Fisher Communications’ Q3 revenues were $41.9 million, compared to $40.8 million in Q3 2007, a 2.8% increase. The increase in revenue was primarily due to the addition of KBAK and KBFX in Bakersfield, CA, acquired on 1/1/08.
Net income for the quarter was $29.8 million, or $3.41 per share, compared to a net loss of $533,000 or $0.06 per share in the third quarter of 2007. Excluding the after-tax effects of the gain from the sale of Fisher’s remaining shares of Safeco stock of $31.8 million, net loss would have been $2.1 million in the third quarter of 2008 or $0.24 per share.
For the quarter, the Radio segment reported revenues of $11.3 million, a decrease of 9.9% from the $12.5 million earned in the comparable period of 2007. Loss from operations was $1.8 million, compared with a loss from operations of $477,000 in Q3 ‘07. The decrease in revenue and increase in loss from operations was primarily attributable to a decrease in revenue associated with the broadcast of Seattle Mariners baseball games, which was down 21% from the third quarter of 2007. Excluding the impact of the Mariners, revenue was flat to 2007’s third quarter, despite an 8% decline in revenue for the Seattle market. As reported on July 22, 2008, the cmpany did not renew the broadcast rights agreement with the Seattle Mariners; therefore, 2008 will be the final year of Fisher’s commitments.
Television revenue increased 6.7% in Q3 compared with the same period last year. Same-station television revenue decreased 1.6% in the quarter due to significant declines in key advertising categories including Automotive (down 41%) and Retail (down 12%). Despite no Presidential candidate spending in Fisher markets, gross television political revenue increased $4.2 million from Q3 ‘07 to $5.4 million in Q3 ‘08.
Fisher’s Plaza segment reported revenues of $3.3 million, a 17% increase over the $2.8 million generated in the Q3 2007. Income from operations was $1.4 million, an increase of $420,000 and 41% compared to the same period in 2007. The increases were attributable to higher rent and fees associated with higher occupancy, which increased from 96% in the third quarter of 2007 to 97% in Q3 2008.
The company continues to explore strategic alternatives for its real estate holdings, including Fisher Plaza. However, given current credit market conditions, the company has suspended efforts to sell Fisher Plaza.