Market Profile: Kansas City

Not a boom or bust market, Kansas City has remained relatively stable compared to other DMAs. While not up to ’08 levels, the area is coming back, buoyed by new construction in town and a vibrant auto category.

Because the DMA reaches two states, Kansas and Missouri, media outlets are anticipating healthy political for governor races and two Senate seats. Spending is already flowing for a Senate race in Kansas leading up to the primary on Aug. 3. The three big network affiliates are all in duopolies: Hearst Television, Meredith Broadcast and The E. W. Scripps Co. For more than a decade, KMBC, Hearst’s ABC affiliate, has been the undisputed news leader in all day parts.

Ratings among the local news contenders in adults 25-54 are closest in mornings when WDAF, Local TV’s Fox affiliate, is neck and neck with KMBC. KCTV, Meredith’s CBS affiliate, and KSHB, Scripps’ NBC affiliate, are separated by a 10th of a rating point for No. 3 and No. 4. Hearst’s KCWE, The CW affiliate, goes up against WDAF from 7 to 9 a.m. Similarly, Meredith’s KSMO, the MyNetworkTV affiliate, airs local news 7 to 8 a.m., followed by Better, Meredith’s one-hour syndicated magazine program.

In early news, the competition is for No. 2 with WDAF just barely edging out KCTV. As for late news at 10, KCTV claims the No. 2 slot, followed by WDAF and KSHB. WDAF wins the 9 p.m. news over KSMO.

KCTV has been the source of drama of late, welcoming a new general manager, a new news director and shaking up its on-air roster. Last month the station launched a half-hour noon newscast, simulcast on KSMO. KCTV also hired a sports director, bringing back a department that was all but farmed out in ’03 to Time Warner’s Metro Sports. As a CBS affil, the station carries all National Football League AFC home games of the market’s beloved Kansas City Chiefs. The station partners with WHB-AM, Union Broadcasting’s top-rated sports station, exchanging content and talent for coverage of the Chiefs on KCTV and the University of Kansas Jayhawks basketball on KSMO.

There’s no shortage of Chiefs coverage and no lack of ratings, even when the Chiefs aren’t winning. KMBC, which carries local ESPN games, will be airing the Chiefs’ first game of the season from Arrowhead Stadium, which will have completed a two-year, $375 million face-lift.

Since the launch of Arbitron’s portable people meter ratings service late last year, Entercom Communication’s Rock station, KQRC-FM has shot to the top of the ratings, making Kansas City one of the few markets where Rock rules. The station’s morning host, Johnny Dare, is No. 1 in adults 25-54. In the No. 2 spot is Cumulus Media’s Classic Rock KCFX-FM followed by sister station, Oldies KCMO-FM. KPRS-FM, Carter Broadcast’s Urban station, is No. 4.

The Kansas City Star, owned by McClatchy, continues to fight declining circulation. A year ago, the paper increased its home delivery subscription rates by 15 percent. It also combined several sections. In August, the paper announced one-week furloughs, wage freezes, involuntary buyouts and pay cuts between 5 and 10 percent. Job cuts last year slashed the paper’s staff by one-third, but more cuts were made in January and May.
Lamar Advertising and CBS Outdoor are the largest outdoor players in the market. CBS Outdoor also offers mall advertising. Clear Channel Outdoor has the advertising contract for Kansas City International Airport.

Vital Stats:

TV DMA Rank: 32
Population 2-plus: 2,298,002
TV Households: 941,360
TV Stations (Net/Ind/Multicast/Public): 6/3/1/1
Wired Cable Households: 605,520
Radio Metro Rank: 32
Population 12-plus: 1,607,500
Radio Stations (rated): 39
Newspapers (Daily/Weekly): 14/27


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