Belo’s TV Station Online Ad Revs Decline Modestly

While the fretting over newspapers and advertising has gotten a lot of ink, local TV stations have been faring just as badly the past year. While Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC), the broadcast TV operator not to be confused with its newspaper cousin AH Belo (NYSE: AHC), swung to profit in Q4 on cost cuts, ad revenues remained dismal. During the quarter, the Dallas-based broadcaster experienced a revenue drop of 13.8 percent, while online ads were down a relatively modest 3.2 percent. For the full year, online was down 5.2 percent. Belo blamed part of the decline on the lack of political ad spending in 2009 compared to the year before. As it waits for the general ad market to rebound slightly in Q1, it’s waiting for political ad spending to return later this year to provide a necessary shot in the arm for its stations.