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Politics ads, Olympics lift Belo 3Q profit 81 pct

DALLAS (AP) -- The election in November and the Olympics this summer lifted net income of Belo Corp. 81 percent, the television station owner said Tuesday, and declared a special dividend for investors.

Belo, which is based in Dallas but owns 20 TV stations in 15 markets around the country, earned $24.8 million, or 24 cents per share, in the July-September quarter, up from $13.7 million, or 13 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Revenue rose 16 percent to $176.3 million from $152 million, thanks to a big boost in political ads — $17.7 million in political revenue, compared with just $2.1 million a year ago — along with $13.4 million in Olympics revenue.

The Olympics had unexpectedly strong ratings this year.

Because of the boost to cash flow, Belo is issuing a one-time dividend of 25 cents. It will be paid Dec. 21 to shareholders of record on Nov. 30. The company also pays a regular quarterly dividend of 8 cents.

The company expects the bump from political ads to continue in the current quarter. The election is on Nov. 6. Belo predicts that political ad revenue in the fourth quarter will be $29 million to $30 million, pushing its total for the year to between $58 million and $59 million.