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Gray Warns of Default

ATLANTA: Gray Television today warned that it would likely fall out of leverage compliance at the end of the month as it issued preliminary results for 4Q and full-year 2009.

“Based upon our financial projections as of the date of this press release, we do not expect to be in compliance with our leverage ratio as of March 31, 2010,” when Gray’s allowed leverage ratio drops from 8.75x to 7x.“We have commenced discussions with lenders under the senior credit facility to seek certain modifications to the terms of that credit facility, including the leverage ratio covenant,” Gray said.

Preliminary 4Q09 revenues from Gray 36 TV stations came in at $77.5 million, down 18 percent from the year-earlier quarter. Local advertising revenue was up 5 percent to $47.1 million. National decreased 1 percent to $15.9 million. Internet was flat at $3.2 million. Political fell 82 percent to $5 million. Retrans was up 346 percent to $3.7 million. Production and other revenues fell 10 percent to $1.9 million.

Gray brought in $600,000 from Young Broadcasting stations that it was tapped to run in the wake of that company’s bankruptcy.

Full-year revenues fell 17 percent to $270.4 million. Local was down 7 percent to $170.8 million. National fell 21 percent to $53.9 million. Internet fell 4 percent to $10 million. Retrans increased 414 percent to $15.6 million. Production and other decreased 13 percent to $7.1 million. The Young consultancy brought in $900,000.

Gray (NYSE: GTN) did not report preliminary income figures. It ended 2009 with $16 million in cash and $791.8 million in long-term debt, including current portion but not an accrued facility fee of $18.3 million.

Shares of Gray were up nearly 70 percent year-to-date at $2.55 this afternoon; though down about 6 percent for the day.-- Deborah D. McAdams More on Gray:
November 9, 2009: “Gray Swings to $10 Million Loss
Gray Television shares dropped 20 percent this morning after the broadcaster reported a third-quarter loss of nearly $10 million.

October 15, 2009: “Gray Increases Guidance for 3Q”
Gray Television, expects third-quarter results will be better than previously anticipated.

October 1, 2009: “Gray Regains NYSE Compliance”
Gray was notified last Nov. 4 that the price of its common stock was trading beneath the Exchange’s required minimum

September 3, 2009: “Gray Conducts Successful Mobile DTV Tests”
Gray said it commenced its first successful mobile DTV signal at WOWT-TV, its NBC affiliate in Omaha, Nebr., on July 24.

August 10, 2009:“Gray’s 2Q Reflects Off-political Year”
Gray posted a net loss of $6.6 million on revenues of $65 million for the three months ending June 30. Wachovia had GTN coming in with revenues of $66 million for the quarter.
July 22, 2009: “Gray Tapped to Run Reorganized Young Stations”
Gray Television will run the 10 TV stations that went to senior lenders in the Young Broadcasting bankruptcy, pending court approval.

May 8, 2009: “Gray Television Revenues Drop 14 Percent”
Revenues at Gray Television’s 36 TV stations were down 14 percent to $61.4 million compared to $71 million in 1Q08.

March 16, 2009: “Gray Posts Loss on $339 Million Impairment”
Gray posted full-year revenues of $327 million, up 6 percent from 2007. Revenues for 4Q08 totaled $94.8 million, up 12 percent from the same period a year previous.

February 9, 2009: “Gray TV Stations Get Click-through Technology
Gray Television will launched interactive TV technology from Backchannelmedia, a Boston-based firm specializing in TV click-throughs.

December 30, 2008: “Gray Expects $11 Million From Retrans in ’09”
Gray Television announced that it has reached agreements “in principle” with 27 cable operators comprising 3.3 million subscribers.

November 26, 2008: “Gray TV Executes Repurchase”
Gray Television has repurchased 883,200 shares of its own common stock at 20 cents per plus commission.

July 16, 2008: “Gray Television Issues $25 Million in Stock”
Gray Television issued $25 million worth of Series D preferred stock in a private placement to make a prepayment on its outstanding term loan.

July 2, 2008: “Gray Television Puts $65 Million Toward Debt
Gray Television made a voluntary $65 million payment on an outstanding loan on June 26.