Q3 revenues fell 3.3% for the radio group at Journal Communications. Like so many other companies, Journal has been looking at the falling prices for broadcast properties and took a big pre-tax charge in Q3 to write down the value of 13 radio licenses. Look for Q4 to be down as well, with the company projecting a revenue decline in the mid-single-digit range.
“We remain diligent in our focus on cost reduction. Year-to-date total operating costs, excluding the non-cash impairment charge and the workforce reduction charges, are down in both publishing and broadcast. Our headcount is down 10% in broadcast and 9% in publishing,” said Journal Communications CEO Steven Smith.
The election year has given Journal Broadcast Group a boost, but that’s been mostly on the television. Doug Kiel, CEO of Journal Broadcast Group and President of the parent company, told analysts the company is expecting $12 million in total political ad revenues this year. $5.9 million was on the books through Q3, but only $500,000 was in radio.
For Q3, radio revenues fell 3.3% to $21.7 million. The operating loss of $12.1 million included a $17.7 million pre-tax impairment for those 13 radio licenses and $200,000 for workforce reduction charges. Excluding those one-time charges, radio operating earnings declined 8.5% to $5.8 million.
TV revenues rose 3.4% to $32.3 million. Excluding a non-cash impairment for the value of four TV licenses, TV operating earnings rose 18.8% to $4.0 million. Publishing revenues were off 8.8% to $59.4 million, with weakness reported across all ad categories. Operating earnings for the publishing division plunged 87.7% to $1.2 million. Excluding a $3.7 million charge for workplace reduction, that drop was 48.4%.