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Wider Loss for Young Broadcasting

May 4, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Young Broadcasting reported a wider first-quarter loss of $30.6 million Thursday, even as the company continued to see success in its strategy of attracting new local advertisers to its television stations.

In its earnings release, the company, which owns 10 stations, including the San Francisco independent station KRON-TV, offered no explanation for the loss widening from a year-earlier figure of $19.4 million, but said the results included benefits from its cost-cutting efforts. On a per-share basis, Young’s net loss was $1.46, compared with a loss of 96 cents a year ago. Revenue was up 6 percent to $48.4 million.

The company is looking for new advertising sources in an effort to stabilize fluctuations among its more traditional sources of ad revenue. With national advertising revenue struggling and the local advertising environment choppy, Young has sought out new local advertisers, many of which have not been active TV advertisers, hoping that they won’t be subject to the headwinds that regular television advertisers face.

“This quarter is a confirmation of our strategic plan to increase local revenues through our third-leg sales initiative while reducing operating costs,” Young Chairman Vincent Young said in a statement.

The company said its nine network-affiliated stations posted a 9 percent increase in local advertising revenue, which included political campaign spending. When political was excluded, local advertising at the nine stations grew 8 percent.

The company did not provide much information about KRON in its earnings release. However, the company has said the station faces a challenging advertising market due to its status as an independent station and because of general economic weakness in San Francisco.

But Young executives were positive about the station’s prospects. KRON stands to gain from an expected healthy political advertising market this year and because of its affiliation with MyNetworkTV, which is scheduled to launch Sept. 5.

Operating expenses were down slightly in the quarter, mainly because an 11 percent reduction in overhead was offset by $1.5 million in additional programming costs associated with the airing of “Sex and The City” in syndication.