Carolinas on Their MindAirline’s arrival will elevate growing SC-NC market 11/08/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern
Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville plays a bit bigger than one
might expect. The DMA, touching both North and South Carolina,
is No. 36 despite not having a major metropolitan center or state capital. And the market will further
move toward the big time when Southwest
Airlines begins flying in and out of Greenville-
Spartanburg Airport next March.
WYFF President/General Manager Michael J.
Hayes, who is chairman of the Greater Greenville
Chamber of Commerce, calls Southwest’s arrival
a “coming of age” for the market. “It’s the next
piece in our economic development,” he says.
Southwest’s entry will facilitate business travel
in the region and spur job growth. It also helps
diversify Greenville-Spartanburg’s economic
portfolio, which is largely reliant on auto manufacturing,
including a GE engine plant, Michelin’s
headquarters and Clemson University’s
International Center for Automotive Research.
Ratings are primarily a two-car race between
Media General’s CBS outlet, WSPA, and Hearst
TV’s NBC affiliate, WYFF. WYFF won morning
and early evening news in the May sweeps,
while WSPA earned the top total day, primetime
and late news household ratings; its 6.8
rating/12.9 share at 11 p.m. bested WYFF’s
5.8/10.9. WSPA also won the 2009 revenue
race, according to BIA/Kelsey, with slightly more
than $24 million. (WYFF billed $21.5 million.)
Media General owns both WSPA and CW
outlet WYCW. Sinclair has ABC affiliate WLOS
and manages Cunningham’s MyNetworkTV
affiliate, WMYA. Meredith owns Fox affiliate
WHNS. Charter is the main pay-TV operator.
WSPA is making a big local push with the 10
a.m. program Your Carolina and the 7:30 p.m.
lifestyle show Scene on 7. Phil Lane, WSPA VP/
general manager, likens Scene on 7 to a Carolinascentric
Entertainment Tonight. “It allows us to be
very creative on the content side and sales side,”
Lane says. “It’s done well beyond what we expected,
from a ratings and revenue standpoint.”
WHNS has Meredith’s popular Better program,
which gives stations a few local inserts
in each episode. “We like the feel of the show,”
says Guy Hempel, WHNS VP/GM. “We like
the ability to localize it every day.”
WLOS prefers to keep its focus within the
confines of the DMA. “We try to be as local
as we can be,” says GM Jack Connors. “We
reflect the interests and needs of people in our
primary coverage area —we don’t spend a lot
of time on national news.”
WYFF has the market’s lone 4:30 a.m. local
news, and the competition doesn’t seem to
be jumping in any time soon. “The ways people
consume media continue to change,” says
Hayes. “All research points to the fact that people
consume a lot more morning news.”
After a strong primary season, ad spending
for the general election lagged a bit, with the
candidates failing to get the major funding from
their parties. Talk on the streets around northern
South Carolina is about the elections and jobs —
and how the state’s new leaders can spark employment.
“Everything else is a lot further down
on the interest inventory,” says Connors.
Auto spending is strong, and station executives
say just about all ad categories are solid.
“It’s not through the roof, but it’s in the high
single digits,” says Hempel. “We’ll take high
Locals anticipate that Southwest’s arrival
will boost the region’s profile. Says Hayes: “It’s
a transformational deal for the marketplace.”