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Trail Blazers

Portland stations reach into nabes 3/11/2010 05:16:00 AM Eastern

While all eyes were on
Canada’s Vancouver
last month, another Vancouver
was also making
news. A killer remained
at large after a December home invasion,
and 67 dogs from Southern California were
brought north for adoption.

These stories and others come from a dedicated
Vancouver, Wash., microsite—one of
about 30 Portland community sites KATU
produces. After launching hyper-local news
sites in Seattle, Fisher Communications expanded
the program into DMA No. 22.

KATU-KUNP VP/General Manager John
Tamerlano says the initiative, featuring
URLs such as, tallied
650,000 page views in January and included
numerous advertisers that heretofore
had not used television. “We’ve gotten positive
feedback from the community,” he says.
“It’s really exciting to watch this grow.”

With Canada’s Vancouver a few hundred
miles up the coast, the Olympics were a big
hit in Portland. KGW’s Olympics Website
was No. 8 in traffi c among NBC affiliates,
says President/General Manager DJ Wilson.
Portland has long attracted outdoorsy types
who enjoy watching skiing and skating. “It’s
kind of in our DNA here,” Wilson says.

Portland offi cially introduced Local People
Meters in July. Longtime leader KGW
took NBC’s Jay Leno experiment on the
chin; while Wilson
says the station grew
its lead-in 42%,
KGW gave up its 11
p.m. crown in November
for the first
time in years. New
Vision’s CBS affi liate
KOIN won with
a 5.1 household rating/
13.3 share, besting
KGW’s 4.5/11.8.

The races are wide
open. ABC affiliate
KATU took total day ratings in November,
KOIN took primetime, Meredith’s Fox outlet
KPTV won mornings and Belo’s KGW
won early evenings. Other players include
Tribune’s CW outlet KRCW, Fisher’s Univision
affiliate KUNP and Meredith’s MyNetworkTV
affiliate KPDX.

Portland’s employers include Intel, Nike
and Adidas. The market welcomes a new
Major League Soccer club, the Timbers,
in 2011. The Oregonian daily paper laid
off around three dozen reporters recently.
Station managers may have a look at some
former columnists to see how they’d fare
on television.

All are looking for an edge in the ultracompetitive
market. KGW is using its new
Pioneer Courthouse Square studio for the Live
at 7 nightly lifestyle program, while KATU
is strengthening its investigative bench. “We
don’t just do it in sweeps,” Tamerlano says.
“We see it as something we can own.”

Meredith is expanding news in April, extending
Good Day Oregon until 10 a.m. on
KPDX and launching an 11 a.m. program on
KPTV. “We’re still in expansion mode,” says
VP/General Manager Patrick McCreery.

But Wilson says KGW’s strong news
chops will help it reclaim late-news supremacy.
“November is ancient history,” she says.
“Really solid reporting wins the day.”


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