While some station managers say the Syracuse, N.Y., market seems to be pacing double digits below last year in national sales, it is up 3 percent in local sales.
But managers think the soft climate is temporary.
“Locally, I would say it’s a very good, healthy market,” said Theresa Underwood, general manager at ABC affiliate WIXT-TV. “One of the unique things about the Syracuse market is we’re a little bit insulated. When the Northeast was going gangbusters with dot-coms, we didn’t feel it as much. The flip side to that is when Wall Street does what it is currently doing and the dot-coms start disappearing, we also don’t feel those valleys.”
According to BIA Financial Network, Syracuse TV revenues were $63.7 million in 2000 and are expected to be about $65.6 million in 2001.
Top ad categories are auto, furniture, fast food and grocery.
Ms. Underwood said the local economy is stable. Stickley, a high-end furniture company, is based in the market and is taking over part of a vacant mall to use as a showroom. Syracuse University, engineering firm Martin Marietta and Carrier-which makes heating and air-conditioning equipment-are other large employers that anchor the market’s economy.
She added that local government has given the green light to expand the Carousel Center, the largest mall in the region. That is expected to bring in 1,000 more jobs.
“Their goal is to have it comparable if not larger than the Mall of America,” Ms. Underwood said.
Gary Wordlaw, general manager at CBS affiliate WTVH-TV, said his station’s sales staff has been looking to bring in new businesses to make up for the soft national ad climate.
The sales staff has been selling for the WTVH Web site for three years. That Web site recently won the Radio-Television News Directors Association Edward R. Murrow Award for best Web site in its region.
“The salespeople are looking at every possible thing they can, developing new direct business [and] going back and making sure relationships are strong with your existing client pool,” Mr. Wordlaw said.
While WTVH’s newscasts are always popular with advertisers, the station is also getting momentum for its first-ever fishing derby this summer, with Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and New York Gov. George Pataki making guest appearances.