutting about 3% of its workforce. In addition to the layoffs, the company is also shaving the salaries of all its senior executives. In an article published by The Indy Star, the company is looking to cut “$7.5 million from its budget, as well as $5.3 million from its radio properties.” Additionally, Smulyan decided not to renew the contract of Mike Corbin–someone who had worked for the company for nearly 10 years, as well as Deon Levingston, the company’s New York general manager. 17

What’s to Come

While the situation in Los Angeles as well as the decline of its stock price might suggest a variable future for the company, many believe that the low valuation is a result of an overreaction to a declining radio industry. While studies show that more and more people are using streaming services to consume music, there continues to remain strong evidence showing that radio is still the most dominant medium for music consumption. According to the Nielsen Total Audience Report, AM/FM radio still reaches over 90% of all Americans and 223 million people each week.18


  1. “Emmis Communications.” Emmis Communications Home Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
  2. “History of Emmis Communications.” History of Emmis Communications. N.p., n.d. Web.
  3. “Jeff Smulyan – Chairman, CEO, and Founder.” Emmis Communications. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
  4. Ibid.
  5. “Rick Cummings – Emmis Communications.” Emmis Communications. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
  6. Ibid.
  7. “Power 106 | Where Hip Hop Lives.” Power 106 | Where Hip Hop Lives. Emmis Communications, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
  8. “Emmis Radio: Power 106 KPWR – Los Angeles.” Emmis Communications. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
  9. “Kanye West – Awesome – [LEAKED MUSIC].” Power 106. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
  10. “HOT 97 | Where Hip Hop Lives.” HOT 97 | Where Hip Hop Lives. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
  11. “RADIO: New York – HOT 97 WQHT – Emmis Communications.” Emmis Communications. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
  12. “Hot 97’s Summer Jam Takes Its Talents To Tokyo.” Vibe. N.p., 30 Mar. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
  13. Newton, R. Emmis. “801.” The Mathematical Gazette 12.178 (1925): 475. Summary of Financial Results. Web.
  14. Ibid.
  15. “Emmis Communications Corporation.” : NASDAQ:EMMS Quotes & News. Google Finance, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Briggs, James. “Emmis Communications Confirms Layoffs.” Indystar. Indystar, n.d. Web.
  18. “STATE OF THE MEDIA: AUDIO TODAY 2014.” Nielsen. N.p., n.d. Web.
  19. Contents, Table Of. EMMIS COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION (n.d.): n. pag. Emmis Communications 10-K. Emmis Communications. Web.
  20. “Emmis Announces International Expansion of HOT 97 Summer Jam.” PR Newswire. PR Newswire, n.d. Web.
  21. “Emmis Communications Income-statement 2016-Q3.” Emmis Communications Quarterly Income Statement 2016 Q3, 2016 Q2. Amigo Bulls, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
  22. “HOT 97 | Where Hip Hop Lives.” HOT 97 | Where Hip Hop Lives. Emmis Communications, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
  23. Owen, Laura. “Left on the Dial: With Young People Trading AM/FM for Streaming, Will Radio Find a Home in Your next Car?” Neiman Lab. Neiman Lab, n.d. Web.
  24. “RADIO: New York – HOT 97 WQHT – Emmis Communications.” Emmis Communications. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
  25. “RADIO REACHES 223M LISTENERS EACH WEEK.” Inside Radio. Inside Radio, n.d. Web.
  26. “Top Audio Companies.” : Media Ownership Database. State of the News Media, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.



Emmis Communications Corporation

by Mia Kuhn

The Emmis Comunications Corporation’s logo. Image courtesy of Emmis Communications.

Address: One Emmis Plaza
            40 Monument Circle, Suite 700
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
E-mail: IR@emmis.com
Phone: 317.266.0100

Website: emmis.com


As the 9th largest radio group in the United States, Emmis Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: EMMS) owns and runs several magazine and radio systems. Emmis operates on the medium to large scale for its market size and has been formally acknowledged as the Most Respected Radio Company in a poll by some of the industry’s leading CEOs. [1]

Company Overview:

New York City’s source for all things Hip-Hop. “Where Hip-Hop Lives.” Image courtesy of WQHT-FM.

Emmis has been evolving since 1979 when Jeff Smulyan and a couple others bought WSVL in Shelbyville, Indiana. One purchase after another, the company has accumulated properties to build what is now a global enterprise with stations from Austin, Texas and St. Louis, Missouri to Hungary, Slovakia, and Bulgaria. Emmis went public in 1994 and now holds ownership over some of the nation’s largest markets, such as New York City’s WQHT-FM (Hot 97) and Los Angeles’s KPWR-FM (Power 106). [2]

As one of the best places to work in Indiana 2012, Emmis stands for a conducive working environment while it also maintains reputable radio, publishing, digital, social impact, and TagStation® and NextRadio™ operations. The company has embodied a definitive “Emmis  culture,” where they believe in risk-taking and positive guidance of employees in order to get innovative and creative outcomes while having fun.

Emmis Communications Corportation was voted one of the best places to work in Indiana in 2012. Image courtesy of emmis.com.

Corporate Philosophy (1 being most important):

  1. Take care of your audiences and advertisers – think of them and you’ll win.
  2. Be passionate about what you do and compassionate about how you do it.
  3. Be good to your people – get them into the game and give them a piece of the pie.
  4. Never jeopardize your integrity – we win the right way or we don’t win at all
  5. Believe in yourself – if you think you can make it happen, you will. [3]
Despite the radio industry weakening with the emergence of online radio presence and more popular news and music acquiring devices, Emmis proceeds to shed positive light on the matter by embracing its corporate philosophy. The corporation’s administration is currently following its eleven commandments to create new and interesting projects.

“Great media. Great People. Great Service.” Screenshot of a graphic of Emmis Communications Corporation’s logline from emmis.com.


Board of Directors:

Jeff Smulyan, Chairman of Board, President, and CEO of Emmis Communications. Image courtesy of emmis.com.

Jeff Smulyan is the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Emmis Communications. He graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Telecommunications and History from University of Southern California. Smulyan’s education propelled him into radio. He managed a station in Indianapolis and Omaha prior to forming Emmis in 1980. Smulyan has held several high-esteemed positions in the radio field; he is the former director of the National Association of Broadcasters, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Radio Advertising Bureau, and past chair of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. [4]

Patrick Walsh, EVP, CFO, and COO of Emmis Communications. Image courtesy of emmis.com.

Patrick Walsh has been the Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Operating Officer of Emmis Communications since 2006. Walsh earned a degree in business from the University of Michigan and gained much of his experience from being the CFO and Senior Vice President at iBiquity Digital Corporation. [5]

Company Officers (In addition to Jeff Smulyan and Patrick Walsh):

  • Rick Cummings –  President of Programming for Emmis Radio
  • Scott Enright –  Executive Vice President and General Counsel
  • Greg Loewen –  President of Publishing and Chief Strategy Officer
  • Paul Brenner –  Senior Vice President – Chief Technology Officer
  • Ian D. Arnold – Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary
  • Ryan A. Hornaday –  Senior Vice President of Finance and Treasurer
  • Valerie C. Maki –  Senior Vice President – Emmis Radio Division, Los Angeles Market Manager
  • Deborah Paul – Executive Vice President – Editorial Director – Publishing
  • Traci L. Thomson – Vice President of Human Resources

Board of Directors:

  • Susan Bayh – Visiting Professor, Butler University
  • Gary Kassef – Former Executive Vice President and General Counsel
  • Richard Leventhal – President & Majority Owner of LMCS, LLC.
  • Peter Lund – Media Consultant and former President & CEO of CBS Television
  • Greg Nathanson – Former Television Division President
  • Lawrence Sorrel – Tailwind Capital Partners

Other Key Executives

  • Angie May Cook – Vice President, Emmis Digital
  • Sarah Harris – Founder, Incite
  • Alexandra Cameron – Senior Vice President, Emmis Radio Division; New York Market Manager
  • Amy Saralegui – Vice President/Group Publisher, National Sales, Emmis Publishing [6]


Most Recent Financial Data:

A press release from October 12, 2012 describes Emmis Communication’s second quarter as being negatively impacted by “station divestitures.” The past year illustrates net revenue for the second fiscal quarter increased 1 percent, from $54.4 million to $55.0 million.  Pro forma radio net revenues increased 2 percent, from $41.4 million to $42.0 million. This growth in radio revenues exceeded market revenue growth in the quarter, which was less than 1 percent. The Motley Fool nasdaq report card contains the most recent analysis and assessments of NASDAQ:EMMS. [7]

Emmis Communications Corporation notes solid growth in second quarter pro forma revenue growth. This table reconciles reported results (dollars are in thousands). Image courtesy of emmis.com.

Emmis Communications also has a more detailed and consolidated version of their second quarter Financial Data and Subsidiaries Report available for viewing.

Emmis Communications- Class A (EMMS) Snapshot. Screenshot courtesy of investing.businessweek.com.


With the radio industry already struggling with the emergence of MP3s, Internet radio, and specializing radio services, it doesn’t help Emmis Communications that it has to compete against bigger radio corporations. The company’s top three competitors are Clear Channel Communication, Inc., Citadel Broadcasting Corporation, which was bought by Cumulus Media, and CBS Radio Inc. [8]

Companies financially relative to Emmis Communications. Screenshot courtesy of Google NASDAQ data.


Emmis Radio:

August 22, 2012, Emmis Communications’ Terre Haute, Indiana sector signed an agreement to add an ESPN brand station, WSDM-FM, to its collection. It also managed to acquire WSDX-AM. Both of these stations were signed over by Crossroads Investments LLC. Both groups also signed a Local Programming and Marketing Agreement (LMA) that allowed Emmis-Terre Haute to organize and sell advertising on the stations. This agreement went active Septembers 1, 2012. [9]

WIBC, 93.1 FM, Indy’s News Center. Image Courtesy of WIBC and Emmis Communications.

On November 17, 2012, Emmis bought an Indianapolis- area translator for $375,000 from Kaspar Broadcasting, Co., Inc. The official document filed with the FCC stated the new acquisition will rebroadcast Talk WIBC, Indianapolis. [10]

In addition to these recently acquired stations, Emmis currently has these FM and AM stations nationally and internationally –

Austin, Texas

KGSR-FM (93.3)

KLBJ-AM (590)

KLBJ-FM (93.7)

KROX-FM (101.5)

Comedy 102.7


KBPA-FM (103.5 BOB)

St. Louis, Missouri


KPNT-FM (105.7 The Point)

KFTK-FM (FM NewsTalk 97.1)

KHIT-FM (K-Hits 95)

Indianapolis, Indiana

WLHK-FM (97.1 Hank FM)

WIBC-FM (93.1 FM)

WFNI-AM (1070 The Fan)

WYXB-FM (105.7 FM)

Network Indiana


WTHI-FM (99.9 FM)

WWVR-FM (105.5 FM)

WFNF-AM (1130 The Fan)


X Radio Expres


Radio Star FM

Radio FM+

Radio Fresh [11]

Emmis Publishing:

Screenshot of “Los Angeles Magazine” graphic. Image courtesy of www.lamag.com.

Emmis currently has publications in California, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and Texas. The corporation has been involved magazine publication since 1988 and is currently operating 6 different magazines. In California, “Orange Coast” and “Los Angeles Magazine” in Georgia, “Atlanta“, in Ohio “Cincinatti” , in Indianapolis, “Indianapolis Monthly“, and in Texas, “Texas Monthly“. [12]

December 2012 Issue of Los Angeles Magazine. Screenshot courtesy of www.lamag.com.

Features of December 2012’s issue of “Los Angeles Magazine” include winter escapes, a holiday gift guide, and seasonal delicacies. The magazine concentrates on providing consumers information on what’s best in LA. From “The Guide” giving the 30 best places to go this month to what films are must see. [13]

Emmis Digital:

Emmis is keeping track of their mentions using the Twitter handle of @EmmisDigital. This sector is strictly social media content. Emmis is also present on Facebook. [14]

Emmis Communications Applications:

October 4, 2012, Emmis Interactive was sold to Marketron in order to provide Emmis Communications Corporation the ability to maximize commercialization of its FM/Analog Radio Smartphone application. Although Emmis sold their property, they still proceed to work with Marketron Interactive on their future developments and distributions of the renowned Digital Suite of software and services. These deluxe systems include BaseStation®, GeoStation® and Guidable™.  Emmis Communications remains a primary customer of Marketron and will gain a portion of its economic successes. [15]

NextRadio is the future of smartphone radio reception for Emmis Communications. Screenshot courtesy of www.tagstation.com.

As of November 28, 2012, the new HD radio application called NextRadio™ was in the final steps of beta testing, according to Emmis. The corporation intends on marketing NextRadio™ to wireless carriers so consumers can listen to live and local radio without having to absorb their data plans. Emmis Communications Corporation continues to build their current TagStation® application and have high hopes for a successful launch of the NextRadio™ service. [16] [17]



[1] Who We Are: About Emmis Communications,  http://www.emmis.com/who-we-are

[2] Who We Are: The Emmis Story, http://www.emmis.com/who-we-are/history.aspx

[3] The Eleven Commandments of Emmis Communications, http://www.emmis.com/who-we-are/eleven-commandments.aspx

[4] Jeff Smulyan, Chairman, President, & CEO, http://www.emmis.com/who-we-are/executives/smulyan.aspx

[5] Patrick Walsh, EVP/CFO/COO, http://www.emmis.com/who-we-are/executives/walsh.aspx

[6] Executives, http://www.emmis.com/who-we-are/executives.aspx

[7] Emmis Communications Reports Solid Second Quarter Pro Forma Revenue Growth, http://www.emmis.com/press/story.aspx?ID=1790065

[8] Top Competitors for Emmis Communications Corporation, http://www.hoovers.com/company-information/cs/competition.Emmis_Communications_Corporation.4eb71fc85d36c170.html

[9] Emmis -Terre Haute to Acquire WSDM-FM/WSDX-AM, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/emmis-terre-haute-to-acquire-wsdm-fmwsdx-am-emmis-terre-haute-moves-into-new-facility-167040985.html

[10] Emmis Buys Indianapolis-Area Translator, http://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/112695/emmis-buys-indianapolis-area-translator

[11] Emmis Radio, http://www.emmis.com/what-we-do/radio/

[12] Emmis Publishing, http://www.emmis.com/what-we-do/publishing/

[13] Los Angeles Magazine, December 2012, http://www.lamag.com/toc/2012/11/21/december-2012

[14] Emmis Digital, http://www.emmisdigital.com/

[15] Emmis Sells Emmis Interactive to Marketron, http://finance.yahoo.com/news/emmis-sells-emmis-interactive-marketron-160100094.html

[16] New App For HD Radio in Smartphones Now in Final Beta Tests, http://consumerelectronicsdaily.com/Content/nextradio-app-will-enable-hd-radio-reception-in-smartphones-next-year-emmis-says.aspx

[17] What’s Next? Emmis Preparing for NextRadio™ for Smartphone Introduction in 2013, http://www.emmis.com/press/story.aspx?ID=1812333