DeWitt Departs After All
Los Angeles— Gene DeWitt, president of the Syndicated Network Television Association, has abruptly left the group. A terse statement said Friday morning, "SNTA announced today that Gene DeWitt is no longer with the organization. The board stated that a search for his replacement will commence immediately." SNTA would not comment further, and Howard Levy, chairman of SNTA's board and executive vice president of advertising sales for Buena Vista Television, was unavailable at press time. DeWitt arrived at SNTA in April 2002. Rumors that he was going to leave swirled this past April, but he insisted he planned to stay. He had signed a three-year contract, which has a year and a half remaining. He was chairman of Optimedia International beginning in 2000, after selling his own media-management and -buying firm, DeWitt Media Inc., to Optimedia.
Paxson: Revenue Off, Cash Flow Up
West Palm Beach, Fla.— Paxson reported a 4% drop in net revenue to $66 million for the second quarter (ended June 30) while operating cash flow climbed to $14.5 million from $3.5 million in the same period a year ago. The cash-flow gain is attributable to the company's cost-cutting. In the quarter, Paxson reduced expenses by about $23 million. President Dean Goodman says this year's programming budget will be reduced several-fold, from $116 million last year to about $40 million this year. Infomercials helped prop up the top line: They now account for about 40% of revenue, vs. 22% for network ads and 38% from owned TV stations.
Citadel Succeeds With IPO
Las Vegas— Citadel Broadcasting's initial public offering was a success, with shares rising slightly as the radio group began trading Friday. Citadel raised $418 million, pricing 22 million shares at $19 each. At midday Friday, the price was holding, at $20.44 per share.