April 21, 2008
Belo Offers Free Airtime to Candidates for Seventh Consecutive Election Cycle and Commits to 2008 Political Coverage
DALLAS -- Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC), which in 1996 became the first commercial television station group to provide free airtime for congressional and gubernatorial candidates, announced that it will offer the "It's Your Time" program for the seventh consecutive election cycle this fall.
The Company also announced election coverage plans, stating that Belo's news-producing stations will televise at least one hour of political coverage each week in the six weeks prior to the general election on November 4. The Company's election coverage in 2008 may include debates, issue- and ad-watch programming, and interviews with local, state and federal candidates. Debates and "It's Your Time" spots will be streamed and archived on Belo Web sites through Election Day. In 2006, Belo stations broadcast more than 150 hours of election coverage from mid-September through Election Day in November, including several congressional and gubernatorial debates.
Candidates participating in "It's Your Time" each receive five minutes of free airtime (four minutes to tell viewers why they should be elected and one minute to answer a question specific to the candidate's individual race). In 2006, 146 qualified candidates for U.S. House, U.S. Senate and state gubernatorial offices participated in "It's Your Time," receiving more than 13 hours of free airtime. Since the program's inception, Belo has provided free airtime to almost 700 candidates.
"Belo has a deep commitment to providing robust election coverage that helps create an informed electorate in the local communities we serve," said Dunia A. Shive, Belo's president and Chief Executive Officer. "Since Belo's introduction of this program, other broadcast companies have joined Belo's efforts and are also voluntarily providing free airtime in their respective markets."
Belo's coverage plans prior to the election include:
Belo Corp. is one of the nation's largest pure-play publicly-traded television companies, with annual revenue of approximately $775 million. The Company owns and operates 20 television stations reaching more than 14 percent of U.S. television households, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW and MyNetwork TV affiliates, and their associated Web sites, in 15 highly-attractive markets across the United States. Belo stations consistently deliver distinguished journalism for which they have received significant industry recognition including nine Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Awards; nine George Foster Peabody Awards; and 19 national Edward R. Murrow Awards all since 2000, and in each case more than any other commercial station group in the nation. Nearly all Belo stations rank first or second in their local market. Belo owns stations in seven of the top 25 markets in the nation, with six stations located in the fast-growing, top-14 markets of Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Seattle/Tacoma and Phoenix. Additionally, the Company has leveraged its local television assets to create regional cable news channels in Texas and the Northwest increasing its impact in those regions. Additional information is available at www.belo.com or by contacting Paul Fry, vice president/Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, at 214-977-6835.