Hearst-Argyle Pulls Back 3Q Estimates

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Hearst-Argyle Television, whose NBC affiliate WDSU New Orleans was knocked off the air by Hurricane Katrina last week, is taking back its third-quarter revenue estimates.

“The extraordinary impact of Hurricane Katrina will obviously have severe economic consequences in the region, and adversely affect WDSU’s business operations for some time,” Harry T. Hawks, Hearst-Argyle Television Inc. executive VP and CFO, said in a statement.  “The station expects to continue to provide comprehensive news coverage and support for the community, regardless of the expected absence of revenues for weeks or months."

Hearst-Argyle had projected revenue of $163 million to $172 million. The company did not provide a revised revenue estimate.

WDSU suffered damage to its facility and transmitter site and has been operating temporarily out of WAPT in Jackson, Miss, which lost power due to the storm and relied on generator power for several days. Despite the damage, WDSU has found ways to get its news out. It has been broadcasting live news online. In the several days after the storm, the Web site recorded more than 15 million page viewers and two million video streams. Last Thursday, when New Orleans Pax station WPXL got its broadcast capabilities back, WDSU began simulcasting on that station's air.

Hearst says the station was able to get back to its New Orleans facility and is working closely with NBC News in the area.