Market Profile: Atlanta

Following rapid growth, Atlanta fell hard in the recession. The market’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average, several small banks have failed and a record number of homes were put up for sale. One of the top markets for auto sales, the auto ad category is down between 35 percent and 40 percent. But in recent months, media advertising conditions have improved, driven by Clearwire and other telecom companies, as well as business from fast food, financial, big-box retailers and a Dec. 1 runoff in the mayoral race.

Two years into using Nielsen’s local people meters for its TV ratings, WSB-TV, Cox Television’s ABC affiliate, still ranks on top in local news. Cox often packages the station with its other properties: the market’s dominant newspaper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and six radio stations—three of them ranked No. 2 (News/Talk WSB-AM), No. 3 (Urban Adult Contemporary WALR-FM) and No. 4 (Adult Contemporary WSB-FM).

The No. 2 biller behind WSB, per BIA, WAGA is also a strong No. 2 in local news except its 11 p.m. late newscast, which trails WSB and WGCL, Meredith’s CBS affiliate. Among all late newscasts, WAGA’s 10 p.m. newscast has the second highest ratings in Adults 25-54. In September, WAGA added an hour (at 9 a.m.) to its morning news. Struggling to climb out of third and fourth place in news are WGCL and WXIA, Gannett’s NBC affiliate which also provides a 10 p.m. newscast for its duopoly partner, WAPL, the MyNetworkTV affiliate.

There are a number of partnerships among the local outlets in the market. WXIA and WAGA formed a local news service to share video, and they share a helicopter. WAGA also partners with area radio stations. It has a news sharing arrangement with WGST-AM, Clear Channel’s News/ Talk station, and provides weather to WKHX-FM, Citadel’s Country outlet. While WGCL pulled out of the local news service in July after a four-week trial, it recently partnered with WQXI-AM 790 The Zone for sports coverage.

The partnership bug has also spread to local cable. Comcast sells for the Atlanta Interconnect, which includes Charter and some smaller cable systems. Cable is also facing increased competition from AT&T U-Verse, which entered the market about a year ago. Though U-Verse remains limited in distribution, AT&T is advertising aggressively.

To lower costs and return The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to profitability, Cox trimmed 90 employees, or about 30 percent of the staff, earlier in the year. The paper also merged certain sections. In September, AJC’s entertainment Web hub,, inked new partnerships with Entertainment Tonight, Paste magazine, Drive a Faster Car and Atlanta on the Cheap.

In out-of-home, the City of Atlanta and General Growth Properties contracted with Cemusa to manage advertising on new street vending kiosks. The five-year contract calls for 20 kiosks to be built in prime locations near the World of Coke and Woodruff Park. Main coverage of the market is provided by Clear Channel Outdoor (which controls airport advertising and taxi ads) and CBS Outdoor (which operates bus and rail advertising). Lamar Advertising also offers local bulletins.

Radio stations have settled into electronic ratings (Arbitron’s portable people meters). Urban stations are among the highest rated at No. 1 (WVEE-FM, CBS Radio’s Urban Adult Contemporary), No. 3 (WALR-FM), No. 6 (WAMJ-FM, Radio One’s Urban Adult Contemporary) and No. 12 (WHAT-FM, Radio One’s Urban Contemporary).

Clear Channel in October dumped its Spanish Hot Adult Contemporary format on WWVA-FM, which was languishing in the ratings at No. 22, to a Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio format called “The Groove 105.7.”
Vital Stats

TV DMA Rank: 8
Population 2-plus: 6,316,859
TV Households: 2,387,520
TV Stations (Net/Ind/Multicast/Public): 6/13/2/4
Wired Cable Households: 1,377,780
Radio Metro Rank: 7
Population 6-plus: 4,903,400
Radio Stations (rated): 46
Newspapers (Daily/Weekly): 17/55

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