Sinclair hopes refund will fuel ad spending

Co. reported slight rev growth to $195.8 million

Execs at Sinclair Broadcast Group are hoping the government’s early tax refunds this summer will fuel an advertising boomlet in the second half of the year to make up for the lack of political ad spending.

“The one-time tax refunds for dependents mailed in the third quarter … will hopefully spur advertising in an attempt by businesses to capture those additional consumer dollars,” said Sinclair exec VP-chief financial officer David Amy in a statement included with the company’s quarterly earnings report Friday.

Sinclair reported slight revenue growth for the second quarter, with net broadcast revenues up 0.7% to $174.9 million. Total revenues for the three months ending June 30 were $195.8 million compared with $190.7 million for the year-ago period.

Company, which owns or operates 62 U.S. television stations, reported a net profit of $670,000 compared with a loss of $1.4 million a year ago.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, execs said it would be hard to beat sales figures from 2002, which included a bonanza of political advertising from the fall general election. However, the company is hoping the advance tax refunds and income from a new direct mail operation will offset some of the loss of political advertising.