TV stations account for two-thirds of the Seattle-based TV-radio group’s total revenue of $38.7 million.
Revenue from the 12 full-power and seven low-power TV stations Fisher Communications Inc. owns or manages increased 13% during the third quarter, accounting for two-thirds of the company’s total revenue of $38.7 million, according to Colleen Brown, Fisher president and CEO.
The stations were helped by increases in national, local and political advertising as well as increases in paid programming. Brown added that among the strongest ad categories were retail, cellular phone and health care while there was softness in domestic automotive. “Our markets didn’t have highly contested political races,” Brown said, with political money accounting for 3% of revenues, up from 1% in 2005.
That total revenue figure of $38.7 million represented an increase of $3.1 million, or 9%, for the quarter, compared to the same quarter in 2005. Total revenue increased $9.2 million, or 9%, in the nine months of 2006, in comparison to the first nine months of 2005.
Third quarter income increased to $1.9 million from $304,000 in 2005. YTD income from operations increased to $6.9 million from a loss of $5.3 million in 2005. “Our consistent revenue growth and cost controls enabled us to significantly outperform prior year results,” stated Brown.
The company reported a loss from continuing operations of $784,000 for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared to a loss from continuing operations of $1.1 million for the same period last year. The third quarter 2006 net loss includes a tax expense adjustment of $388,000 as a result of an audit of the 2003 federal tax return. Including income from discontinued operations amounting to $113,000, third quarter 2006 consolidated net loss was $671,000. Including income from discontinued operations of $328,000, third quarter 2005 consolidated net loss was $790,000.
The loss from continuing operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2006 was $779,000, compared to a loss from continuing operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2005 of $7.7 million. Including income from discontinued operations amounting to $675,000, nine-month 2006 consolidated net loss was $104,000. Including income from discontinued operations of $738,000, nine-month 2005 consolidated net loss was $6.9 million.
As announced earlier, the company closed on the sale of 18 out of 24 small-market radio stations located in Montana and Eastern Washington for $26.1 million. The remaining six stations were excluded from the original sale in order to secure FCC approval, but continue to be held for sale. The operating results for this group of stations are reported as discontinued operations.
And the company just finalized its purchase of two Oregon television stations for $19.3 million, effected through a like-kind exchange of the sold radio properties mentioned above. This transaction was initially announced in December 2005 and included the purchase of two Idaho TV stations that was finalized in May 2006.
In September 2006, Fisher completed the purchase of African-American Broadcasting of Bellevue Inc., licensee of KWOG-TV Bellevue, Washington, for $16 million. Fisher purchased 25% of the stock on June 26 for $4.0 million, and the remaining 75% was purchased in September.
These transactions were funded by a combination of cash flow from operations, proceeds from the sale of the small-market radio stations, and borrowing from a revolving line of credit.
Commenting on the transactions, Brown said, “The sale of our small-market radio stations and the purchase of these affiliated stations in the Seattle, Portland, and Boise markets enable Fisher to leverage the synergies of our emerging cluster of Northwest stations. Furthermore, the purchase of these stations creates an opportunity to enjoy duopoly economics in our key markets and expand our service to the Hispanic community, which is the fastest growing population in the Northwest.”
Fisher Communications, Inc. is a Seattle-based communications company that owns or manages 12 full-power and seven low-power TV stations and nine radio stations in the Pacific Northwest. The Company owns and operates Fisher Pathways, a satellite and fiber transmission provider, and FisherPlaza, a media, telecommunications and data center facility located near downtown Seattle.