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Belo Eyes Retrans at Bear Stearns Conference

Belo is looking to improve substantially on the $23 million the company made on retransmission-consent fees in 2007.

Speaking at the Bear Stearns Media Conference in Florida Tuesday morning, Belo president and CEO Dunia Shive said the company is aiming for $28 million-$29 million in retransmission money this year.

She added that a deal with cable operator Charter Communications is up at the end of 2008, talks with Comcast are ongoing (she said there was “good progress” with the nation’s largest cable operator), Time Warner Cable’s contract is up in 2010 and significant satellite-provider contracts are up in 2011.

Shive also shared that Belo’s stations took in $2.6 million in the Texas primary earlier this month, which she called “a disproportionate share of the revenue” in the local markets. Belo is based in Dallas and counts WFAA Dallas and KHOU Houston among its 20 stations. She forecasted around $5 million in political revenue for the first quarter.

In terms of potential station acquisitions, Shive said it was a case of “never say never,” while also pointing out the high cost of borrowing money. She added that Belo is interested in creating a duopoly in Houston to go with KHOU. “It’s certainly something we’d look at for the right price,” she said.