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Revenue Rises at Fisher TV Stations

Fisher Communications Inc. continued same-station revenue growth, upping that intake 5.3 percent in the second quarter of 2008 compared with the same period last year. On a same-station basis, gross local TV revenue increased 3.5 percent over Q2 2007 while gross national TV revenue decreased 9.4 percent.

Counting two Bakersfield, Calif., stations acquired in January, television revenue rose 15 percent over a year ago, from $27 million to $31 million.

The company reported net income of $63.7 million ($7.29 per share) for the quarter, up from $2.3 million (26 cents per share) last year.

Fisher’s radio segment suffered lower revenue and higher promotional costs and expenses related to its carriage of Seattle Mariners games—an arrangement ending after this season.

The company reported year-over-year online traffic growth of 65 percent.

The company also declared a special dividend of $3.50 per share on its common stock, payable Aug. 29 to shareholders of record on Aug. 15.

But despite overall revenue growth in the quarter of 10 percent over last year, to $45.3 million, the company suffered a loss of $3.9 million, compared to income of $3.3 million during the same period in 2007. The loss included a $5.0 million non-cash charge for a change in the company’s national advertising representation firm and a $1.0 million charge for the forfeiture of a non-refundable deposit.

“Despite the economic headwinds, we are pleased that Fisher continues to grow its revenues and increase its market share,” said Fisher President and CEO Colleen B. Brown. “We remain focused on executing on our strategy of improving operations and creating solid revenue growth. We are optimistic about the long-term outlook for our business, given the progress we are making in transforming Fisher’s operations and its business model.”

Seattle-based Fisher Communications’ media properties are concentrated in the Western United States. It owns and operates 13 full power television stations (including a half-owned station), seven low power television stations and eight radio stations.