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Journal TV Station Revenue Down 20 Percent in 1Q

MILWAUKEE: Revenues for the 12 TV stations owned by Journal Communications came in at $26 million during the first three months of 2009. The figure was down nearly 20 percent from $32.4 million posted last year. Political diminished entirely compared to $1.7 million during 1Q08. Operating earnings were down 98 percent to just $100,000, compared to $3.6 million last year. Television operating expenses (including KWBA-TV, acquired in July 2008) are down 9.9 percent compared to last year primarily due to a reduced payroll.

Retransmission revenue was $1.3 million compared to $300,000. Total broadcast operating earnings, including the radio stations, were $900,000, down 88 percent compared to $7.1 million in 1Q08.

The combined media properties generated revenues of $106.8 million, down 20 percent from $134.3 million in 1Q08. The operating loss was $600,000 compared to operating earnings of $12.6 million a year ago. The net earnings of $100,000 compares to net earnings of $6.7 million, which included $400,000 of earnings from discontinued operations.

“The difficult economic environment and continuation of reduced advertising spending across all of our local markets impacted our revenue in the first quarter,” said Steven J. Smith, Journal Communications chairman and CEO. “Publishing revenue was down 20.7% and broadcasting revenue was down 20.5% in the quarter. We continue to be focused on finding additional efficiencies in our businesses, as well as driving revenue initiatives. We anticipate that the economic challenges we are facing today will persist into the second quarter and throughout 2009; therefore, initiatives like our 6 percent across-the-board compensation reductions are difficult but necessary measures.”

The pay cut was announced earlier this month. -- Deborah D. McAdams