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Hearst-Argyle Profit Falls

The company cites hurricane effects and seasonality in certain ad lines.
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Hearst-Argyle Television


results were weaker as the TV station group felt the brunt of Hurricane Katrina, along with the absence of political and Olympic-year ad dollars that helped last year's quarter.

The company recorded earnings of 13 cents per share, compared to 32 cents per share in the third quarter of 2004. It said it had revenue of $164 million, consistent with guidance it provided prior to Katrina.

Analysts polled by Thomson were expecting 14 cents on $165 million in revenue. Revenue was $194 million during the same period last year, a 15% decline.

It said lost revenue and incremental expenses as a result of Katrina hit results to the tune of 2 cents a share. The company owns WDSU-TV, the NBC affiliate in New Orleans.

Hearst-Argyle's 25 stations generated $2.4 million in net political revenue in the third quarter of 2005, compared to $22.1 million in the same period last year. During third-quarter 2004, the company's 10 NBC affiliates benefited from $19 million of advertising revenue related to the 2004 summer Olympics.

"Given the record political revenue and the strong Olympics sales from which we benefited last year, largely concentrated in the third and fourth quarters, we had anticipated that total revenue and net income would decline on a year-to-year basis," said Chief Executive David Barrett, in a statement. "Adding to our challenges is a weakness in spending from the automotive sector, our largest advertising category, which declined 10% during the quarter."

Heart-Argyle was set to open Thursday at $23.81.