Journal Communications didn’t provide any specific pacing numbers for Q4, but Journal Broadcast Group CEO Doug Kiel, who is also President of the parent company, told Wall Street analysts that there are some signs of improvement. The TV group might actually be approaching a month of positive year-over-year revenues.
“Auto’s decline from 2008 is still there, but it is much less going into this quarter than going into the third quarter,” Kiel said of how pacings are looking for Q4. Auto is about 14% of business for Journal Broadcast Group, so a key component. He reported weekly sales improvement and said that sell-out is high for the TV station group “Average unit rates appear to have solidified…some,” Kiel noted.
“So it appears, although it is still a long way off, that our television revenue, compared to last year, may be positive in December, with radio still off slightly,” he said. Both were down double digits in the Q3 results reported Tuesday.
If so, Kiel will be there to pop the champagne corks, just before his recently announced retirement.
RBR-TVBR observation: The evidence grows that the darkest days of the ad recession are in the past. Ad buys won’t be coming back from Dodge dealers and we still have to deal with the elimination of Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer as well. The broadcasting business has changed forever in some ways, but it is still a pretty good business.