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Clear Channel Loses $428M in First Quarter

SAN ANTONIO, TX — CC Media Holdings, Inc. released its first quarter earnings report for 2009 today, and — similar to last week’s reports from Regent and Citadel — the results are not positive.  The nation’s largest radio group says revenue fell 23% compared to last year’s first quarter — and the company also posted a $428 million loss.

The details were laid out in a press release issued this morning.  That $428 million loss shows just how quickly the tables have turned for the advertising-reliant media industry since last year, when Clear Channel posted a profit of nearly $170 million.

As much as critics have chastized Clear Channel for the way it has been slashing staff, the quarterly report says operating expenses have been cut by just 12%, barely half the rate by which revenues declined.  Clear Channel had two massive rounds of layoffs earlier this year — one in January, which resulted in the layoff of WHEN’s Jim Lerch; and a second round in April, resulting in the layoff of WPHR’s Butch Charles.

The company says revenue losses would have been smaller, if not for “movements in foreign exchange,” and the company’s overall loss was mostly attributed to ” $287.1 million in interest expense as a result of an increase in outstanding debt.”

CEO Mark Mays said his properties “performed well on a relative basis in a difficult economic environment and weakened ad market.”  Both he and his father Randall, CC Media President, commended staff for their efforts through the economic hardships.

The news was not good for the company’s over-the-counter stock — CCMO.PK fell 35 cents Monday, closing at $1.55/share.

Locally, CC owns six stations in Syracuse: country B104.7 (WBBS), AC Y94FM (WYYY), urban AC Power 106.9 (WPHR), CHR Hot 107-9 (WWHT), Newsradio 570 WSYR and SportsRadio 620 WHEN.

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