San Antonio-headquartered media conglomerate Clear Channel Communications has posted wider-than-expected Q1 losses, blaming a slump in revenues at the company’s radio unit (its biggest division).

The group reported total net losses of $309 million, a dramatic increase on $39.4m in the same quarter last year. Meanwhile, pro forma revenue tumbled 8% from $1.8 billion to $1.6bn.

Clear Channel’s out-of-home unit, which encompasses its radio and outdoor advertising businesses and comprises 90% of group revenues, saw a 5% decline in pro forma revenue compared to Q1 2000. The group blamed sluggish national spot sales for the decline, as well as the freakishly high revenues of last year.

Moreover, there appears to be no immediate relief in sight. Clear Channel lowered Q2 forecast revenues from $2.3bn to $2bn, while warning of a $170m second-quarter loss, considerably wider than the $52m previously expected.

The estimates were “revised downward to reflect weaker overall conditions in our operating units,” explained Randall Mays, vp/chief financial officer. “We are not prepared at this time to discuss the third and fourth quarter due to lower visibility in the second half of the year.”

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline