Media General Freezes Pension

April 17, 2009 ( - Media General Inc. said Friday it would freeze its pension plan as of May 31 as part of an effort to conserve cash.

According to MarketWatch, the newspaper company said its first-quarter loss widened slightly from the year-earlier quarter on costs related to job cuts and other special items, as well as steep declines in advertising revenue at its newspapers and television stations. Media General has already cut matching contributions to its 401(k) plan (see Newspaper Company Suspends 401(k) Match, Profit Sharing Contributions ).

The news report said the firm reported it lost $21.3 million, or 96 cents a share, compared with a loss of $20.3 million, or 92 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2008. Revenue dropped to $159.5 million from $194.5 million.

First-quarter revenue at the company’s newspapers – including the Tampa Tribune, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal, and 21 other dailies – fell 20%, reflecting a 25.2% drop in ad revenue. Classified ad sales plunged 39%.