Fisher Q2 Television down 26%; Radio down 49%


Fisher Communications’ Q2 revenue was $32.0 million, compared to $45.7 million in Q2 2008, a decrease of $13.7 million, or 30%. Television revenue was $22.7 million, a 26% decrease from the $30.9 million generated in Q2 2008. The radio side reported revenue of $5.9 million, a decrease of 49% from the $11.6 million earned in the comparable period of 2008.

Radio BCF increased $1.4 million compared to the same period last year, a result of the termination of the company’s Seattle Mariners broadcast contract in 2008. Excluding the impact of that contract, radio revenue declined 21% and radio BCF decreased 30% over Q2 2008. TV BCF was $1.1 million, compared with $9.1 million in the same period of 2008, a decrease of 87%. The decrease in BCF was solely attributable to revenue declines.

During the quarter, the television segment recorded $247,000 of political revenue, compared to $2.2 million during the same period last year, a decrease of 89%. Fisher recorded $791,000 in total retransmission consent revenue in the quarter, an increase of 6% from Q2 2008.

Television declines reflected continued weakness in advertising during the quarter due to the challenging macro-economic environment, and a $2.0 million decline in political spending compared to the Q2 2008. Excluding political spending, television revenue declined 22% in the Q2 compared to the same period last year.

Key ad categories continued to experience significant declines, including automotive (down 58%), retail (down 25%), and professional services (down 26%).

During the quarter, Fisher began simulcasting its all-news radio station, KOMO AM 1000, on the FM dial at 97.7 pursuant to an LMA entered into with the station’s owner. In July, advertisers in the Seattle-Tacoma market began buying radio advertising on the basis of Arbitron’s PPM system. Fisher’s Hot AC, STAR 101.5, became the #1 ranked station in all key dayparts and demos for the first three months of the new ratings system. The KOMO AM/FM simulcast also significantly improved its competitive position under the new ratings system for June (the first full month of the simulcast), ranking #1 in its targeted Adults 35-64 demographic in afternoon Drive and #3 in Adults 35-64 during morning drive.

Said CEO Colleen Brown: “Obviously, the economy continues to be at the forefront of our thinking. Specifically, we have been changing our business model to become more efficient operators and we are adapting our operations to support the multimedia platforms we are developing…Fisher’s financial performance continues to be affected by the economic environment, which has driven advertising spending to its lowest level since 2000. Fisher and the Northwest had a relatively good first half in 2008, compared to the rest of the country, making 2009’s variances greater. Advertisers are continuing with a wait-and see approach toward advertising buys…”