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MacKenzie's Wireless Group 'cautious' about next year

LONDON - Kelvin MacKenzie, chairman and chief executive of The Wireless Group, has warned that the company remains cautious about the outlook for radio advertising for next year and says it will continue to be under pressure for the rest of 2002.

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The Wireless Group, which owns the radio station TalkSport, saw a 2.8% fall in national advertising during the last 12 months. However, the local advertising marketing was stronger and grew by 9.3% year on year during the first four months of 2002.

"We have noticed in recent weeks what we hope is the first sign of a change in overall market sentiment," MacKenzie said, adding that forward orders for May were looking "encouraging".

Despite this, MacKenzie suggested that it was too early to be optimistic about the advertising market over the next 12 months.

"We remain cautious regarding current advertising demand and will continue to manage the cost base of the business on the assumption that the advertising market will remain under pressure for the rest of the year," he said.

Despite this, the group's flagship radio station TalkSport reported record audiences during the final quarter of 2002 of 2.5m, a year-on-year increase of 11.7%. The radio group also managed to reduce its operating losses by 31.4%.

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