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LIN TV Post Expected Revenue Increase

PROVIDENCE, R.I.: LIN TV today reported a 23 percent rise in first-quarter revenues due to a stronger ad market. The final results were in line with LIN’s preliminary expectation issued April 7. Net revenues totaled $91.8 million compared to $74.5 million for the first quarter of 2009.

Core local and national advertising sales combined, excluding political, increased 17 percent to $84.3 million. Political advertising climbed from $500,000 to $3.4 million. Automotive--representing 23 percent of LIN’s core ad sales, was up 54 percent to $19.3 million. Retail, 16 percent of sales, was up 10 percent. Digital revenues comprising Internet advertising and retransmission fees, was up 47 percent to $13.2 million.

Operating income was up 340 percent to $16.3 million. Net income was down significantly to $3.5 million from $24.7 million last year when LIN had a $50.1 million gain on debt extinguishment.

Earnings per share was 6 cents, a bit below Street expectations of 8 cents due to a $2.1 million restructuring charge.

Cash and equivalents when the quarter ended March 31 totaled $9.7 million. Total debt outstanding was $667.3 million. LIN paid $4 million in principal on its term loan balance during the quarter. Consolidated leverage was 6.4x as of March 31 compared to 7.6x as of Dec, 31, 2009.

LIN expects 2Q10 revenues to come in between $98.9 million and $103.9 million, versus Wells Fargo’s projection of $96.1 million and the Street’s average of $98.8 million.

Shares of LIN gained about 2 percent in today’s trading, reaching $8.10, near a 52-week high of $8.19. -- Deborah D. McAdams