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Media General Forecasts 14 Percent 2Q TV Station Uptick

RICHMOND, VA.: Media General laid out its second-quarter expectations today, saying TV station revenues are on target to come in 14 percent higher than a year ago. The rise is attributable to increased political and automotive spending, as most station groups are reporting this year. Media General stations are benefiting from campaigns in Ohio, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida.

Second-quarter 2009 revenues for the 18 TV stations were $64.7 million, down 21 percent from 2008. Political revenues dipped from $2 million in ’08 to $800,000 in 2Q09. Media General reported revenues of $67 million for the TV stations during the first quarter of 2010.

Consolidated revenues will reflect a 7 percent drop in print publishing, Media General said. Consolidated revenues are expected to come in just 2 percent higher than a year ago when Media General’s print, Web and TV businesses generated $163.8 million. That figure compares to $204.9 million for 2Q08.

Media General said it “continues to expect that total operating costs will increase 3 to 4 percent in the second quarter of 2010, reflecting the absence of furlough days in 2010 and increased support of new revenue initiatives.”

Free cash flow for the full year of 2010 is forecast at $58 million to $60 million. Shares (NYSE: MEG) were off around 1 percent in today’s trading to $11.50 on news that new home construction was down.
-- Deborah D. McAdams