It has been a most eventful couple years in Portland, Oregon, but things appear to be getting back to normal. Corey Hanson was station manager at KPTV, then shifted to a general manager job in Mobile, Alabama in 2020, only to come back 13 months later, arriving in August to be KPTV-KPDX general manager.
“COVID, riots, extreme weather events — wildfires, ice storms, heat waves,” she said. “The city had really been through a lot.”
Tom Keeler, VP/general manager of KOIN-KRCW, described the past couple years in Portland similarly. Months of civil unrest protests, an ongoing homeless issue, a record high temp of 116 in June. “There’s never a slow day in Portland these days,” he said.
Gray Television recently acquired KPTV-KPDX, a Fox-MyNetworkTV duopoly, from Meredith. Nexstar Media Group has KOIN-KRCW, a CBS-CW pair. Sinclair Broadcast Group holds ABC affiliate KATU and Tegna has NBC outlet KGW.
Comcast is the primary pay TV operator in DMA No. 21.
KPTV is a ratings beast and KATU a robust rival. In December, KPTV won the 6 a.m. race in both households and viewers 25-54. KATU is an early-evening power, winning the 5 and 6 p.m. battles for households and the demo in December. At 11 p.m., KATU posted a 1.9 household score, just ahead of the 1.8s put up by KPTV and KGW, with KOIN at 1.6. (KPTV tallied a 3.0 at 10 p.m.) In the 25-54 demo in late news, KPTV scored a 1.0, KATU a 0.7, KGW a 0.6 and KOIN a 0.3.
KPTV, known as Fox 12, is the uncommon Fox affiliate to win local news in its market. “We’ve established ourselves as the place for viewers to start and end their days,” said Hanson. “Our consistent, informative and engaging product helps viewers prepare for their days.”
Before moving up to her GM post in Alabama, Hanson was KPTV creative services director, then both CSD and news director, then station manager. She succeeded Adrienne Roark atop KPTV-KPDX, with Roark named CBS Stations president.
In November, KPTV transitioned its morning lifestyle show to a traditional newscast, as More Good Day Oregon shifted to Good Day Oregon.
KPTV and KOIN both boast of anchor talent that is well entrenched in the community. KOIN morning anchor Ken Boddie joined the station in 1985. He also hosts Sunday show Eye on Northwest Politics. Anchor Jeff Gianola has been on Portland’s air for over 36 years. He took a turn hosting CBS Weekend News in 2020, when the CBS Broadcast Center in New York was closed due to COVID-19 and the network asked affiliates for help. Anchor Elizabeth Dinh joined KOIN in September 2020 after a run at KPTV.
In May, KOIN premiered its Is Portland Over? series. Keeler called it “a deep dive that held local leaders’ feet to the fire on things they need to do to clean up the city.” It was weekly through November. As things get back to normal, the focus has pivoted to recovery and restoration, Keeler said.
Duopolies are handy news extensions in Portland. KPDX, known as Fox 12+, simulcasts the KPTV morning news for three hours, then has newscasts at 8 and 9 p.m. KRCW has a 7-9 a.m. news, then a 10 p.m. program.
General managers at KATU and KGW did not return calls seeking comment.
Portland moved from DMA No. 22 to 21 this year, and the stations are hustling to greet the new viewers. KPTV-KPDX picked up Outdoor GPS from NBC Sports Northwest, and debuts the live local hunting and fishing program, hosted by Owin Hays, March 5. It will bear the mouthful of a name Les Schwab Tire Center’s Outdoors GPS Presented By Fisherman’s Marine & Outdoor. “We’re excited to expand our live, local programming,” said Hanson.
KRCW has a host of local sports, including Portland Winterhawks hockey, University of Portland basketball and volleyball, and Linfield University football.
KRCW premieres lifestyle show Everyday Northwest in the 9 a.m. slot at the end of January. Ashley Howard will host. “It will reflect the lifestyle and the people that make the Northwest unique,” said Keeler.
Portland is indeed unique. People are out and about more as the city’s angsty vibe has waned. If the lively urban center is ever too much for residents, the beach is an hour away, and the mountains are too. “It’s a great place to be outdoors,” said Hanson.
From foodie-friendly restaurants to arts, Portland offers residents plenty. “It’s one of the most beautiful and liveable cities in the country,” Keeler said. ■
Local News is a monthly feature in B+C/Multichannel News magazine and on nexttv.com, highlighting happenings at TV stations in a given local market.
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