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ABC, Fox stations challenged

Jul 22, 2002  •  Post A Comment

In Gainesville, Fla., the heat is on. Budd Broadcasting-owned WB affiliate WGFL-TV converted to a CBS affiliate effective July 15. That puts some pressure on the leading station, ABC affiliate WCJB-TV, owned by Diversified Communications.

“To have the additional affiliation in the area will add some spice to the market,” said Bill Evans, director of marketing at Group 5 Advertising in Gainesville. “It will definitely pump up this market, which has been dominated by the local ABC affiliate and the Fox affiliate WOGX.”
WCJB General Sales Manager Alan Chatman is nonchalant about the new competition because for its first couple of years on the air the CBS affiliate will not carry local news, which is WCJB’s bread and butter.
“We are the only news product in the market,” Mr. Chatman said. “We produce five newscasts a day, Monday through Friday, and two on Saturday and Sunday.”
Although WCJB raked in 61 percent of the $17.4 million in 2001 TV advertising revenue for the area, according to BIA Financial Network data, the station is “always looking for ways to enhance revenue,” Mr. Chatman said.
WCJB is heavily involved in cause-related marketing. The station sponsors festivals and charity fund-raising events and produces commercials for them at no charge to the charity.
According to Group 5 Advertising’s Mr. Evans, although the news will still be dominated by the ABC affiliate, the new CBS affiliate is gearing up to put together a news product in the next 18 months. “In the meantime, the big thing in this market by having the CBS affiliation is WGFL will be able to offer accounts [University of Florida] Gators football and they will pick up the Jacksonville Jaguars as well as the NCAA playoffs and March Madness. The sports programming is a big plus in this market. Prime time will change dramatically with all of the programming.”
BIA Financial Network reported that Gainesville TV revenues are expected to be up in 2002 to $18.4 million.