Kids and weather a winner for WRTV

Mar 11, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Weather sponsorships and community-oriented ad campaigns have taken off in recent months in the Indianapolis market.
At ABC affiliate WRTV, General Sales Manager Paul Rennie said “Kevin’s Weather Kids” is a popular campaign sponsored by local supermarket Marsh. The program lets children help the station’s weatherman, Kevin Gregory, prepare the weather newscast. A child is introduced at the beginning of the weather segment, and with Mr. Gregory they give the weather report. “It’s a neat opportunity for a child to be chosen and to be on air,” Mr. Rennie said.
Richard Pegram, general manager at NBC affiliate WTHR-TV, said advertisers are open to being associated with community-involvement projects. “In Indianapolis, being community-minded and community-spirited is good business,” he said. “It’s just a giving community.”
The local United Christmas Service, a United Way Agency, makes a major push to help the needy during the holiday season. “We are sponsors, and we offer our advertisers an opportunity to share in bringing that message to the community,” Mr. Pegram said. “It’s proven to be very successful.” One sponsor was City Securities, a local investment and banking service that did a spot with its CEO urging people to give money, Mr. Pegram said. WTHR’s campaign raised six figures in revenue for the station as well as raised money for the charity.
WTHR also has “Read Indiana Read,” a program that airs each January designed to encourage kids and families to read. The station signs off the air for two hours on a Saturday and runs a crawl urging families to spend time together to read or go to the library. It also lists various literary events around town.
At rival CBS affiliate WISH-TV, General Manager Scott Blumenthal said mixed-media partnerships, including video billboards for weather segments, are popular. WISH also produces a 24-hour weather channel on cable in the market. WISH offers advertisers packages to sponsor the cable channel, video billboards and Internet advertising, including ads on E-News notifiers that tell viewers when severe weather is about to hit.
“They are popular, because weather is a No.1 consumer interest. So it’s a direct reach to the consumers in the market,” Mr. Blumenthal said.
Bill Perkins, of Perkins Nichols Media, a media buying agency in the market, said business has picked up and some parts of first quarter are almost sold out. He said news continues to sell well in the market, as does the access time period. Top ad categories are auto, foreign auto, fast food, movies and supermarkets. According to BIA Financial Network, Indianapolis TV revenues were about $211 million in 2001 and are expected to be about $219.4 million in 2002.