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Market Profile: Portland, Ore.

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America’s so-called Silicon Forest is home to Intel and several other technology companies. The market is brimming with early adopters; Apple’s iPad sold out locally the weekend it was available. Also known as the City of Roses for its rose-bordered streets, Portland is one of the “greenest” cities, right down to the LED holiday lights installed last year. Portland’s 38 breweries also make it the micro brew capital of the U.S.

However, the media market has been anything but rosy, struggling with a high unemployment rate north of 11 percent. Recovery is expected to lag behind the rest of the U.S.

TV stations got their first Nielsen local people meter ratings in November. A month later, Arbitron flipped the switch on its portable people meter radio ratings service. True to form, the new electronic measurement services resulted in compressed ratings and even tighter races. KGW, Belo’s NBC affiliate, tends to lead the local news ratings in all dayparts except mornings, when it is bested by KPTV, Meredith’s Fox affiliate. For third place in mornings, it’s a tight race between KATU, Fisher’s ABC affiliate (which also owns Univision affiliate KUNP), and KOIN, New Vision TV’s CBS affiliate.

Rivals are jockeying to challenge KGW’s dominance in early news and take advantage of its pending loss of Oprah at 4 p.m. Three stations are virtually tied, with KPTV and KATU separated by one-tenth of a rating point, followed by KOIN. Though KGW is No. 1 in late news at 11 p.m., KPTV’s ratings for its 10 p.m. best all other late newscasts.

Capitalizing on its morning leadership position, KPTV today plans to debut a fifth hour of local morning news at 9 a.m. on its duopoly partner, KPDX, the MyNetworkTV affiliate. KPTV also added an 11 a.m. half hour, with plans to expand to an hour in July. The additional newscasts will bring Meredith’s local news production up to a market-leading 10 hours of local news a day.

Portland is that rare market where the public radio outlet is among the top-rated stations. Although Oregon Public Broadcasting’s news/talk KOPB-FM is No. 2 with a 6.2 overall share, it’s a distant second to Clear Channel Radio’s adult contemporary powerhouse KKCW-FM, which gets a 10.3 share.

Former Citadel Communications founder Larry Wilson has formed a new company called Alpha Broadcasting, backed by Endeavour Capital. Wilson acquired two Rose City Radio stations owned by Paul Allen in May, then purchased CBS Radio’s four stations in the market in August. Alpha is now the third largest owner behind Clear Channel and Entercom Communications.

For the first time in more than 40 years, The Oregonian, owned by Advance Publications, announced in February it was laying off 37 employees. The layoffs followed several rounds of voluntary buyouts, furloughs and pay cuts that trimmed the paper by about 100. Circulation was down 12 percent to 249,163, as of September, per the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Despite a challenge by Verizon since 2007, Comcast remains the dominant cable provider. Now Verizon is in the process of selling its FiOS phone, Internet and TV network operations in Oregon to Connecticut-based Frontier Communications. FiOS has signed up about 5 percent of TV homes.

Outdoor operators in the market include Clear Channel Outdoor, CBS Outdoor, Lamar Advertising and local operator Meadow Outdoor.

Vital Stats

TV DMA Rank: 22
Population 2-plus: 2,994,368
TV Households: 1,188,770
TV Stations (Net/Ind/Multicast/Public): 6/11/2/2
Wired Cable Households: 695,990
Radio Metro Rank: 23
Population 12-plus: 2,106,200
Radio Stations (rated): 39
Newspapers (Daily/Weekly): 8/17

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