US media giant Clear Channel Communications is warning that concerns about a pending war may hit adspend, despite returning to the black in the fourth quarter on the back of rising radio advertising.

The group posted net income of $184 million (€171m; £117m) for Q4, up from a loss of $366m in the same quarter last year (though had current accounting rules been used twelve months ago, the Q4 2001 loss would have been $0.7m). Revenues jumped 19% to $2.21 billion, while EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) climbed from $345m to $579m.

The upturn in radio advertising included rises for national stations and increases in spend by retail and auto firms. Clear Channel also benefited from sharp Q4 growth at its outdoor and entertainment units.

However, the group warned that advertisers may reduce spend in the first quarter as tensions mount in the Middle East, though it does not expect this to affect its full-year forecasts. “The slowdown seems to be short-term in nature, directly related to when the war is going to be,” president/chief operating officer Mark Mays opined.

For the whole of 2002, the group reported net income of $725m, up from a loss of $1.14bn in 2001, on a rise in revenues from $7.97bn to $8.42bn.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff