Granite chisels losses amid 2nd qtr. fears

Absence of pol ads, Peacock affil moves hurt bottom line

Granite Broadcasting posted a broadened first-quarter loss Monday amid slowed ad sales and diminished revenue, and the TV station group warned that prospects for this quarter look iffy.

“Second quarter results are difficult to predict due to the uncertainty of the current advertising climate,” the New York-based broadcaster said.

Granite warned that its revenue likely will drop 19%-22% this quarter because of the weak ad environment, an absence of political advertising and the restructuring of a fledgling NBC affiliate in the Bay Area.

In the first quarter, Granite reported red ink totaling $15 million compared with $7 million in the year-earlier period.

First-quarter revenue dropped 20% to $26.8 million.

Chairman-CEO W. Don Cornwell insisted there were some bright spots in the financial results.

“While national and political advertising revenue declined in all markets, our Big Three affiliates increased their local advertising revenue, with particularly strong results in Buffalo and Peoria,” Cornwell said. “The Big Three affiliates also made significant progress with their cost-control plans, reducing expenses by 3% without impacting the quality of our product.”

Granite operates nine TV stations. Three are affiliated with NBC, two each with ABC and the WB and one with CBS; one is independent.