A Two-Station Race
By Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/8/2004 7:00:00 PM
Baltimore is a big news town and has one of the tightest two-station local-news races in the country. WBAL-TV, the Hearst-Argyle NBC affiliate, and CBS O&O WJZ-TV have battled for years for news supremacy.
"It's always either we're No. 1 or they are No. 1," said WBAL-TV General Manager Bill Fine. "It's a fever-pitched battle."
During the November sweeps, WBAL-TV won the early-news battle by the thinnest of margins, scoring a 10 rating/18 share to WJZ-TV's 9/17. WJZ-TV won a photo finish at 11 p.m., finishing with 10/19 to WBAL-TV's 10/18.
Sinclair's WBFF(TV) is one of the few Fox affiliates to compete head-to-head with an 11 p.m. newscast. WNUV(TV), Sinclair's The WB affiliate, carries local news at 6:30 p.m. WJZ-TV recently added a 4 p.m. early news show.
WMAR-TV, the ABC affiliate owned by Scripps Howard, runs a poor third throughout the day. The station continues to suffer repercussions from the loss of its NBC affiliation to WBAL-TV in 1995. Fox owns UPN affiliate WUTB(TV).
Mornings provide another interesting battleground. WJZ-TV is one of the few CBS-owned stations that do not carry the first hour of the network's The Early Show. The station's locally produced Morning Edition features a concoction of local news, weather and talk segments.
From a business standpoint, Baltimore stations appear to have fully recovered from the advertising slump of 2001-03. BIA Financial Network estimates the market's 2003 ad revenue at about $230 million, roughly on par with that of 2000.
"Fourth quarter was very healthy, and first quarter local looks strong," said Bill Fanshawe, general manager of WBFF/WNUV.
The market has no Pax affiliate, no Univision (the market's Hispanic population is only about 2%) affiliate and no true independent station.
Comcast is the major cable operator and manages three-year-old interconnect Comcast MarketLink. At 75%, cable penetration is higher than the national average. Satellite penetration, barely 10%, makes Baltimore one of the least competitive dish markets among major U.S. cities.
|The local self-deprecating term "Baltimorons" does not seem to apply. People here devote more time to adult continuing-education courses and have a higher household income than the national average. They also love their Orioles and Ravens.|
|Who||Share of population||Index*|
|Source: Scarborough Research 2003 Release 1 Multi-Market (Feb. '02-March '03)
*Index is a measurement of consumer likelihood. An index of 100 indicates that the market is on par with the average of the 75 local markets.
**Activities engaged in in past 12 months
|Below $50K HH||45%||86|
|BY THE NUMBERS**|
|Adult continuing education||20%||126|
|Interested in MLB||40%||118|
|Interested in NFL||50%||113|
|Own/lease foreign car||29%||132|
No related content found.
No Top Articles
Digital Rapids provides market-leading software and hardware solutions, technology and expertise for transforming live and on-demand video to reach wider audiences on the latest viewing platforms more efficiently, more effectively and more profitably. Empowering applications from..more