Qantum isn't in PC, are they? It's Magic you're thinking about (Q is over in FWB), right?
Here are some rough guesses at overall billing. I'm undoubtedly off by a few hundred grand here or there, but for purposes of this casual conversation, I'd bet a dollar I ain't that far off. I'm guessing that total radio billing for PC is somewhere in the $6 million to $7 million range, with CC accounting for half of that, Magic at somewhere in the $1.5 million to $2 million range, and OO somewhere between a million and $1.5 million.
When you each have 4-5-6 radio stations, none of them have to bill a shitload of money individually for it to add up to a fairly tidy pile. If OO averages something like $10 to $15 a pop on those four sticks of theirs (adding up to, say, a $50 "combo" buy) and they knock out just 2,000 units a month--which one great AE or four lousy AEs could do in their sleep--they're at $100K a month. Run the SOB for $70K a month and it spins off 30 percent cash flow--enough to pay the mortgage and keep Terry Bond on the yacht. Ain't no big deal.
And, Charlie, you're right. Most of the time the Magic/OO stations aren't really running "commercial free," but rather a lesser number of much cheaper spots.
But, no, it ain't a piece of cake down there. But, yes, the three consolidators in the market are all still squeezing out some cash flow--and that's why there haven't been any "fire sales"... and may not be for awhile.
I'll amend my own Crystal Ball guesstimates...
Say OO does 2500 units (or the equivalent) per month--less than what one healthy station there could do 20 years ago-- and brings in $125K... and runs it for $70K... then
you've got enough to pay the mortgage on whatever's left of a $6 million mortgage--possibly restructured by this time, anyway (everybody's doing it who can get away with it). Catch my drift? They're 5 or 6 years into it...
On the other hand, CC--according to my wild-ass guessing above--would be tossing one or two million a year back to Texas... and Magic? Well, their internal strife over the past few years is well documented, but ya gotta figure that they're doing alright if they're somewhere in-between these two scenarios. A lot depends on how the empire was financed, but operationally it looks like a profitable venture from this far away.