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Nexstar 4Q Revenues Rise

The 50 or so Nexstar Broadcasting TV stations generated revenues of $80.3 million during the three months ending Dec. 31 2008. The result came in more than 12 percent higher than the $71.6 million Nexstar (NASDAQ: NXST) posted 4Q07.

Net income for the quarter was $5.4 million, excluding a cash impairment that hasn't yet been calculated and "which could be significant," the company said.

"Nexstar's double digit fourth quarter net revenue growth highlights strong year over year increases in political, retransmission consent and e-MEDIA revenues which helped to offset the impact of the current economy and the soft general advertising environment," said Perry A. Sook, Nexstar CEO.

For the full year, Nexstar posted $285 million in revenues, up by around $18 million over 2007. Full-year net loss was $51.4 million, reflecting impairment of $55.7 million taken in the first three quarters. Final full-year results will also reflect the anticipated 4Q write-down.

Full-year retrans was $21.8 million, compared to $17.2 million in '07. Nexstar announced last month renewed and new retrans deals worth $75 million over the next four years.

Consolidated total net debt was $609.7 million as of Dec. 31, 2008; NXST's total leverage ratio at that point was 6.18x, still shy of its permitted leverage covenant of 6.5x. Nexstar's recent acquisition of WCWJ-TV, the CW affiliate in Jacksonville, Fla., from Media General, remains pending regulatory approval. Its October acquisition of KARZ-TV (formerly KWBF-TV) in Little Rock, Ark., was approved on Feb. 26 by the bankruptcy court. Closing is expected to occur before the end of March.