More than the Grand Ole Opry
By Susanne Ault -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/9/2001 8:00:00 PM
It's the home of country music, but there's a lot more to Nashville, Tenn.
"People think that's the whole thing, but it's really not," insists Frank DeTillio, general manager at NBC affiliate WSMV-TV. "It's a very, very vibrant market."
He cites the variety of local programming options. Beyond activities at the city's Grand Ole Opry, stations are covering the NFL's Tennessee Titans and former vice president/presidential candidate/Tennessee senator Al Gore.
Also, the stations are following two hotly contested pieces of state legislation, which, if passed next year, would institute a state lottery and a sales tax.
"Nashville is bursting at the seams," DeTillio adds, noting that all the activity will eventually "heal" the currently slumped local-advertising market and "move us forward."
With national-ad buys off as well, "our revenue has certainly gone down," he admits, but he is generally happy with his station's business, claiming that WSMV-TV still maintains the largest market share by revenue of any station in the top 35 markets.
Mike Sechrist, general manager at ABC affiliate WKRN-TV, shares the optimism and credits the Titans with helping make his station competitive. His locally produced pregame show Monday Night Live With Jeff Fisher attracts viewers and advertisers alike.
"Three years ago, we were grabbing people off the street and putting them in the audience," says Sechrist. "But now, we're attracting 1,000 to 1,500 people, having security at the door to hand out tickets," which has meant the station has nearly sold out local ad inventory on the show for this season.
Also, as the team's official station, WKRN-TV nabbed the Titans' two preseason games and, thanks to the team's rising profile, several Monday Night Football shows.
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