Belo announces more cost-cutting moves


The owner of 20 television stations says it will cut 150 staff positions and take other expense reduction actions by mid-April. Managers will see 5% salary reductions and all 401(k) matching contributions are suspended. Along with previous cost-cutting measures, CEO Dunia Shive says Belo’s overhead in 2009 will be 10% below 2008.

Belo had previously reported that national and local spot sales, excluding political, were down 11% in Q4, with Shive adding that Q1 was looking much the same. Along with efforts to reduce operating costs, the company recently announced that it was indefinitely suspending its dividend payment.

The latest cost-saving measures include the suspension of Belo Corp.’s 401(k) matching contribution for all employees, a 5% salary reduction for employees who are part of the company’s management compensation programs, and a company-wide staff reduction of approximately 150 positions. A Belo spokesman told RBR/TVBR that the number may include some currently open positions, but that there was no detailed tally available. Belo’s announcement said the additional cost-saving measures will become effective by mid-April.

"As a result of these actions, and other measures previously implemented, we expect 2009 cash operating expenses to be approximately 10% lower than 2008, excluding severance costs," said Shive.