Belo Reports 3Q Results

Belo Corp. (NYSE:BLC) posted net income of $14.4 million on revenues of $170.8 million for the quarter ending Sept. 30, compared to $18.8 million on $182.4 million last year. Earnings per share came in at 14 cents versus 15 cents last year.

Belo president and CEO Dunia Shive said operations took a hit from hurricanes as well as the economy. Hurricanes in Houston and New Orleans cost Belo about $3.5 million, including about $2.6 million in lost ad revenue from power outages. The hurricane effect put 6.4 percent dent in Belo’s revenue compared to last year. Sans the hurricanes, Belo revenues would have fallen 3.4 percent, “largely due to expense reductions,” Shive said.

Belo reduced its debt by $42 million from cash generated by operations during 3Q, and more recently retired 8 percent senior debt of $350 million from another credit facility at a lower interest rate.

Local spot ad revenue fell 13 percent, while national was down 18 percent. Automotive across the board was down 26 percent. Nearly 5 percent of the total revenue decline came from Belo’s Phoenix stations in part due to the housing crisis there.

Olympics revenue totaled $9.7 million. Political was $11.7 million, up by $8.4 million from a year ago. Web site revenue was up 18 percent to $7.9 million, representing 4.6 percent of Belo’s total revenues. Retransmission generated $8.4 million, up 41 percent compared to last year.

Belo expects retrans revenue to reach $31 million for the first year.

Belo, based in Dallas, owns and operates 20 television stations reaching more than 14 percent of U.S. television households.