(AP) Media owner Belo Corp. said Wednesday it would cut 160 jobs this month and freeze wages for one year to bring expenses in line with a slump in advertising revenue.
Belo said it would also freeze all capital spending and all discretionary expenses through next year and would not increase its cash dividend until at least 2003.
Belo, which owns four newspapers including The Dallas Morning News and 18 television stations, has cut its work force about 8% since the beginning of the year. It said it would hold employment steady through next year.
Dallas-based Belo has more than 8,000 employees.
The company said it would ask employees with contracts that include raises to voluntarily accept a wage freeze. It also said that pay for its five-member management committee would be reduced by 5% and won’t be changed until at least 2003.
In a letter to employees, Belo chairman, president and chief executive Robert W. Decherd said the company’s businesses appear to be returning to pre-Sept. 11 levels but that advertising revenue has retreated to 1999 levels, forcing the layoffs and other cost-cutting moves.
In a separate letter to shareholders, Decherd said, “further cuts will be made carefully as needed.”
In the second quarter, Belo lost $315,000 as revenue fell 12% from a year earlier. It warned that it would miss third-quarter earnings targets because of weakening advertising revenue.
Belo’s other newspapers are The Providence (R.I.) Journal, The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., the Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle. It also owns six cable-TV news channels.
In trading Wednesday before the layoff announcement, Belo shares were unchanged at $16.50.