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It's Small, but It's Healthy

The North Platte DMA is one market up from the very smallest in the country and two up in market revenue. How small is the North Platte, Neb., DMA? "The population is so sparse," notes Steve Morris, who runs Pappas Telecasting's KWNB-TV, "there's more cows here than people, by a wide margin."

Although running the market's No. 2 station, Morris himself is seldom in the market. He runs KWNB-TV out of Pappas's KHGI-TV Lincoln-Kearney-Hastings, DMA No. 102, simulcasting ABC programming and local news into the smaller market. "We're focused on the Lincoln market," he says, "but, if there's interesting news, we'll go out there to cover it. It takes us about an hour and a half to get there [with a news crew], but news in North Platte may have statewide interest."

Despite its remote approach, KWNB-TV shows up fairly well in local ratings. But the market's top-rated station, Greater Nebraska TV's KNOP-TV, which also runs Fox affiliate KIIT-LP, draws numbers that would be impressive even for a solo station in a market.

KNOP-TV has been run for decades by the Carlini family, and 78-year-old Ulysses Carlini Sr., trained in speech and communication, continues to coach anchors and reporters while his son Lewys runs the station. Ulysses Carlini Jr. runs Greater Nebraska TV's KHAS-TV in Lincoln-Kearney-Hastings.

The market is rather healthy, with a fairly high per capita income and annual broadcast revenue approaching $3 million, which slipped a relatively low 7% from 2000 to 2001. The employment base has always been dependent on the large Union Pacific railyard, but Walmart plans a distribution center there and is already advertising for new hires. Retail, agribusiness and automotive are strong advertising sectors.

But, Lewys Carlini points out, KNOP-TV's rates are low enough, at $100 for a 30-second commercial, for the small specialty stores still going in North Platte's downtown. KNOP-TV has a 10-person news department and provides local programming with coverage of special events.