Local TV

Market Eye: Springs to Attention

Wildfire and Aurora tragedy make for busy season in Colorado DMA 11/05/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

What’s Working In Colorado Springs-Pueblo

While most stations air the syndicated staples in access, there are three Colorado Springs local newscasts at 6:30 p.m. KXRM debuted its program around a year and a half ago. KOAA seized the opportunity heading out of the Olympics this past summer. Evan Pappas, KOAA president and general manager, describes the 6:30 newscast as “online meets on-air.” “It’s fast paced and much more contemporary,” he says, than the 5 and 6 p.m. programs.

KKTV’s 6:30 debuted in January 2012. “The idea was to provide news and information where people want it, when they want it and when it’s most convenient for them,” says Nick Matesi, vice president and general manager at KKTV.

KRDO, meanwhile, likes Entertainment Tonight at 6:30. “I don’t think being the last one in is the right move for us,” says Tim Larson, general manager.— MM

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The population is booming in Colorado Springs, and the TV stations there
are expanding to meet the mounting needs of viewers. Outgrowing its Colorado
Springs base, KOAA has secured a new 25,000-square-foot facility,
which will work in step with its sister facility in Pueblo, around 40 miles
away, when it’s completed next year. KKTV is building a 10,000-square-foot
operation that Nick Matesi, vice president and general manager, says will be
“one of the most technologically advanced facilities in the country.”

KRDO is reworking its shop to house master control for
the whole of the growing News-Press & Gazette (NPG)
group. KXRM-KXTU, meanwhile, is adding 7,000 square
feet to accommodate going from 35 staffers a few years
back to around 70. “In the last ‰ ve years, we’ve gone from
someone else producing a half-hour of news for us, to us
producing 5½ hours a day,” says Steve Dant, president
and CEO of the Fox-CW duopoly. “We’ve become very
much a news player in the marketplace.”

While scores of markets feature two or even three
stations within snif‰ ng distance of the lead, Colorado
Springs-Pueblo has four legit news players; all four posted
at least 21% of the market’s revenue in 2011, according
to BIA/Kelsey. All appear to be getting strong backing
from corporate. “Four stations put it out every day,” says
Matesi. “I tell our people they’ve got to be relentlessly
consistent. That’s how you win.”

Colorado Springs-Pueblo, home to the Air Force Academy,
was DMA No. 92 as recently as 2010, and moved up
to No. 89 in the most recent Nielsen rankings. Cordillera
owns NBC af‰ liate KOAA, whose $12 million in 2011 revenue,
according to BIA/Kelsey, beat KXRM’s $10.9 million.
Barrington has KXRM-KXTU (the CW is identi‰fied with
“SOCO CW,” short for Southern Colorado, branding),
and is adding MundoFox as a multicast. Gray Television
holds CBS station KKTV, which has MyNetworkTV on its
dot-two. KRDO’s news is simulcast on a sister NPG radio
station; the station has a reporter at the Pueblo Chieftain
newspaper to cover that side of the market.

Entravision’s KVSN is the market’s Univision af‰filiate,
while KRDO airs Telemundo on its dot-two, with news
updates on the hour. Comcast is the main subscription
TV operator.

The local economy is stop-and-start, with unemployment
higher than the national average. But Colorado is
every bit a swing state. The presidential hopefuls not only
have spent richly— KRDO general manager Tim Larson
says the Obama camp spent a million dollars on KRDO
alone, a few weeks before Election Day—but are familiar
faces around the state. “There’s somebody in Colorado
just about every day,” says Evan Pappas, KOAA president/
general manager.

It was a frightfully eventful summer for news. The Waldo
Canyon wild‰ re blazed in late June and well into July.
The stations stayed on for as much as 130 hours straight,
with numerous staffers evacuated from their homes. Two
weeks later, the mass shooting occurred at the Aurora
movie theater around 70 miles north of Colorado Springs.
“I’ve been at this 30 years, and I’ve never seen a summer
like that,” says KRDO’s Larson.

The disaster was a huge learning experience for the local
newsrooms, both in terms of covering a giant story in
the traditional manner, and using social media and newer
technologies to get the word out. Matesi, who had a run as
KKTV news director years ago, calls it a “de‰fining moment”
for the station and the market. “I’m absolutely convinced we
saved lives,” says Matesi, who was named one of B&C’s 2012
Digital All-Stars for his team’s efforts. “A number of people
came up to us and said, ‘Thank God for your text alerts.’”

As competitive as the market is, station execs say the local
TV players worked side by side to provide timely and
accurate information to viewers during both crises. The
stations also joined forces to help organize and execute
the Waldo Canyon Wild‰ re Relief Fund, a concert and
telethon that the local anchors emceed. “All the media
came together,” says Pappas. “It wasn’t about who was
winning—it was about helping the community.”

Colorado Springs-Pueblo is a diary market. KOAA
owns the market leader mantle these days, despite a
fourth-place ‰ nish in prime in the May sweeps. It won
total-day household ratings, and morning, early evening
and late news in May—the latter with a 7.7 household
rating/21 share, ahead of KKTV’s 6.5/17. KKTV won
prime. Pappas seeks to put some space between KOAA
and the pack. “We’re trying to be more of a dominant
station than just a No. 1 station,” he says.

With an “Accurate, Fast and Fair” tagline, KOAA
thrives on strong journalism, says Pappas, and not fanciful
marketing campaigns. State-of-the art facilities on both
sides of the market will help too. “It’s pretty exciting,” says
Pappas. “It’s our way of saying, we’re here to stay.”

E-mail comments to mmalone@nbmedia.com
and follow him on Twitter: @bcmikemalone

What’s Working In Colorado Springs-Pueblo

While most stations air the syndicated staples in access, there are three Colorado Springs local newscasts at 6:30 p.m. KXRM debuted its program around a year and a half ago. KOAA seized the opportunity heading out of the Olympics this past summer. Evan Pappas, KOAA president and general manager, describes the 6:30 newscast as “online meets on-air.” “It’s fast paced and much more contemporary,” he says, than the 5 and 6 p.m. programs.

KKTV’s 6:30 debuted in January 2012. “The idea was to provide news and information where people want it, when they want it and when it’s most convenient for them,” says Nick Matesi, vice president and general manager at KKTV.

KRDO, meanwhile, likes Entertainment Tonight at 6:30. “I don’t think being the last one in is the right move for us,” says Tim Larson, general manager.— MM

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