Sponsored by Energy Trust

Medford's unique TV market reaches a critical crossroad

| Print |  Email
Articles - August 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
0811_MedfordTV_08
KDRV technical director Nick Blenkushi manages the live recording of a program. Costly equipment poses a financial challenge to small-market stations. 
// Photo by Jamie Lusch

Several nonprofit managers and supporters say the presence of three community-minded stations has been a huge factor in fundraising, recruiting volunteers and simply getting their message out to the community.

“Supporting nonprofits is the norm here, it’s just part of the Medford media culture,” says Barbara Johnson, who is affiliated with several Medford-area nonprofits. “It’s a conscious choice they make,” says Sue Mendenhall, program director of Children’s Miracle Network. “As long as they can find a way to bring our story into the newsroom, they will cover it. All the stations do it.”

Beyond their news strategies, each station owner has pursued a distinct strategy for making ends meet in the small middle-class market. While the market hasn’t grown in terms of number of households in the last decade, neither has it shrunk significantly. The recession clearly drained wealth away; the flood of California retirees flush with cash who once flocked to the region has slowed to a trickle. Yet there are pockets of affluence, such as Ashland, that remain poised for growth.

Smullin, like her chief competitors, remains in the end stubbornly optimistic about Medford’s future in broadcast. But she acknowledges that the landscape is everchanging, and that to stay profitable the stations will have to constantly adapt. “Partnerships are the name of the game now,” she says. “I don’t make any unilateral decisions anymore. Everything involves a partner. It’s how we survive.”

In all likelihood, the survival of the major players in Medford’s combative free TV broadcast market is assured for years to come. What survival looks like is another matter. As Smullin points out, partnerships — with advertisers, community groups, stations in sister markets and even competitors — may well be the key. For as long as the stations’ signals can hop over mountains and across state borders, people will watch, and someone will pay the bills.

 



 

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
 
 
Mike Nelson
+1 #2 The News Czar Wears New ClothesMike Nelson 2011-08-01 10:03:34
Little Hatfield is mistaken if he thinks his current staff and limited knowledge of emerging technology is going to keep KDRV on top. Oprah is gone, Jeopardy will not last, and Mr. Hat will soon find himself "number two" when tech-savvy KTVL and KOBI merge.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #3 adminGuest 2013-03-20 03:06:37
This is the direction of Television now..
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Kill the Meeting

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Meetings get a bad rap. A few local companies make them count.


Read more...

Political Clout

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Businesses spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence political decision makers by piling money into campaigns.


Read more...

Growing a mobility cluster

News
Friday, October 31, 2014
0414 bikes bd2f6052BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


Read more...

Healthcare pullback

News
Thursday, November 20, 2014
112014-boehnercare-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Read more...

OB Poll: Wineries and groceries

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

24-winethumbA majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.


Read more...

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

Tackling the CEO-worker pay gap

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF

An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.


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