Earnings fall at Journal Communications

Journal Communications Inc. today reported fourth quarter net earnings of $8.2 million, or 14 cents per share, down from $14.7 million, or 26 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The Milwaukee-based parent company of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported quarterly revenues of $95.0 million, down from $103.7 million a year earlier.

“Excluding political and issue advertising, broadcast revenue grew 7.0 percent driven by the continued rebound in automotive advertising, up 11.3 percent in the quarter. On the publishing side, a challenging advertising revenue environment was offset by a solid increase in commercial print and distribution revenue. We continue to see declines in key advertising categories including classifieds. However, we saw a 7.6 percent increase in digital revenue across our businesses,” said Steven Smith, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Journal Communications. “We ended the year with outstanding borrowings under our credit facility of $41.3 million, a reduction of $33.3 million from the end of 2010, reflecting a leverage of less than one times EBITDA. This gives us the flexibility to use our strong balance sheet to invest in our business and grow through acquisition opportunities. Looking ahead to 2012, our goal is to continue to build our local market brands by providing relevant and differentiated content across our television, radio, digital and newspaper platforms. We will continue to focus on building local market share of advertising revenue and plan to take advantage of political and issue advertising in key battleground states such as Wisconsin and Nevada. Our priority in publishing is to continue to provide a significant, high impact daily newspaper and leverage our new JS Everywhere brand. We will introduce our new tablet application and mobile platform later this year, opening up additional growth opportunities for our digital business. We will continue to seek in-market growth opportunities in traditional or digital media, make capital investments that drive growth and look for broadcast acquisitions.”

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