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Media General Broadcast Revenue Down 17%

Media General's broadcasting revenue was $71.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, down 17% from the same quarter a year before. The media company said the decrease was "entirely a reflection of lower political revenues in the current period."

Media General's broadcast revenue grew from the $63.4 million it reported in the third quarter of 2009.

The company's operating expenses dropped 22% in the fourth quarter, due in large part to Media General having 900 fewer employees at the end of 2009, compared to the end of 2008.

"Media General's fourth-quarter results improved year-over-year and sequentially from the third quarter of 2009," said President/CEO Marshall Morton. "Total revenues in the fourth quarter decreased 14%, a sequential improvement from an 18% decrease in the third quarter of 2009. In addition, the 2009 quarter included only $3.7 million of political revenues, compared with $23.4 million in the 2008 fourth quarter."

Media General's publishing revenues decreased 14% in the quarter.

Digital media revenues increased 11%.

Media General groups its various media entities by region, such as Virginia/Tennessee and Ohio/Rhode Island. Morton said that will help the company grow. "Media General will continue to build on the strength of its reorganized market-based structure, which is enabling us to accelerate our digital strategy, engage more employees in innovation, and get to market faster with customer-focused solutions," he said. "Our lower cost base going into 2010 provides us with significant flexibility. In 2010, we will benefit from an improving economy, revenues from the Winter Olympics on our eight NBC stations, and political revenues, which we estimate will be approximately $42 million across all our markets for the year. For the full year, we expect our total revenues to increase in the mid-single digits."