Newspaper still a drag as broadcast grows Journal Communications


Q4 revenues grew 7.8% to $103.7 million at Journal Communications, but it was all due to broadcast, with revenues up 22.1% to $56.3 million. The best that could be said for the newspaper side was that the revenue decline slowed to 5.5%.

Broadcasting, by the way, is now the biggest operation at Journal. For all of 2010 broadcast revenues grew 13.3% to $194.4 million, while publishing declined 5.9% to $182.8 million.

TV revenues were up 32.1% in Q4 to $37.4 million, including $8.7 million in political. Excluding political, TV was up 6.4%. Operating earnings shot up to $13 million from $4.1 million ($6.3 million if you exclude a one-time impairment charge).

Q4 radio revenues increased 6.2% to $18.9 million, including $700K in political. Operating earnings were $3.2 million ($5 million excluding an impairment charge), compared to $4.6 million ($4.1 million excluding a special gain).

“Core growth in the quarter was 5%,” Journal CEO Steve Smith told analysts of the broadcast results. “Auto advertising continued to improve, contributing to local and national advertising increases of 3.9% and 3%, respectively.” Smith noted, though, that the degree of recovery in auto advertising has varied by market.

Despite the lack of Olympic revenues and the Super Bowl on its NBC stations in Q1 this year, Journal is guiding to broadcast revenue being up in the low to mid single digits. That includes revenues associated with having the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl this year. While the game was on Fox this year, Journal’s WTMJ-AM Milwaukee is the flagship radio station for the Packers. Broadcasting booked about $700-750K associated with the NFC Championship and Super Bowl, mostly on the radio side, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel added about $1 million in advertising from its association with the team. However, Smith noted that there were also expenses associated with sending several staffers from both print and broadcast to Dallas to cover the game and associated activities.

“Moving into 2011 we expect growth in broadcast core and digital revenue. We anticipate publishing revenue declines to moderate,” Smith said.