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Success Stories: Fresno, Calif. – Advertisers respond to all things new

May 13, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Sports, infomercials and community events are some of the vehicles advertisers are migrating toward in the Fresno market.
At Fox affiliate KMPH-TV, which runs WB affiliate KFRE-TV through a local marketing agreement, local collegiate athletics programming has been a hot sell. KFRE airs Fresno State football and basketball.
“We’ve found that of late there’s been a very strong appetite for local sports participation from advertisers,” said KMPH General Manager Charlie Pfaff. “They like the community orientation. The other thing that we’ve been very successful in over the last year is we’re approaching more and more auto dealers, both new and used, with the idea of infomercials. They seem to be taking off.”
Mr. Pfaff said more auto dealers are doing half-hour infomercials on both stations in overnight, weekend and morning slots.
Jeralynn Stout, general sales manager at CBS affiliate KGPE-TV, said the station’s health fair in April, which attracted 10,000 people, was a popular venue for advertisers. Among the participants were between 60 and 70 different vendors related to health, fitness and nutrition. The event offered screenings and tests for hearing, vision, blood pressure, glucose and immunizations for children.
KGPE also has a “Gold Star Leaders” campaign, sponsored by local advertisers, that highlights kids in different communities. The station produces 30-second vignettes on children who volunteer at various nonprofit organizations. Viewers submit the names of children to spotlight, and each month the station chooses a winner. The winners earn donations to the organizations they work for. Ms. Stout said the vignettes are always sold out.
“I think it’s successful because it’s a way to recognize the outstanding children in our [designated market area], and it’s something different for a business to get involved with, not just pushing their product but highlighting our future community leaders,” she said. Judy Soper, media supervisor at ad agency Thielen and Associates, said anything unique or different is capturing advertisers.
“Everybody’s trying to get into the nontraditional aspect,” Ms. Soper said. “TV stations are becoming more and more promotionally oriented for the advertisers.” The market as a whole has been pacing ahead of last year for the second quarter, Ms. Stout said. “The thing about Fresno is it’s pretty much an isolated market because you’re right between big cities,” she said. “The car business here has been fantastic. My car dealers are telling me they’ve got the best year ever. As far as I know, the whole market is in pretty much of a sellout situation for radio and TV; it’s not completely sold out but it’s tight.”
Top ad categories include auto, retail and restaurants. According to BIA Financial Network, Fresno TV revenues were $85 million in 2001 and are expected to be $90.1 million in 2002.