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Small but Overperforming

Gainesville, Fla., may be a small market, but it has played a role in two of the biggest stories in local television this year. A coast-to-coast swap between the Fox and Meredith groups brought WOGX(TV) to Fox, along with WOFL(TV) Orlando, Fla.—from where the Ocala-based Gainesville station is largely run.

And WGFL(TV) Gainesville picked up the CBS affiliation in that market after WJXT(TV) Jacksonville, Fla., which had provided Gainesville with CBS programming via Cox Cable, couldn't reach agreement with the network on a new affiliation deal.

Harvey Budd, owner of the new CBS affiliate, plans to add a local newscast to the market next year to fulfill part of the affiliation agreement, to boost the station's public service, and to get a bigger piece of the lucrative political market. The unusually high penetration of satellite TV hurts the new CBS affil, because many viewers still get their CBS programming from outside the market.

Fox's local news comes largely out of Orlando, leaving local news dominance—along with overall ratings and revenue dominance—to WCJB(TV), owned by Diversified Communications.

"We're a big station in a small market," says WCJB Programming and Promotions Director Karen Woolfstead. In fact, the station is not bound by the confines of its DMA and draws substantial viewership and substantial revenue from outside the market due to must-carry cable arrangements in adjoining counties.

Sales Manager Alan Chatman estimates 30% of WCJB revenue comes from outside the official DMA. He believes the cable carriage gives both his station and WOGX a total potential audience of more than 300,000 homes, though the market itself has only 116,000 households. The market is an overperformer, ranked, at 144, 18 places higher than its DMA ranking. Advertising is typically led by automotive and fast-food, with strong ad sales to lawyers as well.

The University of Florida is a significant player, both as a big draw for its CBS-televised football games and for the two educational TV stations—WUFT(TV) and WLUP-LP—and three radio stations it runs.