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Media General Broadcast Revenue Drops 19%

Media General reported broadcast revenue down $14.3 million, or 19.1%, in the first quarter, compared to the same quarter last year. Local time sales dropped 20.4% and nation slipped 20.9%.

The media giant reported total revenue of $159.5 million, down from $194.4 million in the same quarter last year. Media General posted a net loss for the first quarter of $21.3 million, or 96 cents per share, including severance expense of $4.5 million. This compares to a net loss in 2008 of $20.3 million, or 92 cents per share, which included a loss of $10.4 million, or 47 cents per share, from discontinued operations.

Media General cut expenses 16.4%, thanks largely to suspending its 401(k) match and implementing two-week furloughs across the board.

"Media General has responded swiftly to the revenue declines we have experienced over the past three years, and we have dramatically reshaped and reduced our cost structure. The net result of the cost saving actions implemented during 2008 and this year are expected to reduce our total operating costs for 2009 by 15% from the 2008 level, excluding severance and special charges," said President/CEO Marshall N. Morton. "Our focus on new products and services, targeted online sales campaigns, new revenues from our Internet partnerships with Yahoo! and Zillow, and our interactive advertising services businesses are enabling us to transform our business model in the world of digital and mobile communications."

Publishing profit was down 78% in the quarter and total publishing revenues decreased 20.1%.

Interactive media revenue was up 24.5%.

Media General owns almost 300 newspapers and 19 TV stations.