Same-station television revenue at Fisher Communications Inc. fell 1.6 percent, to $25.5 million, in the third quarter compared to Q3 2007, thanks to sharp declines in ad spending. Total television revenue increased 6.7 percent in the quarter with the January 2008 addition of the KBAK/KBXF duopoly in Bakersfield, Calif.
Together, Q3 revenues were $41.9 million, up 2.8 percent to 40.8 million in last year’s third quarter.
Fisher President and CEO Colleen B. Brown said the company will weather the financial crisis.
“While this is unquestionably a tough period for our industry, we continued to make solid progress in improving Fisher's operational performance and strengthening the company's overall position in the marketplace,” she said in a statement. “We are encouraged that we have increased our market share in virtually all of our markets this year, including significant gains for our Bakersfield duopoly and Seattle radio cluster. We were able to achieve these operational successes despite no third quarter Presidential candidate spending in Fisher's markets, nor any Olympics programming on Fisher's stations.”
She said the company is improving operational efficiencies and aggressively reducing expenses
The loss from operations was $1.0 million for the quarter, down from income of $1.7 million in Q3 2007, and EBITDA dropped 47 percent. Thanks to the sale of Fisher's remaining shares of Safeco stock of $31.8 million, net income for the quarter was $29.8 million ($3.41 per share) compared to a net loss of $533,000 (6 cents per share) in Q3 2007.
Fisher’s stock value has survived the current economic growth better than many; shares traded at about $33.30 Thursday morning, down from a September high of $39.20.
Fisher, based in Seattle, owns 13 full-power TV stations, seven Low-Power TV stations, eight radio stations and Fisher Plaza, a telecommunications center in Seattle.