CEO Blames Sept. 11

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CHICAGO ( -- Leading radio and outdoor company Clear Chanel Communications reported a net loss of $232.1 million in the third quarter, compared with a $448.9 million net income gain in the year earlier period.

The San Antonio-based company's consolidated net revenue was up 46% to $2.3 billion from $1.57 billion in third quarter 2000, but on a pro forma basis, net revenue was bascially flat.

Clear Channel executives said in a conference call to investors after close of market today they had expected the third quarter to be stronger, but the events of Sept. 11 reversed the forward momentum that began last spring.

Chairman-CEO Lowry Mays said that each month after March was better than the previous month, indicating that the third quarter would be strong at that outset.

"September started out better than our August, and we were on track to exceed our estimates. But Sept. 11 changed all that. It stopped that momentum in all sectors of our business," Mr. Mays said.

Clear Channel's largest operating unit -- radio -- decreased 8%, with revene dropping to $866.1 million from $942.3 million in the same period last year. Outdoor, the second-largest division, fell 8.7% to $435.8 million in revenue from $477.2 million.

Although Clear Channel CFO Randall Mays was extremely cautious about fourth-quarter predictions, he said he expects revenue in the out-of-home category -- which includes radio and outdoor -- to decrease in the low double-digit range.

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