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Fisher TV Stations Post Loss on $76.8 Million Impairment

SEATTLE: Revenues increased last year at Fisher Communication’s 20 TV stations, but a hefty write-down pushed the final results into the red.

The stations--13 full powers and seven LPTVs--pulled in $124 million in 2008, up 12 percent over the $110.8 million generated in 2007. Cash flow would have been $35.6 million if not for a $76.8 million charge driving a net loss of $61.3 million for the stations, compared to income of nearly $19.9 million in 2007.

The TV stations reported $22 million in political revenue for the year compared to $6.7 million in 2007, up 228 percent. Fisher stations also generated $3.1 million in retransmission consent, up 20 percent from the year before.

On a same-station basis, revenue (which includes Internet) was $113.8 million in 2008, up 2.7 percent from the previously mentioned ’07 tally of $110.8. (Fisher added two stations in Bakersfield, Calif., in 2008.) The increase was attributed to higher Internet revenue and stronger political revenue than expected.

For 4Q08, the TV stations generated revenues of $37.9 million, up 12 percent over the $33.7 million in 4Q07. Cash flow sans impairment was $14.5 million compared to $13.2 million in 4Q07, up 9 percent.

Factoring in the $76.8 million impairment resulted in a quarterly loss of $66.2 million.

Political for the quarter was $13.8 million, up from $5.3 million the year before. Retrans was $864,000 for the quarter, up 31 percent from the year-ago period.

On a same-station basis, 4Q08 revenues were $35 million compared with $33.7 million in 4Q07, up 3.9 percent. The increase was primarily attributable to higher political revenue.

Consolidated full-year results for Fisher’s TV and radio stations, it’s fiber network and it’s real estate in Seattle, came in at $173.8 million, up more than 7 percent from 2007. A consolidated impairment charge of $78.2 million drove a $72 million loss on continued operations, though net income came out at $44.7 million.-- Deborah D. McAdams