Dayton, Ohio, was not the location of the first manned flight, but it was the hometown of the Wright Brothers. So this year's centennial of that event, which actually took place at Kill Devil Hills, N.C., will celebrate the inventors' spirit with a balloon race from Ohio to North Carolina, and the market's leading station, WHIO-TV, will be an official sponsor.
Dayton is the birthplace of the Cox media empire, and, although the corporate phones ring in Atlanta now, Cox still owns the market's dominant newspaper, the Dayton Daily News, and a few radio stations there as well as WHIO-TV.
The economy is based largely on autos and auto parts, with General Motors maintaining a large presence. Also leading in local employment is the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Automotive, naturally, is also the largest advertising category in the early-rising market.
"This is the city of invention," says WHIO-TV General Manager Harry Delaney. "I think we're very fortunate for a market this size."
Nielsen, which upgraded the market this year from DMA No. 60 to 58, brought in meters in late 2001. They had a strong positive effect for Acme Television's WB station WBDT(TV) and a negative one for LIN's ABC affiliate WDTN(TV).
That seemed a low point for the market's No. 2 station. General Manager Greg Bendin, who arrived after the meters did, had to fill numerous key openings at the station when he got there. With a new news look and a new brand expected shortly to replace and broaden the message of the current "Your Weather Authority," he is looking forward to improved results: "We have a challenge ahead of us, but there's a bit of a new attitude here."
Dayton and WDTN was the station where Phil Donahue began his pioneering daytime talk career, and Acme Television is hoping for lightning to strike twice with The Buzz, a WB-affiliate morning show originating from WBDT.
The market's third- and fourth-ranked stations make up Sinclair's local duopoly, NBC affiliate WKEF(TV) and Fox affiliate WRGT-TV.