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(April 26, 2001) -- Leading out-of-home media company Clear Channel Communications reported first-quarter losses that exceeded analysts' expectations, primarily due to a decrease in first-quarter revenue in the radio division, the company's largest operating segment. The company attributed the decline to weak national radio sales as well as tough comparisons to first-quarter 2000, a high-growth period.

San Antonio-based Clear Channel reported a 5% total decline in pro forma revenue for its out-of-home segment, which combines its radio and outdoor advertising, which saw flat pro forma growth for the quarter. The out-of-home division accounts for more than 90% of the company's total revenue.

Total net losses for the quarter were $309 million, or 53 cents a share, up considerably from $39.4 million, or 12 cents, in the year earlier period.

Total net revenue was down 8% on a pro forma basis to $1.6 billion from $1.8 billion in the same period last year, and historical net revenues more than doubled to $1.6 billion from $782.5 million the year earlier.

Clear Channel updated previous guidance for the second quarter and reduced estimates to $2 billion in second-quarter net revenue -- from February projections of $2.3 billion -- and $170 million in net losses, up from previous guidance of $52 million.

The guidance was "revised downward to reflect weaker overall conditions in our operating units," said Randall Mays, Clear Channel's executive vice president-chief financial officer in a call to investors after the market closed today. "We are not prepared at this time to dicuss the third and fourth quarter due to lower visibility in the second half of the year," he said.

Clear Communication stock closed at $57.47 today. -- Cara Beardi

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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