Media owner

Belo

(BLC)

posted higher first-quarter profit despite lower revenue.

The owner of

The Dallas Morning News

plus a diversified group of other newspaper, radio and television station holdings beat forecasts Thursday, sending its shares up modestly.

First-quarter profit rose to $23.7 million, or 20 cents a share, up from $22.3 million, or 19 cents a share, in the same period a year before. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had pegged earnings per share at 16 cents for the quarter. Revenue fell to $347 million from $351 million a year earlier.

"We are pleased with Belo's first-quarter results, as net earnings per share of 20 cents exceeded first-quarter 2004 results, despite the absence of significant political revenue at our television stations and the financial impact related to the circulation matter at

The Dallas Morning News

," said Robert W. Decherd, Belo's chairman and chief executive.

The company weathered a circulation scandal at the Dallas paper last year. Meanwhile, broadcasters like Belo are feeling the heat from the absence of political ad spending this year and a generally soft local-TV spot market. The company said its television group revenue decreased 1.8% in the first quarter, with a 1.5% decrease in spot revenue, due to the absence of significant political spending and Super Bowl-related revenue.

Belo said political revenue was roughly $500,000 in the first quarter of 2005, compared to $4.5 million in the first quarter of 2004. Super Bowl-related revenue was $100,000 on Belo's Fox affiliate in Tucson in the first quarter of 2005, vs. $3.5 million on Belo's five CBS affiliates in the first quarter of 2004.

The company reaffirmed its full-year earnings guidance in the range of $1.17 to $1.24 per share.

Belo rose 26 cents Thursday to $23.03.