November 16, 2004
Belo television stations broadcast more than 300 hours of political coverage during election season
Dallas, TX -- Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC) said today its 14 news-producing television stations broadcast more than 300 hours of political coverage from August 1 through November 2, airing an average of 142 local and national stories each week.
In an effort to better inform and engage its communities in the political process, Belo and its news-producing stations committed this year to broadcast at least an hour of political coverage each week in the six weeks prior to the November 2 general election. The Company and the stations decided to expand coverage of debates, issue and ad-watch programming and interviews with local, state and federal candidates.
Although the goal was to increase coverage beginning six weeks prior to the election, Belo stations expanded their coverage 14 weeks before the election. "The depth of political coverage on Belo's news-producing stations and cable news operations during this election season reflects the Company's commitment to the communities we serve," said Robert W. Decherd, Belo's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "We're very pleased to have provided our communities with this extraordinary level of coverage."
The stations exceeded the goal, broadcasting 338 hours of coverage -- an average of one hour and 43 minutes per station weekly over the 14-week period. The coverage included 21 debates that gave viewers a focused look at the candidates and their platforms. KING-TV and its sister station, KONG-TV, in Seattle/Tacoma were especially active, broadcasting three congressional debates, a senatorial debate, a gubernatorial debate, an attorney general debate and a debate between candidates vying for the post of Superintendent for Public Instruction.
To maximize voter education, Belo television stations re-broadcast their political coverage on sister stations and on the Company's cable news channels, where available. Belo's two regional cable news operations and its four local cable news channels televised an average of 176 stories weekly, representing an average of four hours and 36 minutes of political coverage each week. In another outreach effort, eight Belo television stations posted video of local debates online.
This unprecedented political coverage was in addition to more than 20 hours of free airtime Belo stations provided to congressional and gubernatorial candidates this election season as part of the Company's "It's Your Time" program. Belo pioneered "It's Your Time" in 1996 to help viewers better understand the issues facing their communities. This year, 159 candidates in Belo markets participated in the program. More than 560 candidates have participated in "It's Your Time" over the last five election cycles.About Belo