September 3, 2005
WWL-TV continues broadcasts to serve struggling communities, overcomes major challenges following Hurricane Katrina
Market-Leading Station Is the Only Local New Orleans Station to Remain on Air Continuously Throughout Hurricane and Its Aftermath
Belo Stations and Newspapers Nationwide Provide News Reporting Support, Raise More Than $10 Million To Date in Fundraising Relief Drives
Dallas, TX --WWL-TV, the market-leading CBS affiliate in New Orleans owned by Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC), has remained on the air "live" since Hurricane Katrina's arrival and disastrous aftermath, the only New Orleans television station to do so. WWL's news, production and technical teams have overcome tremendous logistical, communications and personal challenges to serve their communities during this crisis. Professionals from Belo's television and newspaper media companies across the nation have stepped in to support their colleagues' extraordinary efforts.
Robert W. Decherd, Belo's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, "The entire Belo organization is extraordinarily proud of the WWL team for overcoming tremendous obstacles to broadcast continuously what is arguably some of the finest disaster news coverage in the history of television journalism. They have demonstrated the highest possible commitment to their communities and profession, setting aside personal needs to provide people in New Orleans, the Gulf Coast region and the world with ongoing updates about what is happening, how those in need can get help, and what others can do to support the mammoth relief efforts underway following one of our nation's worst natural disasters.
"Journalists at Belo television stations and newspapers across the nation have supported this Herculean effort by contributing news crews, broadcasting equipment, supplies and logistical support. We also greatly appreciate the professional assistance being provided by Louisiana Public Broadcasting and its Baton Rouge affiliate, WPBL-TV, and Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, which has allowed WWL to broadcast from their facilities.
"In addition, every one of Belo's 24 other media companies is leading community fundraising drives that have already raised more than $10 million to support hurricane relief efforts by the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other organizations."
WWL Broadcasts Benefit From Unprecedented Cooperation
WWL has been able to broadcast locally without interruption due to advance arrangements made with LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication to use its facilities in Baton Rouge. When WWL's own facilities on Rampart Street in the French Quarter had to be evacuated, WWL personnel continued the station's live coverage using the LSU facilities as well as WWL's emergency broadcast facility at its transmitter site in Gretna, Louisiana. WWL shifted its broadcasts to the WPBL studios on Wednesday, August 31.
Additionally, WWL's signal is being carried statewide in Louisiana and Mississippi through a network of digital channels, on all public television stations in Louisiana, and on several cable channels in local communities in Louisiana. Several Louisiana radio stations are also broadcasting the audio portion of WWL-TV's signal. Other Belo stations, including WFAA-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth, KHOU-TV in Houston and KVUE-TV in Austin, are also carrying WWL's live coverage. Echostar, a satellite television provider, is making WWL's signal available to evacuation centers in Texas.
Belo is also offering WWL's signal to all broadcasters in non-Belo markets for broadcast on their digital multicast channels. Stations in Chicago; Boston and Springfield/Holyoke, Massachusetts; Syracuse and Albany, New York; Hartford/New Haven, Connecticut; Birmingham, Alabama; and Panama City, Florida are among those providing WWL's hurricane response coverage through this service.
WWL-TV's Web Site Usage Surges, Partnership with Yahoo.com Extends Reach
WWL has been video streaming its hurricane coverage on the station's Web site, www.wwltv.com, in an effort to reach those directly impacted as well as others concerned about the affected communities. The Web site has experienced a tremendous surge in usage since Hurricane Katrina hit, with more than 10.2 million page views, 562,000-plus unique users and 1.3 million total online sessions to its live video streaming broadcasts on its peak day, Tuesday, August 30. This represents more than 35 times the average number of daily page views and more than 22 times the average number of unique video users during the first two weeks of August.
In addition, WWL finalized arrangements to be the exclusive provider of hurricane-related Web links and video streaming coverage for Yahoo!.com's site on Hurricane Katrina: http://news.yahoo.com/fc/world/hurricanes_and_tropical_storms.
The wwltv.com site includes live video streaming news coverage from WWL-TV's broadcasts, the latest photos and news coverage, phone numbers for government and charitable relief agencies, community and employee blogs, and county-by-county news and weather links.
Belo Media Companies Nationwide Raise More Than $10 Million To Date for Hurricane Relief Efforts
Belo's television stations and newspapers in 17 major markets nationwide have raised more than $10 million to date to support hurricane relief efforts in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. Ongoing fundraising campaigns include telethons, drive-thru donation sites at local television stations, partnerships with a major league baseball team and national grocery store chains, and special events.
WWL-TV Employee Relief Fund Established
To assist its employees at WWL and NewsWatch on Channel 15 who have been severely impacted personally by Hurricane Katrina, Belo Corp. and The Belo Foundation have established the WWL-TV Employee Relief Fund. Belo Corp. has committed $200,000 to the fund initially and will also match dollar-for-dollar the contributions of employees at Belo companies. The general public and business partners are also invited to make contributions to the relief fund.
Donations are tax-deductible. Cash or check donations made out to the WWL-TV Employee Relief Fund may be made in person at The Belo Foundation, located in Suite 200 of The Belo Building in Dallas, and checks may also be mailed in care of The Belo Foundation at P.O. Box 655237, Dallas, Texas 75265-5237, with questions answered at 214-977-6661.
Yesterday, the Relief Fund made an initial tax-free distribution of $1,000 to every WWL employee to meet his or her immediate needs.
The Company is also making a $100,000 donation to a major non-profit organization with targeted relief efforts in New Orleans and Louisiana in honor of WWL's employees.
About WWL and Belo
WWL-TV, a subsidiary of Belo Corp., is a CBS-affiliated television station serving the New Orleans market. WWL is one of the nation's highest-rated local television stations, leading the New Orleans market for three decades. Belo Corp. is one of the nation's largest media companies with a diversified group of market-leading television, newspaper, cable and interactive media assets. A Fortune 1000 company with 7,600 employees and $1.5 billion in annual revenues, Belo operates in some of America's most dynamic markets in Texas, the Northwest, the Southwest, Rhode Island, and the Mid-Atlantic. Belo owns 19 television stations, six of which are in the 15 largest U.S. broadcast markets. The Company also owns or operates seven cable news channels and manages one television station through a local marketing agreement. Belo's daily newspapers are The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal, The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) and the Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, TX). The Company also publishes specialty publications targeting young adults, affluent populations and the fast-growing Hispanic market, including Quick and al dia in Dallas/Fort Worth, and the d, El D and La Prensa in Riverside. Belo operates more than 30 Web sites associated with its operating companies. Additional information is available at www.belo.com or by contacting Carey Hendrickson, vice president/Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, at 214-977-6626.