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Who's the Real Revenue Leader in Cincy?

We’ve got a profile of the Cincinnati market this week, where the Bengals look like they’re for real, Issue 3 related to casino gambling was passed, and the revenue race between WCPO and WKRC really could not be any closer.

I wrote of WCPO: “Scripps’ ABC affiliate won an extremely close revenue race in 2008, according to BIA Financial, its $41.28 million just nosing out CBS outlet WKRC. The latter–part of the batch that Newport acquired from Clear Channel in 2008–had won the revenue race for years.”

That prompted a call from WKRC’s Les Vann, politely asking for, in the parlance of the season, a recount. WKRC, he said, was Cincy’s revenue leader in 2008.

BIA had WCPO with 26.9% of the market share ($41.28 m), and WKRC with 26.5% ($40.65 m). Keep in mind BIA provides “estimated” revenue.

But according to an audit from Miller Kaplan, Arase & Co. that WKRC was good enough to share, WKRC was ranked #1 in Cincy station revenues with $40.675 mil and a 26.7% share.

Why the difference? WCPO’s Bill Fee says Miller Kaplan only reports time sales–local, national, political–and not ancillary revenue such as network comp, tower rental, etc., which BIA presumably counts.

Furthermore, Fee says WCPO is winning the 2009 race through Q3 by Miller Kaplan’s count.

The year-end title remains up for grabs. This much I know–it’ll be a race to the finish.