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Belo Forecasts Double-Digit Q4 Dip

Complete Coverage: UBS Global Media and Communications Conference

Belo Corp. President/CEO Dunia Shive expects the broadcaster to post a 10% dip in revenue for the fourth quarter, but sees brighter things for the future, thanks to a batch of leading stations in growth markets like San Antonio and New Orleans.

Speaking at the UBS Global Media Conference in New York today, Shive said Belo will pull in $35.8 million in political for the fourth quarter, bringing the yearly total to $56 million--$3 million better than the 2004 election season. Retransmission consent revenue stands to be about $31 million for the year.

Shive also addressed Belo’s lagging stock price, which was $2 at presstime, down from a 52-week high of nearly $14.

“We’re obviously disappointed in the stock price,” she said. “We don’t think current valuations reflect its appropriate value.” Belo is undergoing a hiring freeze, she said, a companywide wage freeze, and staff reductions.

While Shive forecasted total spot revenue to be down for 2009, she said retrans and Internet revenue would be up in the double digits, and that the company would eventually look at some station acquisitions to create duopolies.

“We’ve been through down cycles before and always have been able to come through leaner and meaner,” she said.