Success Stories: Green Bay stations thrive on sports

Nov 11, 2002  •  Post A Comment

In response to Sept. 11, Young Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate in Green Bay, Wis., launched “Show Your Heart, Do Your Part.”
“It encourages people to spend more quality time with their families, volunteer in their communities, to enjoy local museums and attractions and support local businesses to help keep the economy strong,” said WBAY-TV President and General Manager Don Carmichael.
“The commercials salute various people and what they do to keep America strong,” Mr. Carmichael said. Farmers, police, emergency personnel, factory workers and those in retail are all featured in individual spots.
“In the first quarter of the year when we had it going full blast, we did $165,000 in revenue, and we’re a fairly small market,” he said. “We had 17 different sponsor participants. Sponsors are encouraged to put their logo on the spot and use the tag in their shop windows or own print ads.”
Green Bay-Appleton is also full of huge sports fans. “Green Bay is No. 1 in watching sports on television,” said R. Perry Kidder, VP and general manager of WFRV-TV, a CBS owned-and-operated station. “You combine that with the Packers and you get a feel for what we have out here.”
During football season, WFRC produces four local half-hour sports shows a week above and beyond regular programming. Among them are “The Mike Sherman Show,” hosted by the Green Bay Packers head coach, and “The Locker Room Show,” featuring live interviews. In addition, the station produces “High School Sports Extra,” which dedicates a fair amount of time to girls’ sports, from softball to volleyball. These programs, as well as broadcasts of the NFL and University of Wisconsin sports events, make the station a prime target for advertisers.
“The sponsors for `The Locker Room Show’ have an automatic renewal on their contract, because no one wants to lose that,” Mr. Kidder said.
Also helping advertisers to reach sports fans is Fox affiliate WLUK-TV, owned by Emmis Communications, which has naming rights to the video scoreboard at the 10,000-seat Resch Center, where the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay basketball team and the Green Bay Gamblers hockey team play.
“We were able to sell commercial time right on the scoreboard during the events,” said General Manager Jay Zollar. Advertising revenue for the Green Bay-Appleton, TV market is expected to rise to $50.6 million by year-end, up from $48.2 million in 2001, according to BIA Financial Network.