Hungarian court decision could favor Emmis station

A popular radio station in Hungary operated by Emmis Communications Corp. until late 2009 might return to the air following
a court decision favoring the Indianapolis-based company. 

A Hungarian court on Tuesday
ruled that a regulatory decision by the country’s government to kick two radio stations off the
air, including one operated by Emmis, was unlawful.

The decision, which can be appealed, stems from a civil suit
brought by Danubius Radio, which, along with Emmis’ Slager Radio, lost its bid to renew its broadcasting
rights.

The court on Jan. 19 will hear a similar complaint brought by Emmis.

Hungarian
officials took the national radio station operated by Emmis off the air in November and awarded the license
to one of the country’s political parties.

Emmis won the broadcasting license for Slager
Radio in 1997. It was consistently the top-rated radio station in Hungary, reaching 3.5 million listeners per week
in a country with a population of 10 million, the company said.

The decision by the country’s National Radio and
Television board to award the operating license to a Hungarian political party has brought “enormous” international
pressure on the government to reverse the decision, Emmis said.

In a resolution passed Dec. 8, the U.S. House
of Representatives condemned the actions and “encouraged” the Hungarian government to “respect the rule
of law and treat foreign investors fairly.”

Slager brought in revenue of $23.9 million in the fiscal year
ended Feb. 28, 2008, Emmis said, and $6.4 million in the six months ended Aug. 31, 2009.
 

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