A Healthy Hyphenate
The No. 47 DMA has three hyphens in its name and covers four cities. Spread across central Pennsylvania, the Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York market takes advantage of its geographic proximity to the great population centers of the Northeast: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and New York, and the major highways that converge within its borders.
"It's a manufacturing center and a transportation center," notes John Riggle, general manager at Tribune-owned York-based Fox affiliate WPMT(TV). The manufacturers here range from a leading weight and barbell maker to an infamous motorcycle maker to several well-known snack food producers.
The market has been growing at about a half-percent annually, less than in some other markets and the market rank has dropped among DMAs in recent years.
The area leads Pennsylvania in all economic indicators," said WGAL(TV) general manager Paul Quinn. "It's a relatively healthy market. We're not losing people like some other markets. But there are other markets growing faster."
WGAL, the only VHF station in the market, has been the top dog since its 1949 launch. The Hearst-Argyle station wins in local news and supplies as well numerous locally produced educational, political and entertainment programs.
In television, local executives talk about the market's strength and consistency. "This is a odd television market," says Rob Saylor, general sales manager for Allbritton-owned ABC affiliate WHTM-TV, noting an extraordinary commitment to community. Although TV revenue took a typical mid-teen dip in 2001 from its record-setting previous year, the market, aided by political money from a highly competitive congressional race, bounced back in 2002 and set new records in the process. BIA Financial predicts additional growth for 2003 and a tremendous politics-aided 2004; smashing through the $100 million mark by nearly $5 million.