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An Anchor Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

I'm faced with a bit of a dilemma some weeks: which station's talent photo to feature on our "Market Eye" page. Most of the time, it goes to the market leader, though that status is not always crystal clear. In fact, I get press releases announcing a few different leaders in the same market each sweeps. I look at the most recent sweeps numbers, and see if there was any major ratings influencer, such as the Olympics, that might have skewed the ratings into the anomaly zone.

As something of a tiebreaker, there are the BIA/Kelsey numbers, which show estimated revenue figures for each commercial station in a market. But station leaders often find those numbers off the mark, and BIA doesn't issue a new annual book until spring—so the best I have around this time of year are estimated 2012 figures.

Once in a while, it is a true toss-up, at least based on the information I have—the most recent sweeps results, a GM's testimony for their own station and, on background, the No. 3 and No. 4 station boss's opinion on who is leading. (Despite being No. 3 or No. 4, they often argue that they are, in fact, the market leader.)

Such as Spokane.

KHQ took total day household ratings. KREM took prime. KREM took late news, but KHQ took mornings and early evenings. Further complicating matters, KXLY won the adults 25-54 contests in both mornings and early evenings.

If we were to swing the tiebreaker over to the BIA/Kelsey revenue figures, it's KHQ by a hair—an estimated 28% of the market's revenue to KREM's 27.1%.

Too close to call.

My story on DMA No. 73 in the new issue gives the momentum to KREM, with its acquisition by Gannett and its continued rocking primetime (it's a CBS station)—things Cowles-owned KHQ, an NBC affiliate, cannot boast.

But I used the anchor pic from KHQ. I felt it balanced out a page whose flavor favored KREM. KREM also got the sidebar story, about the station airing more positive news. I thought I had a handy solution with the sidebar, planning to run a headshot of KREM anchor Randy Shaw, who sings on a CD titled “In Your Honor,” which benefits Honor Flight. But the photo was cut for space.

So, KREM, your talent photo appears here. Thanks for understanding.

It's not like anyone dwells on this stuff more than I do—in fact, I'd be a bit shocked if you're still reading this—but I knew KREM got its photo in when we last profiled the market in 2011, under the headline "KREM of the Crop", which reflected a really strong May '11 sweeps for the then-Belo station. (Surely the hard working news crew at KHQ wasn't too pleased with that headline.)

That should do it for now. Please don't think I ever take the who-gets-their-photo-in issue lightly here at "Market Eye."