Market Eye: Return of the Kings - Broadcasting & Cable

Market Eye: Return of the Kings

Sacramento gets behind its revitalized NBA franchise and downtown development plans
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After previous downers, including what looked like the imminent departure of the market’s NBA franchise, things are looking brighter in Sacramento, Calif. The Kings are staying put, with a different owner and a new arena in the works. That, along with stabilizing of the housing market, has residents of the capital region optimistic. “[The sports and entertainment complex] will help revitalize the downtown area and hopefully spur development,” says Elliott Troshinsky, KCRA-KQRA president/general manager. “Sacramento has made some headway in terms of its economy.”

Top owners give local stations major-league resources to compete. CBS owns KOVR and CW affiliate KMAX. Hearst Television owns the NBC-MyNetworkTV duo, KCRA-KQCA. Tribune holds Fox affiliate KTXL, while Gannett airs ABC on KXTV. Univision has KUVS and KTFK; Comcast is the major subscription TV operator. More than 27% of residents in the Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto market claim Hispanic origin, reports BIA/Kelsey.

KCRA is a powerhouse in DMA No. 20, winning the key news races in the November sweeps. KOVR won primetime and posted a 4.4 household rating/10 share at 10 p.m., while KCRA took the 11 p.m. race with a 4/11, ahead of KXTV’s 2.6/7.

KCRA thrives on tireless community service, a news helicopter and a robust multiplatform strategy. The station’s alarm clock mobile app, featuring anchors greeting sleepy users with weather and headlines, has 5,000 downloads since debuting in September. “We have a great team of people who are committed to producing the absolute best news they can,” says Troshinsky. “Not only on-air, but online and mobile too.”

KXTV also has a chopper, an additional eight hours of news per week in the past two years and a content share with news radio station KFBK. “We’re very proud of that— it’s been very effective,” says Maria Barrs, KXTV president and general manager.

KOVR starts primetime at 7, while the rest of the stations go at 8, which gives the CBS station an hour of news at 10. “That allows us to get longer content into late news,” says Kevin Walsh, VP/GM of KOVR and KMAX.

Over on Fox, KTXL kicked off a 5 p.m. news on Nov. 4, moving TMZ to 6:30. Ed Chapuis came on as news director in August, shifting from KTVU Oakland. Jerry Del Core, KTXL VP/general manager, notes Chapuis has a track record in a top 10 market, and Sacramento experience too, having worked at KCRA. “He knows the market well,” Del Core says.

Fresh faces on its monster 5½ hour morning show are paying off for KMAX, which is seeing growth at 6-7 a.m., says Walsh, chipping away at KCRA’s morning eminence. “Early a.m. has flattened out a bit, to our benefit,” he says.

KUVS’ local output includes 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts, and the station is dedicated to its community programs including Feria de Educacion es el Momento, a seminar focused on “education and financial literacy.” “KUVS Univision 19 is committed to keeping this community informed, entertained and empowered,” says Steve Stuck, VP/GM.

The general managers cite a favorable cost of living, pro-business climate and proximity to wine country, mountains and the Bay Area as key local attributes. “I feel like a lot of things are coming together to put Sacramento on the map,” says Barrs, “in an entirely different way.”

KCRA EQUIPMENT: TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE

KCRA is planning on a medal-worthy performance in February’s Winter Olympics. The NBC affiliate airs its own half-hour program, The Olympic Zone, nightly during the Games. Shooting from Squaw Valley, the program is “predominantly produced” by KCRA, says Elliott Troshinsky, president and GM, and predates the network’s “O-Zone” program.

“We did the same thing during the Summer Olympics, and it was incredibly well-received,” says Troshinsky. “It’s a great opportunity to localize the Olympics,” he says.

KCRA will send anchor Deirdre Fitzpatrick to Sochi, Russia for the Winter Games. Fitzpatrick recently featured photos on her blog, showing the KCRA gear—lights, cameras, blankets—being packed up and shipped to Sochi. “Destination: Russia,” went one caption as a truck was loaded with gear. “We hope.”

After previous downers, including what looked like the imminent departure of the market’s NBA franchise, things are looking brighter in Sacramento, Calif. The Kings are staying put, with a different owner and a new arena in the works. That, along with stabilizing of the housing market, has residents of the capital region optimistic. “[The sports and entertainment complex] will help revitalize the downtown area and hopefully spur development,” says Elliott Troshinsky, KCRA-KQRA president/general manager. “Sacramento has made some headway in terms of its economy.”

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