That Q1 decline was less than less than Wall Street had expected and less than the company’s guidance. Even so, CEO David Smith says Sinclair Broadcast Group management is not yet seeing any meaningful improvement in the economy or any increased visibility for Q2. So look for the current quarter to be more of the same.
Net broadcast revenues from continuing operations were down 18.4% to $131.3 million. Local fell 18.3% and national 31.3%. Excluding political, local was down 17.3% and national 28.8%. Political was only $300K, compared to $3.2 million a year earlier. On the plus side, Sinclair reported that retransmission consent revenues rose to $21.1 million form $19.6 million a year earlier.
Like so many media companies, Sinclair reported a non-cash impairment of $130.1 million for goodwill and FCC licenses, resulting in an operating loss of $106.7 million. Absent that non-cash charge, CFO David Amy noted that the company would have had operating income of $23.4 million, still down 49.3% from a year ago. Broadcast cash flow for the quarter declined 36.1% to $43.6 million.
Sinclair officials noted that the outlook for Q2 (and beyond, for that matter) in uncertain, while broadcasters wait to see how the reorganizations of Chrysler and GM shake out. With that caveat, Sinclair is currently projecting that Q2 revenues will be down in the high teens.