Many voices in Connecticut - Broadcasting & Cable

Many voices in Connecticut

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Mention Hartford, Conn., to most people, and their response is likely to be "insurance." That business, which dates from the 1790s in the city, really began to flourish in the second half of the 19th century. Today, insurance still plays an important role in the market's economy, but other major players include defense and high-tech aerospace manufacturing, biotech and resort casinos operated by Indian tribes.

Hartford-New Haven is an unusual television market. According to Hank Yaggi, general manager of WTNH-TV, "it's a bifurcated market, not just a hyphenated market. There are very specific constituencies for stations. We are the only one in the southern part of the state, and our competitors are all to the northern part of the state. I think we're one of only four markets that get three Nielsen reports a day: We get Metro A (Hartford), Metro B (New Haven) and the combined DMA numbers."

And then there's the out-of-market viewing. Al Bova, general manager of WFSB(TV), explains: "In almost every county in the market—and there are seven—you can watch a station from either New York or Boston or another market. In New Haven and Litchfield counties, they get New York over the air and on cable so there's some fragmentation. In Windham and New London counties, they get Boston and Providence, R.I."

Cable is a major factor in the market. With 88% penetration, it's the third most penetrated in the country behind Honolulu and Palm Springs, Calif. How do the stations deal with all this fragmentation? "You just have to pay more attention to how you cover news," says Tom O'Brien, general manager of WVIT(TV). "You need to ensure that you're constantly balancing the needs of people in various parts of the state. The key is to be relevant, pay attention to your local coverage and get involved in local events."

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