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Emmis Revenues Slide on Radio Weakness

Sagging radio revenues continue to haunt Emmis Communications, and the company doesn’t see that changing in the months ahead.

Radio revenues, which represent the bulk of Emmis’ sales, were down 6% to $74.4 million. That drop is at the upper end of the range the company was expecting of a decrease in the mid- to high-single-digits compared with the same quarter last year. The drop was led by weakness in the New York and Los Angeles markets.

In a statement Friday morning, Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said radio ratings had improved and the company was expecting better sales performance from its new relationship with national sales representative Katz Media Group, but he acknowledged that the radio business would remain under pressure. The company expects radio revenues to be down by the same margin in the coming quarter.

Overall, the company recorded revenue of $96.4 million, down 3.5% from the $99.9 million in Q2 2006, while operating income was down 25% to $16.5 million from $22.1 million.

For the past two years, Emmis has been paring off its television-station assets. Of its 16 stations, the company sold 15 of them, with the latest being the sale of KGMB-TV in Honolulu to HITV Operating for $40 million. That deal closed in June. The lone remaining station owned by Emmis is Fox affiliate WVUE-TV in New Orleans.