Belo Expects Double-digit Rise in 3Q Spot

PHOENIX, ARIZ.: Belo Corp. chief Dunia Shive today said the third quarter spot increases appeared in line with expectations.

“In our last third quarter update, we stated that total spot revenue could approach a high teen increase, depending on the strength of political,” she said at today’s Deutsche Bank Conference in Phoenix. “We currently expect to report an increase in third quarter total spot revenue of about 17.5 percent versus the third quarter of 2009. Political revenue in the third quarter of 2010 totaled approximately $11 million, a little less than originally expected, but still up from the $7.5 million we generated in the last non-presidential election cycle in 2006.”

Shive also noted that Belo recently reached affiliation agreements with ABC for its four stations in Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin, Texas; Louisville, Ky.; and Hampton/Norfolk, Va. Belo also nailed down affiliate agreements with CBS for stations in Houston and San Antonio, Texas; and New Orleans.

Belo’s portfolio comprises 20 TV stations. They generated net earnings of $19.5 million on revenues of $163 million for the second quarter ending June 30. Both results were up from $10.3 million in $144.8 million for the year-previous quarter.

Belo also announced that it was splitting its pension plan with A.H. Belo, the newspaper business spun out in 2008. The split takes effect Jan. 1, 2011, affecting around 5,100 current and former employees. Belo said it expects to take a non-cash charge of between $19 million and $23 million related to the split during the first quarter of 2011, with an associated tax benefit of $5 million to $7 million. -- Deborah D. McAdams.