Sponsored by Oregon Business

Medford's unique TV market reaches a critical crossroad

| Print |  Email
Articles - August 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
KDRV’s Evan Bell at the controls in the station’s Medford studio. The station is the acknowledged news leader, in part because of its investment in cutting-edge broadcast technology.
// Photo by Jamie Lusch


“But,” says Mark Hatfield, Chambers Communications (KDRV) managing director of news and programming, pointing to the bank of TVs on the wall of his office in Medford, “this is still the screen that people look at at the end of the day. We as news organizations will continue as long as we’re relevant and serve our communities. I actually think the future for this market is bright.”

Bright for whom? In fact, consolidation among the stations has already begun. In 2006, the local Fox affiliate, KMVU, contracted with KOBI for news coverage. The relationship has been “very successful,” Smullin says, and it adds a much-needed revenue stream to COBI’s coffers. While the partnership isn’t comparable to the situation in Redding-Chico, it represents a step in the direction of consolidation.

Many area residents would feel the loss of even one news operation. Medford and neighboring towns like Klamath Falls, Ashland, Grants Pass and Jacksonville have grown accustomed to excellent local news coverage, from Friday night high school football games to breaking news about weather, forest fires and traffic tie-ups, to information about charity fundraisers.

Steve Safron, editor of the online broadcast industry publication Lost Remote, thinks it unlikely that any of the networks would abandon Medford. “The networks care about those small markets,” he says. “It’s an aggregate thing; they want those households. They help sell advertising and they maintain their brands.”

Yet the networks might be inclined to reduce costs if possible. Combining news operations might make financial sense in a tight, small market, Fay says. But the community would lose an irreplaceable asset, says Melanie Wingo, a former KDRV reporter now with KATU in Portland.

Wingo says Medford viewers are devoted to their favorite news programs. “They will turn the dial when a [network] program ends to hear the news from the local team they’re loyal to,” she says. “You don’t always see that in larger markets.” She worries that Medford could become merely a satellite market to Eugene (No. 118), which has been growing in the number of households served as Medford has stagnated. KDRV is part of Chambers Communications, which is based in Eugene, but Hatfield says KDRV is not a satellinte station run out of Eugene. Hatfield is the market manager of KDRV, and managing director of news and programming for KDRV, KEZI in Eugene and KOHD in Bend, the result of a round of management layoffs in the summer of 2010.

“I hope no part of the Medford market goes away,” she says. “People there simply rely on their TV stations too much.”




Mike Gantenbein
-1 #1 Crossroads?Mike Gantenbein 2011-07-27 13:50:21
Great overview of the TV market in Medford - but I'm not sure that the market has arrived at some sort of "crossroads". It is in flux and will continue to be as the internet continues to offer new avenues for content developers (e.g. networks) to distribute their products. However, flux is normal in this market - there were only two TV stations in the market when I first moved here.
Quote | Report to administrator
0 #2 adminGuest 2013-03-20 03:06:37
This is the direction of Television now..
Quote | Report to administrator

More Articles

Child care challenge

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.


Living the dream

Friday, August 21, 2015

smugglespearsthumbRenee Spears, founder and owner of Portland-based Rose City Mortgage, is hot to trot to sell pot.


5 facts about the teaching profession in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, October 08, 2015

Based on several metrics, Oregon has one of the lowest performing K-12 education systems in the country. Teacher compensation is part of the problem.


Social media transforming sports business

The Latest
Thursday, September 24, 2015

The traditional model of sports teams using paid media to get their message across is disappearing as teams look instead to social media to interact with fans.


Mayoral musings

Linda Baker
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
091515-mayors-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The 2016 presidential election is shaping up to be the year of the outsider, with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump capturing leads in the polls and the headlines. In Portland, Wheeler vs. Hales is bucking the outlier trend.


Light Reading

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ask any college student: Textbook prices have skyrocketed out of control. Online education startup Lumen Learning aims to bring them down to earth.


Fare Thee Well, Company Town

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

Corporate headquarters are no longer a marker of economic prowess.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02