Belo CEO Decherd gets $5.3 mil in 2006

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DALLAS -- The chairman and chief executive of media company Belo Corp., owner of The Dallas Morning News, got compensation last year that the company valued at $5.3 million, according to an analysis of a regulatory filing Tuesday.

Most of Robert W. Decherd's compensation came in stock and options awards that had an estimated value of $3 million when they were granted. Decherd was paid a salary of $925,000, non-equity incentives of nearly $1.1 million, an $11,300 bonus, and $288,945 in other compensation, mostly payments to a supplemental retirement plan.

The Associated Press calculations of total pay include executives' salary, bonus, incentives, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock and options awards granted during the year. The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits or the company's cost of stock and options granted before 2006, and the figures can differ from the company's total.

Decherd, 56, has been chairman and CEO since 1987.

The Dallas-based company's stock lost 14.2% of its value in 2006, although the shares have stabilized since late last year.

Belo earned $130.5 million last year, up slightly from $127.7 million in 2005. Revenue ticked up to $1.59 billion from $1.53 billion.

The company's 20 television stations were helped by strong sales of political advertising during the 2006 election season. That helped offset weakness at Belo's four daily newspapers, a slump that deepened late in the year.

Like other newspapers, Belo's have struggled with competition for attention and advertising dollars from television and the Internet. The Dallas paper has reduced far-flung bureaus and increased its focus on local news in an effort to boost readership.

The company has also tried to limit costs. It reduced newsroom staff through employee buyouts last year at the Dallas paper and The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif.

Executives said recently that TV revenue will rise slightly but newspaper sales will fall in the first quarter of 2007 compared with early 2006.

In Tuesday's filing, Belo announced that its annual shareholder meeting will be held May 8 in Dallas.

The only shareholder resolution on the agenda, offered by the New York City comptroller, would call for annual elections of all directors instead of just one-third of the board. Belo's board recommended a vote against the proposal, saying staggered terms increased stability and long-term planning.
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