NEW YORK -- First-quarter earnings at Capital Cities/ABC rose 64.7 percent, to $116.1 million, or $7.56 a share, from $70.5 million, or $4.29, before a special year-ago charge for early debt repayments.

The special charge cut net income in last year's quarter by $12.1 million, to $58.4 million, or $3.55 a share. Average shares outstanding in 1994 fell to 15.3 million from 16.4 million, reflecting a stock repurchase program.

Revenues rose 19.2 percent, to $1.4 billion from $1.2 billion.

Thomas S. Murphy, chairman and chief executive officer, said the per-share earnings were a record, but noted that this year's quarter had six more days than the year-ago period and that the Academy Awards -- broadcast by ABC -- came in the first quarter this year against the second quarter of 1993. These quarter-to-quarter differences added about $1 a share to first-quarter net earnings, he said.This year's quarter ended April 3, while the 1993 period ended March 28.

Along with the ABC Television Network, Capital Cities/ABC operatesTV and radio stations and provides programming for cable. Its publishing operations include daily newspapers and specialized publications, including Fairchild Publications.

Operating income in broadcasting gained 54.5 percent, to $197.3 million from $127.7 million. Publishing income rose 21 percent, to $27.7 million from $22.9 million. Broadcasting revenues gained 20.9 percent, to $1.1 billion from $947 million. Publishing revenues rose 12.4 percent, to $260 million from $231.4 million.

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