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Media General’s TV Stations Generated $41.5 Million in Political Revenues

RICHMOND, VA.: Media General announced today that its 18 broadcast television stations generated approximately $41.5 million in political advertising revenues through Nov. 2.

Four Media General television stations generated about two-thirds of the total, including WFLA-TV in Tampa, Fla.; WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio; WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, S.C.; and WJAR-TV in Providence R.I. A late surge in advocate group and party spending for two hotly contested Congressional races in Virginia’s 5th and 9th districts generated more revenues than anticipated for WSLS-TV in Roanoke, Va., and WJHL-TV in Johnson City, Tenn.

“We generated nearly $24 million in political revenues in October and the first two days in November,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and CEO of Media General.

Media General’s newspapers generated approximately $450,000 in political revenues and the company’s Web sites garnered approximately $50,000.

“While the dollars are much smaller compared to television advertising, we were pleased to see our other media platforms viewed as a reliable way to convey issue and campaign messages to a target audience,” Morton said.

Political spending, combined with revenue from the Winter Olympics and an overall improved market contributed to “significant” year-over-year performance for 2010, he said. Consequently, Media General awarded cash bonuses to employees that endured pay cuts in 2009 as a result of Media General’s furlough program. Payments were equal to two furlough days, totaling $1.5 million across the company, and recorded in the third quarter. Media General imposed 15 compulsory furlough days in 2009.

Media General (NYSE: MEG) reported $75 million in broadcast revenue for the third quarter, up 18 percent over the same quarter a year ago.
-- Deborah D. McAdams