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Ads Slowly Returning in New Orleans

Sep 12, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Stations in New Orleans plan to once again air commercials beginning this week as they try to rebuild following Hurricane Katrina.

The Louisiana Association of Broadcasters is trying to get Wal-Mart to pitch in by sponsoring Katrina coverage in the market. According to one general manager, Wal-Mart representatives responded favorably to the pitch, but no firm ad order has been placed.

“They’re not interested in buying typical 30-second spots,” said Larry Delia, VP and general manager of Tribune-owned ABC affiliate WGNO-TV. “It would be more of a sponsorship, perhaps a message of encouragement. It’s a wonderful thing they would be doing.”

Rick Keilty, senior VP of Belo Corp., which owns CBS affiliate WWL-TV in New Orleans, said, “We have been contacted by companies in a number of other industries about advertising” as well. Categories include banking, furniture, insurance and others “who may have an interest in reaching employees or reaching their customers,” he said.

WWL, which has been airing news coverage throughout the disaster, planned to begin running some local advertising during NFL football Sept. 11.

The station began running some entertainment programming late last week and network shows carried national ads. “We will begin a more robust entertainment lineup [this] week, with commercials,” Mr. Keilty said. “Our folks are currently talking to advertisers about their individual business circumstances.”

Added Mr. Keilty: “I think people would like to see a ‘get back to normal’ scenario, even though normal is not what it used to be.”