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Journal Communications Reports Significant Broadcast and Publishing Decreases in Q1

Journal Communications said its broadcasting revenue was down 20.5% for the first quarter, with publishing revenues similarly sliding, down 20.7%.

Journal has cut compensation by 6%, which CEO Steven Smith said was necessary because he sees "economic challenges" continuing through the rest of the year.

Among the many troubling figures released Wednesday was the decline in operating earnings (profits after expenses, marketing, administrative costs) from Journal's TV stations-$100,000, down a staggering 98.1% from $3.6 million in Q4 2008.

Broadcasting revenue-TV and radio-was $39.2 million, down from $49.4 million in fourth quarter 2008. Local ad revenue was down 18.3%, and national advertising down 27.3%.

TV station revenue was down 19.8% to $26 million from $32.4 million in Q4 2008

It didn't help the quarter-to-quarter comparison that political and issue advertising decreased from $1.9 million to $0.1 million.

As a whole, Journal Communications reduced its operating expenses by $14 million in the quarter. For television, the percentage drop in operating expenses was 9.9%, due primarily to reductions in payroll-related costs, according to the company.

Taking some of the sting out of the operating drop for TV was the boost in retransmission consent revenues (what cable operators pay to carry their TV signals), which more than quadrupled from about 300,0000 to $1.3 million