I suppose we could stretch from here to Singapore and come up with two ways to look at CBS's (NYSE: CBS) latest earnings. On the one hand, the company's net income slid almost 15% from the year-ago quarter. On the other, it beat the dart throwers' expectations. Oh, let's be honest. Only the first consideration really matters.

For the quarter, the company -- a still relatively recent spin-off from Viacom (NYSE: VIA) -- earned $286.2 million, or $0.42 per share, down from $335.0, or $0.43 per share, in the December 2006 quarter. If you eliminate a host of one-time items, earnings were $366.7 million, or $0.54, vs. $410.6 million, or $0.53 a share. Apparently, the analysts who follow the company had set their sights a couple of pennies lower than the adjusted results.

When we think of CBS, many of us conjure up an image of the company's eye logo staring at us from our TV sets. Unfortunately, television operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) was off 6% in the quarter, based largely on station sales and a reduction in political advertising. And for essentially the same reasons, the contribution to earnings from the radio segment slid 21% in the most recent quarter.

The Simon & Schuster book publishing division saw its OIBDA fall by 24%, while outdoor advertising bucked the trend with a 19% improvement, on just 7% revenue growth. But even that last number is somewhat illusory. Much of the increase was the product of activities in Europe and Asia, and without related currency gains, outdoor revenue would only have inched up about 2%.

So CBS' results were far less impressive than, for instance, a similarly configured Clear Channel (NYSE: CCU), which, while trying to sell itself to a pair of private equity firms, managed to raise its net income 52% in the quarter. But like the San Antonio-based radio giant and a bevy of other media companies, including even Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) and News Corp. (NYSE: NWS), CBS' shares have tumbled of late, losing over 30% from their mid-summer high.

The difficulty here, it seems to me, is that so much of CBS' revenue comes from advertising -- an especially dicey thing when the economy is soft and ad revenue is moving to newer media. And while there have been suggestions that CBS go on a buying binge to flesh out its revenue generation, such an effort clearly would take time and be devoid of guaranteed success.

On that basis alone, I'd suggest that Fools take a pass on this venerable old company. You have better things to do with your time and money.

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He does point out that CBS is the network to hunt down for SEC football games, when -- blessedly -- that time of year returns. He also solicits your comments. The Fool has a disclosure policy.