Belo working against tough comps in Q4


After surprising Wall Street with its Q3 performance, with TV revenues up despite the lack of political advertising, Belo is continuing to hold the line on expenses as it works against tough comps in the current Q4. "While we expect spot revenue excluding political to be up in the mid-single digits, we expect total Television Group revenues to be down in the mid-single digits as we cycle against 31.6 million of political revenue in the fourth quarter of 2006. Adjusting for one less Sunday in the fourth quarter, we expect Newspaper Group revenues to be down consistent with what we’ve experienced during the first nine months of 2007. We again expect operating expenses to be less than the prior year after adjusting for anticipated charges related to the spin-off," said CFO Dennis Williamson.

CEO Robert Decherd was on the quarterly conference call, despite having spent recent days at the bedside of his wife, who remains hospitalized in critical condition after being struck by a car. Decherd said he’d only returned to company HQ about 30 minutes before the call, but had been keeping up on business and expressed confidence in his management staff. The CEO remains upbeat on the planned split of Belo into two companies and said the spin-off of the newspaper business into a new A.H. Belo Corporation, which he will head, should take place in Q1 of 2008. Decherd announced that the new company will have the NYSE ticker symbol "AHC." The television group will retain the Belo Corporation name and "BLC" ticker, with Dunia Shive as CEO.