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Saga Communications, Inc. Reports 4th Quarter And Year End 2009 Results

GROSSE POINTE FARMS, Mich., March 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Saga Communications, Inc. (NYSE Amex: SGA) today reported free cash flow increased 1.7% to $19.2 million for the year.  Net operating revenue for the year ended December 31, 2009 decreased 13.7% over the comparable period in 2008 to $120.8 million.  Station operating expense decreased 10.6% to $94.7 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations).  A large part of the decrease in station operating expense was a result of our cost reduction initiatives put in place.  This helped to reduce the impact that the decline in net operating revenue had on our operating results.  The Company's net loss was $2.6 million (- $.61 per fully diluted share) for the year ended December 31, 2009 compared to a net loss of $66.5 million (- $14.05 per fully diluted share) for the same period last year.  Results for the full year of 2009 include a pre-tax non-cash impairment charge of $17.3 million related to the Company's review of its indefinite-lived intangible assets.  The charge in 2008 was $116.4 million.  Without the non-cash impairment charge, the Company would have had a net income of $7.9 million ( $1.88 per fully diluted share) for the year compared to $9.9 million for the same period last year ( $2.08 per fully diluted share).  

For the quarter ended December 31, 2009 free cash flow increased 11.8% to $6.6 million.  Net operating revenue decreased 8.9% from the comparable period in 2008 to $31.8 million.  Station operating expense decreased 10.2% to $23.9 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations).  The Company's net loss was $7.4 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2009 compared to a net loss of $74.0 million for the same period last year.  Results for the fourth quarter of 2009 include a pre-tax non-cash impairment charge of $17.3 million related to the Company's review of its indefinite-lived intangible assets.  The charge for the quarter in 2008 was $116.4 million.

The Company has maintained a solid balance sheet given the current economic volatility, with $12.9 million in cash balances as of December 31, 2009.  As of December 31, 2009, the Company's trailing 12 month leverage ratio calculated as a multiple of EBITDA was 4.3 times.  Netting cash against outstanding debt, the ratio would be 3.9 times. Subsequent to the end of the year, the Company reduced its total debt outstanding to $116 million.

Capital expenditures in the fourth quarter of 2009 were $0.8 million.  For the 2009 fiscal year total capital expenditures were $4.0 million.  This compares to $2.0 million and $7.1 million for the same respective periods last year.  The Company currently expects to spend approximately $4.5$5.0 million for capital expenditures during 2010.  

All share and per share information reflects the Company's January 28, 2009 1-for-4 reverse stock split.  

The attached Selected Supplemental Financial Data table discloses "as reported" and "same station" information by segment.  The "as reported" amounts reflect our historical financial results and include the results of operations for stations that we did not own for the entire comparable period.  The "same station" amounts reflect only the results of operations for stations that we owned for the entire comparable period.  

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