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Young, Educated, Wealthy

Richmond, Va., says WUPV(TV) General Manager Gerald Walsh, "is too big to be a small market but too small to be a big market." The one-time capital of the Confederacy is the capital of Virginia and lures business and residential expatriates with a short commutes, solid per-capita income, low construction costs and favorable cost of living. It benefits, too, from the many small businesses created by entrepreneurs displaced by the financial-services consolidation.

The Richmond-Petersburg, Va., DMA has fairly high per-capita and household income, making it a strong test market for advertisers. The promotional Greater Richmond Partnership boasts that the city has been selected by among the top Southern markets; among the healthiest places to live; among the best for conducting, expanding or relocating a business; and among the best for overall quality of life.

Although Raycom's WTVR-TV has been strengthening its local news, Jefferson-Pilot's WWBT has ruled local airwaves for years, not only with strong performance in local news but also producing the local Fox newscast. As a result, Sinclair, which is building a news centralcast for many of its 60-plus stations, is not likely to bring it to Richmond, says Scott Sanders, who runs Sinclair's WRLH-TV.

Richmond's TV market had a significantdrop in revenue from 2000 to 2001, about 8%, but local executives believe it has come much of the way back this year, despite having no significant political races to feed advertising coffers.

"Circuit City is headquartered here," says WWBT General Manager Don Richards, "Capital One is here, Phillip Morris is here, and it's the state capital. That's a lot of players who are familiar with television."

"Retail has gotten very active," Richards notes, with two upscale shopping complexes being built and retailers Nordstrom's and Lord and Taylor arriving.

"It's a pretty young, well-educated and wealthy market," says Walsh. "And that fuels our economy."