Journal Communications Q1 earnings jump to US$5.3M, from US$121,000 a year ago; flagship newspaper Milwaukee Journal Sentinel still struggling with revenue declines, though advertising losses have eased

MILWAUKEE , April 20, 2010 () – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel publisher Journal Communications Inc. said Tuesday its first-quarter profit jumped to $5.3 million, helped by falling expenses and growth in its broadcasting business.

The company's flagship newspaper is still struggling with revenue declines, though advertising losses have eased.But its radio and TV stations have started to rebound, benefiting in the most recent quarter from advertising tied to the Olympic games.

The company's stock surged 46 cents, or 8.7 percent, to $5.75 in morning trading.

Journal Communications posted net income of $5.3 million, or 9 cents per share, for the quarter ended in March. That compares with a profit of $121,000, or a penny per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Overall revenue slid 3 percent to $98.5 million. Publishing revenue was down 7 percent to $44.6 million, a less severe decline than the 16.4 percent drop in the quarter before. Broadcasting revenue began to reverse last year's declines, climbing almost 9 percent to $42.6 million.

Operating expenses dropped 13 percent, driven by staff cuts and other cost saving moves.

Like other publishes, Journal Communications has been forced to shrink its work force as the recession and competition on the Web cut into advertising revenue, its main source of income. The company ended 2009 with 2,200 full-time employees, down 19 percent from 2,700 a year earlier.

In a statement, Journal Communications CEO Steve Smith said the company expects continued improvement in its broadcast segment during the second quarter, but said overall revenue will continue to lag behind year-ago figures because of weak ad sales in publishing.

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