KMAX Branding OpportunityTakes Flight in Sacramento

An airport security line is one of the least pleasant places in the world to be. But for Kevin Walsh, vice president and general manager of KOVR-KMAX Sacramento, there’s at least one positive to being prodded by TSA wands at Sacramento International Airport: Just past security is the Good Day Sacramento shop, prominently showcasing the branding of KMAX’s morning program.

KMAX and newsstand chain Paradies are approaching the sixmonth mark of a unique partnership that spawned the shop, which has the program’s branding all over it. A video screen airs the morning show, and branded tchotchkes—such as Tshirts and coffee mugs—are sold as well. “We see it as a great win for us,” says Walsh. “It’s a corner newsstand that you see when you come through security. It’s got great visibility.”

The partnership came to be, says Walsh, because Atlanta-based Paradies was looking for a Sacramento partner, and a local icon, with which to brand the store. The airport’s Terminal B already featured a CNBC News store, but Walsh says Good Day’s local cred made it attractive to Paradies. (Paradies did not return calls for comment.)

CBS owns KOVR and CW affiliate KMAX in DMA No. 20. Good Day, a mix of news, information and community-based features, fills 35½ hours a week, airing from 4:30 to 10 weekdays and 6 to 10 on weekends. Hearst Television’s market-leading KCRA won the 6 a.m. ratings battle in February, its 5.4 household rating/24 share ahead of KOVR’s 1.3/6 and KMAX’s 1.2/6. But when ABC, CBS and NBC go to network shows at 7 a.m., KMAX picks up viewers. Its 1.7 rating/6 share from 7-9 a.m. bested the 1.4/5 posted by KCRA sister KQCA.

Walsh calls the show a local institution. “Almost anybody you talk to [in Sacramento] knows Good Day,” he says.

KMAX is not the first TV outlet to align with a retail partner. Paradies and cable net CNBC team up on 45 airport shops, including those at New York’s JFK, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta and Dulles near Washington, D.C. Fox News Channel also has a retail presence, including a store at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport.

KCRA aired its noon news out of Sacramento’s Arden Fair Mall for almost five years, until the “KCRA 3 Experience” ended in 2008. KCRA news director Anzio Williams calls it “a marketing and interactive experience that gave viewers a chance to see live newscasts, talk to our news anchors and record their own news segments.”

Because the Good Day shop is situated past the security barriers, KMAX cannot broadcast live from the airport.

Williams discounts any competitive advantage garnered from Good Day’s storefront. “The ratings don’t lie,” he says. “Since the airport store opened, KCRA 3 morning ratings have continued to grow.”

There’s no licensing fee involved in the KMAX-Paradies arrangement. The shop will bear the Good Day brand, and sell its wares, as long as both parties continue to gain from the deal. “As long as they’re happy with us and we’re happy with them, it’ll be a long-standing relationship,” says Walsh. “It’s a great way to promote our brand in a unique and different way.”

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Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.