TV in the shadow of Pikes Peak


The cities of Colorado Springs and Pueblo are an interesting mix. While historically rooted in the mining industry, the resort aspect of the area was developed early on. Now a major high-tech manufacturing center, there's also a large military presence with Peterson Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base, Falcon Air Force Base, Fort Carson and the Air Force Academy. And Colorado Springs is home to the U.S. Olympic Committee and its training center while Pueblo houses several federal offices, including the Consumer Information Center.

"Colorado Springs," says David Whitaker, GM of KOAA-TV, "has been one of the more dynamically growing markets in the country in the last 10 years. That's been fueled by growth in information technology, computer sciences and electronics. In just about every business ranking that measures desirable places to live or do business in, Colorado Springs ranks right up there in the top 10."

The television market has felt the effects of the overall economy, with a drop in national business. But, Whitaker continues, "I think we're faring better than the average market and certainly better than larger markets." To boost local sales, KOAA-TV revamped its definition of local accounts. Tom Wright, the station's general sales manager, explains: "Typically, many stations have local AEs handling accounts outside the DMA for historical reasons. What we did was take those accounts from the local salespeople and either gave them back to the rep if they were outside the regional area or we have our regional sales manager handle them. Now our local salespeople have more time to develop new business and as a result those accounts that we handle locally as a station within the DMA are up over 20% from last year.

Morning news is a growing area. Rhonda Maehara, exec VP of Graham Advertising says: "The stations all did a really good job promoting their morning news several years ago. Viewers know the names of the morning anchors."