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LEE EARNINGS TUMBLE

Lee Enterprises, which owns the Arizona Daily Star, reported a loss of $24.5 million in the most recent quarter. A year ago, the company turned a $2.8 million profit.

Much of the bad news was due to an impairment charge and other one-time items, totaling $39.7 million.

Revenue for the Davenport, Iowa, company dropped 20.5 percent, and advertising sales slipped 24 percent. Lee cut operating expenses by 22 percent and trimmed some of its mounting debt.

"We are continuing to position Lee so it will emerge strong when the recession ends," said Mary Junck, chairman and chief executive officer, in a Lee press release. "While overall business remains sluggish, it has stabilized, and many of our publishers are reporting cautious optimism from an increasing number of local advertisers. We are also encouraged by our efforts to expand our local advertising market share and the response we have received to new sales programs that reach nontraditional advertisers. Beginning this next quarter, we also expect an enthusiastic response to our rollout of online behavioral targeting advertising through the new Yahoo platform."

Lee needs for those models to be successful, as the bulk of its debt has been back-ended as part of a restructuring deal.

That said, even though stock prices dropped 40 percent on the day of the announcement, Lee has enjoyed significant gains since the recent decision not to reverse-split the stock. The stock rose from a low of about 24 cents to levels approaching $2 prior to July 30, and while volatile, was bouncing around the $1.50 range as of Monday, Aug. 3.


BEDNAREK JOINS KGVY

For the last eight months, Jim Bednarek had enjoyed more traditional work hours, as he spent time working on his music-production company instead of starting the day preparing for the morning drive.

But that changed when KGVY AM 1080 asked him to return to mornings and handle program-director duties.

"The hardest part is getting used to getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning again," Bednarek said while setting up for a wedding, wearing his Bednarek's Music Works hat. "I used to do it all the time, but after not doing it for eight months, it's like, 'Whoa, this is tough.'"

KGVY saw a clear benefit in Bednarek's name recognition and familiarity with the "familiar favorites" format. Bednarek, a market mainstay for 30 years, most recently acted as program director at Citadel-owned KTUC AM 1400, an adult-standards station.

Bednarek is happy with the station's smaller ownership structure.

"They're great owners. (I've) gone from the corporate mindset to local owners," Bednarek said, even though the main owner lives in Florida. "Yeah, but he's here a lot. ... I can call and chat about thoughts. (The station) really wanted me to come down there and help them out."

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