Journal Communications earnings up 30%

Milwaukee-based Journal Communications Inc. today reported first quarter net earnings of $3.79 million, or 8 cents per share, up from $2.92 million, or 5 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2012.

The company had $94.7 million in total revenue for the quarter, up 15.1 percent from $82.3 million a year ago.

“We are very pleased to report that Journal Communications experienced revenue growth in the first quarter at both our television and radio stations and improving trends at the Journal Sentinel daily newspaper,” said Steven Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Journal Communications. 

Television revenue increased by more than 43 percent, driven by a solid quarter at the newly acquired NewsChannel 5 in Nashville, Smith said. On a same-station basis, television revenue increased almost 8 percent, driven, in part, by increased retransmission revenue. 

In radio, revenue grew nearly 7 percent with same-station revenue up almost 3 percent.

Publishing revenue for the company grew almost 2 percent. However, operating earnings for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel newspaper were down 5.5 percent for the quarter to $821,000, although revenue was up 0.1 percent to $33 million.

In the second quarter, the company said it expects total broadcast revenue on a same-station basis, excluding political advertising revenue, to be up in the mid-single digits. But in publishing, excluding the northern Wisconsin community publications, the company anticipates revenue declines in the low-single digits as compared to the second quarter of 2012.

The company will hold its 2013 annual meeting of shareholders on Tuesday, May 7, at 9 a.m. at the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee.

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