Hearst-Argyle reports sharp Q1 drop

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NEW YORK -- Hearst-Argyle Television Inc., owner and operator of 26 television stations and two radio stations, on Friday said first-quarter earnings fell sharply, hurt by the loss of key sporting events on its network-affiliated stations.

Net income dropped to $4.3 million, or 5 cents per share, from $13 million, or 14 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting earnings of 12 cents per share.

Revenue slipped 3% to $174 million, as net ad revenue fell 4% to $148.2 million. The decline came in the automotive category, which was bolstered a year ago when Hearst's 12 ABC-affiliated stations carried the Super Bowl. Its 10 NBC stations also benefited from advertising around the Winter Olympics.
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