Senatorial race heats up market

Aug 19, 2002  •  Post A Comment

The PGA Championship and an intense senatorial race are two reasons ad reps in Minneapolis-St. Paul have been extremely busy recently.
“Several Minnesota elections have swung on the youth vote,” said Art Lanham, general manager at KMWB-TV, the Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned WB affiliate. “With us being an 18 to 34 station, a lot of politicians are focusing on that. And we’ve worked a lot on getting to know the campaign organizations better.”
Mr. Lanham and his management team handle all the political sales, rather than handing it off to sales reps. They meet with campaign managers in Washington as well as locally.
“What we’re doing is new to us but not all that new to others,” Mr. Lanham said. “We have presentations on PowerPoint, and we use news articles that indicate how important this age group is. Even the local media said this age group helped swing the election of Jesse Ventura.”
Although WCCO-TV, the Viacom-owned CBS affiliate, has seen a large share of political ads, the market is not all said General Manager Rene LaSpina. Her station has been branded the “local home of the 2002 PGA Championship,” because the golf tournament takes place Aug. 17 to 18 in the Twin Cities and will air on CBS.
“This isn’t just sports,” Ms. LaSpina said. “We are field anchoring the entire news show from there.” This includes the morning show, the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. news as well as the 10 p.m. news. “Following the 6 o’clock and the 10 o’clock news, we also will have live specials,” she said. “Advertisers have a chance for sponsorships during the specials and some spots in the PGA itself.”
Also shaking up the market is an affiliation switch to occur Sept. 8, when UPN affiliate KMSP-TV and Fox affiliate WFTC-TV, stations in a duopoly owned by Fox TV Stations, will trade places. The Fox affiliate will move up the dial as the newly branded KMSP Fox 9.
“This switch helps advertisers because it better aligns the programming on the two stations and makes it easier for advertisers to target the demographic they are looking for,” said General Manager Carol Rueppel.