Slow and Steady
By Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/11/2004 8:00:00 PM
At first glance, the Kansas City, Mo., market seems to be out of whack. An ABC affiliate is tops in news and household ratings. A Fox station comes close to being the top revenue producer, and the NBC station is mired in fourth place.
Fox-owned WDAF was a strong NBC affiliate for years. It was part of the first wave of affiliate swaps in 1994. Nowadays, its morning news program leads the market by a wide margin, and its prime time lineup beats NBC's. BIA estimates its 2003 revenue at $38.6 million, just behind Hearst-Argyle's ABC powerhouse KMBC's $39.1 million.
KMBC takes the ratings crown in both early and late news. Its 5 and 6 p.m. programs enjoy solid lead-ins from Dr. Phil and The Oprah Winfrey Show, but the station wins at 10 p.m. despite tepid ABC leads. KMBC also operates UPN affiliate KCWE under a local marketing agreement.
"We don't use ABC's weakness as an excuse," says General Manager Wayne Godsey. Instead, KMBC counts on consistency. Anchor Larry Moore has been a familiar face here since 1972. The station promotes its news aggressively, running promos for special reports as much as a week in advance.
Meredith-owned CBS affiliate KCTV has been a reliable runner-up at 10 p.m. Scripps Howard NBC station KSHB, saddled with a weak UHF signal, has run third for a decade. Neither Sinclair WB station KSMO nor Paxson's KPXE carries local-news programming.
The No. 31 TV market does have slow and steady economic growth.
The chamber of commerce projects 4.5% overall growth this year, in line with the national average. Though diversified, the economy is somewhat dependent on manufacturing. A large Ford Motor Co. assembly plant employs about 6,000.
On the cable front, dominant operator Time Warner inserts ads on about 40 networks and manages an interconnect in a joint arrangement with Comcast. Time Warner's local channel, Metro Sports, produces all of KCTV's sports programming. Cable penetration declined slightly over the past six months, standing at just under 65% in May. Dish Network and DirecTV carry local stations via satellite. About 19% of Kansas City households subscribe to satellite service.
Godsey says first-quarter ad sales were up strongly over 2003. Kansas City stations are also grabbing political spots aimed at both Missouri and Kansas, a boon, he says, for local coffers. "The market is really healthy."
|Kansas City represents Middle America, both geographically anddemographically. Its denizens prefer football to baseball and enjoy hunting and bowling. "They got some crazy little women there," the old song goes, but most of them are married.|
|Who||Share of pop.||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.
NM = Not large enough to be measured
**Activities engaged in past 12 months
|Below $50K HH||52%||102|
|BY THE NUMBERS**|
|Played games online||25%||124|
|Owns domestic-model car||62%||129|
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