Station, newspaper team up to help schools

Oct 21, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Nexstar Broadcasting Group’s CBS affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., has joined with USA Today to educate schoolkids. WROC-TV and sponsor Bryant & Stratton College launched the “Experience Today” project to put more than 300,000 copies of the daily newspaper, along with correlating lesson plans, into about 75 classrooms.
“Teachers are able to expand their curriculum and do it with USA Today as a textbook,” said Tim Busch, the station’s senior VP and regional manager. “Bryant Stratton and us launched it under the auspice of educating our students and community. It expands the brand of WROC in the schools, USA Today with families when the kids come home and talk about the news of the day, and it makes an impact on literacy.”
WHEC-TV, the Hubbard Broadcasting-owned NBC affiliate, has put cause-related marketing at the forefront. “We partner with causes and cultural institutions in town that have a need for exposure,” said VP and General Manager Arnold Klinsky. The station has gotten sponsors on board for Habitat for Humanity and exhibits at the local science and art museums, such as the upcoming Degas exhibit.
“We’ve gotten so good at this,” Mr. Klinsky said, “that the sponsors contact us and say `Can you do for us what you did for them?”’ For some projects, the station doesn’t even need to make a sales call. For one project with the Better Business Bureau, the station simply sent out a joint letter with the BBB and got multiple advertisers on board.
WBGT-TV, a 31/2-year-old Standfast Broadcasting Corp.-owned UPN affiliate, has to put a little more legwork into its projects. “We have a different spin on advertising than a lot of stations in Rochester because we’re very young,” said Molly Grant, co-owner and general sales manager.
WBGT, a mom-and-pop station with a mere eight employees, mostly seeks the ad business of other mom-and-pop shops. “We start them out with packages that range from $200 to $350,” Ms. Grant said. “They get a free commercial built from stills. Our salesman goes out with a digital camera. We put the shots in the computer and manipulate them. The station barely breaks even on this. The money is made on the repeat business. When they renew, it is at the same price but without the free commercial. As their business grows we can entice them to step up a notch with fixed-position buys.”
According to Ms. Grant, 95 percent of the advertisers are from repeat business. “When we show the products, Jamaican foods, grocery stores-just all different kinds of ethnic things-it makes them very unique and sets them apart from the chains. We’re proud of that.”
Rochester TV revenues are expected to climb to $68.3 million by the end of 2002 from $63.2 million in 2001, according to BIA Financial Network.