Medford's unique TV market reaches a critical crossroad

| Print |  Email
Articles - August 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
0811_MedfordTV_07
KDRV’s Mark Hatfield has come to appreciate the intimacy of the small but competitive Medford market. He lives in Ashland and splits his time between stations in Bend, Eugene and Medford.
// Photo by Jamie Lusch

In addition to generating revenue for the networks, the Medford affiliates have a reputation for developing future major market talent. The current All-Star Alum is Ann Curry, the former KTVL anchor recently named co-host of NBC’s Today Show. But many other fresh young faces got their start in Medford.

Like Melanie Wingo, Katherine Cook, now a top KGW (Portland) reporter, got her start at KDRV. “It was a fantastic training ground,” Cook says.

The major Western broadcast markets are filled with former Medford TV reporters and anchors. “I’ve seen at least 50 anchors go through this town in the six years I’ve been here,” says KSYS’s Brad Fay.

The stations use these ambitious young newscasters, starting at the bottom of the salary range, to their advantage. The constant stream of newcomers into Medford represents an almost unlimited supply of cheap, aggressive labor for the affiliates, and the major market stations are happy to have the old pros in Medford train them.

“We tell them, ‘Give us three years and we’ll be the best agent you ever had,’” says KOBI vice president and general manager Bob Wise. “They have to work their tails off, but then they usually go right into a big market.”

On the hard-news front, the stations compete fiercely for local stories. Although their news teams are essentially the same size, KDRV is the acknowledged news leader. KOBI and KTVL have used technology to try to extend their news coverage; several local media sources say KTVL’s news programming ratings tend to edge out KOBI’s during most of the “sweeps.” But KDRV’s Mark Hatfield says, “If you combined the other two stations [ratings] they still wouldn’t beat us.”

The affiliates place a premium on developing ongoing initiatives like KOBI’s “Southern Oregon Meth Project” and KDRV’s “Building Hope” designed to help families facing foreclosure. These kinds of projects both serve to brand the stations and to underscore their commitment to community involvement. They also have a long tradition of generously supporting the region’s nonprofits, one instance where they appear to work together rather than compete.

 



 

Comments   

 
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
 
 
Guest
0 #2 adminGuest 2013-03-20 03:06:37
This is the direction of Television now..
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Picture This

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

As a general rule, the more people with autism can be provided with visual cues, the better they will be able to understand and manage their environment. It’s a lesson Tom Keating learned well. The 61-year-old Eugene grant writer spent 31 years taking care of his autistic brother James, and in the late 1980s developed a spreadsheet that created a series of nonsense characters that grew or shrank depending on how much money James had in his account. 


Read more...

Power Players

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

A new energy-sharing agreement sparks concerns about independence and collaboration in the region's utility industry.


Read more...

Fighting Fire With Fire

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY BEN DEJARNETTE | INVESTIGATEWEST

Timber companies and environmental groups take a stab at collaboration to boost logging and restoration in Oregon fires.


Read more...

3 trends in the garden business

The Latest
Thursday, April 30, 2015
gardenthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Oregonians are scrambling to get their gardens in order for the summer. Here are three tips from landscaping and urban farming expert.


Read more...

Celestial Eats

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER AND EILEEN GARVIN

A power lunch at Solstice Wood Fire Cafe & Bar.


Read more...

5 questions for Flywheel CEO Rakesh Mathur

The Latest
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
FW splashBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland is awash in rideshare options. We ask the head of Flywheel what sets his app apart.


Read more...

Letting Go

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

As baby boomers sell their businesses, too many forget the all-important succession plan.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS