News Articles

Yankee Pride

5/23/2004 08:00:00 PM Eastern

Local Flavor

Local Flavor

1636 is the year Roger Williams founded the first permanent English settlement in Rhode Island, on land purchased from the Narragansett Indians.

$3B has been spent on new construction to revitalize downtown Providence.

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Local Flavor

Rhode Island may be the smallest state, but Providence has a big rep. The eponymous NBC series portrayed the city in "soft and glowing tones," reports the chamber of commerce. But fantasy pulled out in 2002, and scandal moved in. First came the conviction of longtime Mayor Vincent Cianci on racketeering charges. Then a pyrotechnic stage show at a nightclub went awry, sparking a fire that killed 100 people.

But bad press hasn't derailed its stable citizenry. Ranked No. 48 by Nielsen Media Research, Providence boasts a diverse economy, driven by education, medical tech, and electronics. It was twice named "Best City to Live in the East" by Money.

The market is a challenge for broadcasters, however, since coverage spans two states. One-third of the population lives in Massachusetts. Translation: Their Boston competitors suck away 13 share points. Market ad revenue is cyclical, spiking in election years. "We get political money out of Massachusetts and Rhode Island," says WJAR General Manager Lisa Churchville. BIA Research estimates TV ad revenue will reach $90 million this year, about even with 2000 and 2002.

As the market leader, NBC's WJAR grabs the lion's share. Its evening newscasts draw more viewers than No. 2 WPRI and No. 3 WLNE combined.

Providence-based LIN Television owns WPRI and operates Fox affiliate WNAC under a local marketing agreement. It invests heavily in its news ops and reaps the benefit of the stations' demographic disparity. Notes LIN President and CEO Gary Chapman, "We can sell Mercedes and Buicks on one station, soda and movies on the other."

Saddled with ABC's weak prime time lineup, Freedom Communications-owned WLNE runs a distant third, which may explain the presence of new General Manager Roland Adeszko. The station offers limited local news, although it produces content for Rhode Island News Channel, a joint project with cable operator Cox.

Viacom's WLWC carries programming from both UPN and The WB but no local news. The station is a de facto satellite of Boston's WBZ. As for cable, more than 80% of households subscribe. DirecTV and Dish Network offer local channels via satellite. Providence's other claim to fame is Ivy League Brown University. Says Chapman, "This is a Renaissance city."

The Demos
Rhode Island is a small state with a big taste for expensive real estate. Nearly one-quarter of the homes in this market are valued at more than $250,000.
Who Share of pop. Index*
Source: Scarborough Research 2003 Release 1 Multi-Market (Feb. '02-Mar. '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
18-34 30% 95
18-49 60% 94
25-54 56% 96
35 + 70% 103
Married 53% 96
Never married 27% 105
College grad 22% 96
White 91% 110
Black 5% 41
Hispanic 7% 49
Asian NM% NM
$100K + HH 14% 89
$50K + HH 49% 101
Below $50K HH 51% 99
BY THE NUMBERS **
Home valued above $250k 23% 122
Has cable modem 19% 154
Went in-line skating 6% 122
Attended rock concert 15% 113
Bought window treatments 30% 143
Attended pro sport event 23% 67

Local Flavor

Local Flavor

1636 is the year Roger Williams founded the first permanent English settlement in Rhode Island, on land purchased from the Narragansett Indians.

$3B has been spent on new construction to revitalize downtown Providence.

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