The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, left for Americans memories so strong that the mere mention of the date is enough to conjure up a myriad of images. But the residents of Oklahoma City had been speaking in that kind of verbal shorthand since April 19, 1995, when the destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building ended 168 lives and left indelible scars on the city's individual and collective memories.
Today, Oklahoma City—the capital of the state where the wind comes, famously, sweeping down the plain—brands itself as the Capital of The New Century: "progressive, positive and proactive." Efforts to memorialize the events of that April 19 and its many victims have become part of the city's massive downtown overhaul.And, for the local television industry, the city offers strong commercial sales, high levels of homes using television (HUTs)—particularly on Saturday afternoons during college football season and on weekday afternoons when one-time local resident Dr. Phil
is on—and an overperforming revenue market. Though ranked 45 among DMAs overall, Oklahoma City's revenue rank is 40. The market dropped just under 8% from 2000 to 2001, on the low side compared with other local TV markets, and automotive, retail and health care are strong sectors.
KFOR-TV is the oldest among local stations, founded in 1949, but Griffin Communications' KWTV(TV) and Hearst-Argyle's KOCO-TV are also nearing the half-century mark, and Sinclair's KOKH-TV is not far behind.
"Our market is a strong news-consumer market," notes Brent Hensley, general manager of ABC affiliate KOCO-TV. "And weather is a huge reason why people pick a television station."
Luann Stuart, director of creative services for market-leader KFOR-TV, agrees: "This is a huge breaking-news market, especially when the huge tornadoes hit."New York Times-owned KFOR-TV has long led the market with strong local-news product and ratings, although CBS affiliate KWTV(TV) is a contender in news, ratings and revenue.