Fisher Communications sees signs of hope


The Pacific Northwest isn’t bouncing back as quickly as some other parts of the country, but Fisher Communications CEO Colleen Brown reported some encouraging trends in late Q4 that have continued into 2010. Both radio and TV revenues were down in Q4.

Television net revenues were down 23% in Q4 to $29.1 million. However, excluding political – which dropped $10.9 million to only $1.2 million – core advertising revenues were up 4% for the quarter to $23 million. Importantly, auto advertising was up 14%. Retransmission consent fees increased $1.5 million to $2.4 million and Brown reported that the company had recently completed retransmission consent agreements with several cable and satellite carriers.

Television broadcast cash flow (BCF) was down 65% to $5.1 million.

Fisher’s radio operations in Seattle saw net revenues drop 8% to $6.1 million. Radio BCF was essentially flat at $1.1 million.

Total revenues were down 19% in the quarter to $38.6 million. EBITDA dropped 67% to $4.1 million.

“As we look ahead, we are encouraged by some of the trends we witnessed in the fourth quarter, including an improvement in our core, non-political television advertising. Fisher’s automotive ad spending grew in the quarter for the first time since the recession began, and we are hopeful that this pace will gradually increase throughout the year,” Brown said.