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Gray Ups Revenue Estimates

Gray Television Inc. has upped its revenue projections for the first quarter. The revise comes just one day after Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. did the same.

As with Sinclair, Gray attributes the bump to increased local and national ad sales and unexpectedly strong political revenues.

Gray projects its broadcasting revenue--it owns 29 TV stations--will be $61.9 million for the quarter, compared to the $60 million it had earlier projected. The increase is about evenly split between campaign  spots and nonpolitical time. Nonpolitical local ad time is up12%-13% from first-quarter 2003, while national nonpolitical time is up 8%-9%.

As an example of the difference in ad revenue between an off-year and an election year, 2004 campaign spending on Gray stations is projected at $3,475,000 for first-quarter 2004, a 369% increase over 2003 numbers.