2010 finished strong for Saga Communications


Saga Communications had already given an early look at its Q4 results, with net revenues up 7.4% to $34.1 million. Now, though, it has filled in the blanks with more detailed information.

TV led the way in the quarter – not surprising due to the election bonanza. TV revenues rose 16.7% to $5.1 million and station operating income (SOI), as calculated by RBR-TVBR, was up 78.7% to $1.6 million.

Radio revenues rose 5.9% to $29 million. SOI gained 29.9% to $9.2 million.

Looking ahead, CFO Sam Bush told analysts Tuesday afternoon that January-March, Q1, appears to be up over 3%. The company did not break out radio and TV. “April is currently pacing a bit better,” he added.

CEO Ed Christian, pictured, congratulated his staff for getting the company through the recession and back to growth. “It is really the people component and not the technological structure that makes a company. And during the time when things were tough we really rallied pretty well to get through that,” he said.

While M&A is picking up, don’t look for Saga to announce any huge acquisition. “Could Saga run 200 radio stations? Sure we could, but we’re not doing it by gulping, we’re doing it by sipping,” Christian said. By the way, Saga currently has 88 radio stations and nine TV stations, so it will take a lot of sipping to get to 200.