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Sanoma issues profit warning, shuts Radio Helsinki

Sanoma, one of the Nordic region’s biggest media groups, has issued a profit warning due to poor ad sales. This follows the news that it will pull the plug on its loss-making Radio Helsinki.

Njassa juontaa Radio Helsingin studiossa
Rock veteran Njassa is one of Radio Helsinki's best-known DJs. Image: YLE

Ahead of second-quarter results next week, the Sanoma Group said on Tuesday that advertising sales had slumped further than expected.

Sanoma estimates that its turnover for this year will be four percent lower than last year. The group earlier predicted a decline of 2-4 percent.

The conglomerate, whose flagship is Finland’s largest daily, Helsingin Sanomat, forecasts profits of less than 180 million euros. That too is at the low end of its previous prognosis of 180-205 million euros.

Sanoma is to issue results for the April-through-June period next Thursday.

Sanoma owns media outlets in 20 countries, including Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and many Eastern European states. At home its empire includes the commercial TV channel Nelonen, several radio channels, and dozens of magazines and newspapers.

Radio Helsinki closure spurs shock

On July 11, Sanoma announced that it will likely shut down Radio Helsinki, a previously independent local station that Helsingin Sanomat bought in 2005.

Redundancy talks involving the station’s entire staff are to be wrapped up quickly, by early August – during a period when many people are on vacation. A final decision on the station’s fate will be made after that.

The station, which claims a large online listenership around Finland and abroad, features free-form programmes ranging from indie rock, jazz, reggae and oldies to talk shows.

News that the station will probably be closed at the end of October has drawn statements of shock and support from Finnish and international musicians, including members of bands such as Radiohead, Sigur Rós, Wilco and the Red Hot Chili Peppers – as well as Estonian president and rock fan Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

The “Save Radio Helsinki” Facebook page has attracted nearly 24,000 ‘likes’ within 10 days.

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