NEW YORK -- Fueled by sharply improved broadcast operations, Capital Cities/ABC Inc., parent of Fairchild Publications, reported fourth-quarter earnings rose 21 percent.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Capital Cities earned $166.7 million, or $10.35 a share, against $137.9 million, or $8.38. Revenues were up 7 percent to $1.8 billion from $1.6 billion. Broadcasting revenues were up 9 percent and publishing revenues, after adjusting for acquisitions, dispositions and startups, were ahead 4 percent.

Operating earnings were up 27 percent to $302.5 million. Daniel B. Burke, president and chief executive officer, said operating earnings improved "significantly" at the ABC Television Network, ESPN, and the company's radio and TV stations. Publishing earnings were up 1 percent, after excluding acquisitions, startups and dispositions.

Before adjustments, operating earnings of the publishing division were down 10.2 percent in the quarter to $36 million from $40.2 million and 7.9 percent to $125.6 million from $136.4 million in the full year.

Overall results for the full year show earnings before special items, were up 20 percent to $467.4 million, or $28.53 a share, from $389.3 million, or $23.45. After a charge of 74 cents a share for early redemption of debt, earnings per share for the year were $27.79. In 1992, accounting changes reduced per-share earnings by $8.63 to $14.82.

Revenues for the year were up 6 percent to $5.7 billion from $5.3 billion. Publishing revenues were up 3 percent, after adjustments, primarily from increases at newspapers and most of the specialized publications.

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