Local Market Spotlight: Springfield, Mo.

Jun 25, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Even though first-quarter ad sales were soft, Springfield, Mo., is now pacing between 1 percent and 5 percent ahead of last year.
“Second quarter has come on strong. In fact, our national has been strong all year,” said Mike Scott, general manager at NBC affiliate KYTV, a Schurz Communications-owned station. “We’re a growth market.”
According to BIA Financial Network, Springfield TV revenues were $45.5 million in 2000 and are expected to be $46.9 million in 2001. Top ad categories are auto, fast food and telecommunications. Tourism is also a big category because music mecca Branson is in the market.
Michael Spiesman, president of Continental Television Sales, said Springfield is bucking general trends. While auto is down by 10 percent in this market, it is being bailed out by fast food, retail and telecommunications, which are all going up.
“They have just the right mix of retail operations coupled with the right cellular phone companies trying to grow market share,” Mr. Spiesman said. “It’s offsetting a negative impact of a down auto-which is pretty good.”
Mr. Scott said KYTV is the top station in the country for its ratings in the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. news categories and No. 4 in the country for 10 p.m. news ratings. He said, for example, KYTV gets an average 22 Nielsen Media Research rating and 39 share for its 6 p.m. newscast. “It’s unheard of,” Mr. Scott said. “That’s the highest-rated news in the country in research done by national rep firm HRP. That was based on the February book.”
KYTV has one salesperson dedicated to selling its Web site. Mr. Scott said it is the only station in the market to have its own Doppler radar, which is a popular sponsorship on the site. “Everything we have on our Web site is sold,” Mr. Scott said. “We don’t have our added value, and it’s made its budget for last year.”
Mark Hotchkiss, the general sales manager at ABC affiliate KSPR-TV, which is owned by Gocom Communications, said he thinks the market has a pretty healthy economy because of the medical industry. “There’s four hospitals right here, and there’s also four universities, plus we have the influx of folks coming through to get to Branson,” he said.
“We’re very much focused not so much on our TV competitors but with the radio stations and newspapers and other forms of media,” Mr. Hotchkiss said.
One popular sponsorship on KSPR since April is the “Third Degree Guarantee,” which involves the station’s meteorologist, Tim Drum. If he is more than 3 degrees off with a predicted temperature, KSPR gives cash to a viewer who calls in. It starts out with $33 and adds another $33 each day he misses.
“This guy’s been incredibly precise, and the first jackpot we gave away was for $795,” Mr. Hotchkiss said. “It’s a wonderful win-win for both the viewer as well as the client and station.” Starting July 1, Hardee’s restaurants will be an exclusive sponsor.
According to BIA Financial Network, Springfield has 46 percent cable penetration. Gary Banner, general manager of AT&T Media Services, said it offers up to 31 networks for insertions. Advertisers can buy three different regions. Top cable ad categories are auto and furniture.