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Journal Communications Imposes Pay Cut

MILWAUKEE: The top echelon of employees at Journal Communications will have to take off 10 unpaid days this year. The furloughs amount to a 6 percent salary reduction, several news outlets reported. Executives and managers are said to be affected by the move motivated by the collapse of the ad market.

Journal Communications (NYSE: JRN) has 12 TV stations, 35 radio stations, around 50 newspapers, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and around 190 Web sites. The cut comes across all properties, affecting corporate staff and supervisors, but not union workers in newsrooms. JRN also announced a voluntary buyout plan for full- and part-time union workers of two weeks’ severance per year of employment capping at 30 weeks.

The company is reported to be cutting $1.2 million from its annual payroll. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2008, JRN reported a net loss of $244.4 million on revenues of $544.9 million. The television division posted a full-year operating loss of $60.8 million included an $80 million impairment charge.

The company meanwhile registered to sell up to $400 million in securities. The application with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is intended to allow a series of incremental sales of debt, common stock, preferred stock, warrants or other types of issues. Proceeds would go toward existing debt, continued operations and/or possibly acquisitions.

Shares of JRN moved up slightly after the strategies were publicized, from a 78-cent close on Wednesday up to around $1.28 in mid-day trading today. -- Deborah D. McAdams