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Local Market Spotlight: Knoxville, Tenn.

Apr 9, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Knoxville, Tenn., station managers say the market has been fueled by local car dealership money, though national sales are down.
“Right now it’s the dealerships that are fueling the market as opposed to the dealer group money,” said Stephen Hayes, general sales manager for ABC affiliate WATE-TV. “Local car dealers have been aggressive.”
Station managers are mixed in their views on the market, with some saying the market is down in the high-single percentages and others saying the market is pacing flat to up.
Mr. Hayes said national spots affect 40 percent of the market, and that’s down double digits. He said local spots are flat to up.
According to BIA Financial Network, Knoxville TV revenues were $77.7 million in 2000 and are expected to be $80.1 million in 2001.
Top ad categories are auto, furniture and grocery.
“We’re seeing a lot more radio revenue since I’ve been here,” said Chris Baker, who has been general manager at CBS affiliate WVLT-TV for the past year and a half. “We’re getting a ton of radio money; radio’s never been this aggressive.” He thinks that’s because some local radio stations have changed format and are in their sweeps period.
Local spots are up in March, April and May, while the market was softer in the first two months of the year, Mr. Hayes said.
Mr. Baker said his station is doing better than the market because its ratings have gone up.
“We had an adequate January, and February was terrible,” Mr. Baker said. “We missed our budget by 12 percent and have made up for it, and it looks like we’ll make up our quarter. It comes in a month when we have less than normal prime inventory to sell because of NCAA basketball. NCAA isn’t as big when Tennessee isn’t playing. We still significantly overachieved because of revenue this month and it will bail us out for the quarter.”