Success Story: Mankato’s KEYC Backs Volunteer Program

Jan 5, 2004  •  Post A Comment

As the only station in Mankato, Minn., about 80 miles southwest of the Twin Cities, CBS affiliate KEYC-TV has always maintained a strong focus on community and local sponsorships.
For the past 19 years the station, owned by United Communications Corp., has nominated local volunteers for the Jefferson Awards, a nationally recognized honor for outstanding community and public service. The station sends its winning nominee to Washington for the awards presentation.
“We go out and videotape all 12 of our nominees and tell folks what they do in terms of volunteerism,” said general manager Dennis Wahlstrom.
At the end of the period, the station hosts a picnic to honor the volunteers. “It is localism at its best,” he said.
Heritage Fest in New Ulm and Midwest Wireless are longtime sponsors of the event. “`The Good People Jefferson Award’ gives us an opportunity to carry out our community involvement,” said Marcia Bahr, director of marketing for Midwest Wireless. “We get thank-you cards afterward from pretty much everyone who was nominated.”
Mankato, with a population of 42,000, is the twelfth smallest DMA. “Although they face strong viewing competition from adjacent markets,” said Mark Fratrik, vice president of BIA, “they don’t have direct competition for local retailers.”
About 60 percent of the DMA’s $6.7 million in TV ad revenue in 2002 came from local advertisers, according to BIA. BIA estimated the station would close 2003 with $7 million.