"The Chicago-based Boeing Co. Get used to it, Seattle." So began the story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
in April 2001, when the aerospace giant said it would move corporate headquarters—though not its manufacturing segment—from Seattle to the Windy City. Although only 500 or so jobs headed east, in the post-9/11 economy, Boeing will have laid about half of its 65,000 area workers by year-end.
The dotcom collapse also shook Seattle, home of Microsoft and, once, hundreds of start-ups. "This was a very, very hot market," says KOMO GM Dick Warsinske, but his station, the ABC affiliate, has seen an overall reduction in ad spending.
Likewise, says Jay Cascio, KING-TV/KONG-TV VP, programming and creative services. "Whatever recovery is happening around America probably will get to Seattle later."
The good news is that television in the nation's No. 12 market is a little more local than most places. For example, KING's nightly locally produced Evening feature/news show, now in its 15th year, wins its time period, beating Entertainment Tonight, Wheel of Fortune, Inside Edition and reruns of Seinfeld
Likewise KOMO's home-grown Northwest Afternoon
at 3 p.m. wins its time period.
"Seattle is a highly educated market," says Warsinske. "Smart shows do better faster here than nationwide. The Practice
was a hit here long before it was a hit nationwide." Notes Cascio, "A lot of the promotional tricks or 'flavors' of newscasts that work in other markets won't work here." His KING is the dominant news leader: Its 11 p.m. newscast has won 22 consecutive major sweeps; its 6 a.m. newscast hasn't lost a ratings book since November 1989. KOMO and Cox-owned KIRO-TV slug it out for second best in news. In total day, though, the Big Three affiliates are closer. "Usually, markets have a strong station, one that's middle of the road, and a dog," says Warsinske. "It's much closer here."