In addition, we managed the company, as you know, for free cash flow. Tom and his team have remained active in further reengineering and delevering the balance sheet. During the first quarter, we repaid approximately $18 million in borrowings and most recently announced additional plans to strengthen our capital structure. Tom will go over those activities in just a few moments.
Next, our generated total first quarter net revenue of $83.6 million, which as I mentioned is 19.6% rise from the year-ago period, with the increase being broad-based with strong growth in local, national, political, retrans, e-Media and our revenue from management fees. Nexstar's continued leadership in new business development resulted in a 7.8% rise in first quarter local and national revenue, inclusive of 5% increase in local and 15.6% rise in national spot revenue.
2012 first quarter marks our 10th consecutive quarter of core television advertising revenue growth, and Nexstar's sixth quarterly sequential increase in our core revenue growth rate. While we look forward to the benefit of growing political advertising activity throughout 2012, Nexstar's gross revenue growth in the first quarter, even excluding political, was a robust 16.3% that included a 9% rise in automotive category spending.
In addition to strengthened core advertising activity, Nexstar's record first quarter revenue EBITDA and free cash flow highlight continued growth in every one of our non-television advertising revenue sources. Our Q1 core TV ad revenue growth was complemented by the 70.2% rise in retransmission fee revenue, 12% -- 12.5% increase in e-Media revenue and a $1.5 million improvement in our management agreement payments related to the final payment from the Four Points management agreement. As we discussed in the last call, with the renewal of more than 130 retransmission consent agreements at the end of 2011, we project very significant revenue growth from this source throughout the year.