The market has a lot more going on than beer, brats and cheese. Its diverse array of businesses include Harley Davidson (including a Harley Davidson museum), Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, Kohl’s Department Store, SC Johnson, Midwest Airlines, GE Medical and, of course, Miller Brewing Co. Although the metropolitan area is spreading south toward Chicago and west toward Waukesha, Wis., the TV market’s rank slipped one place to 35, losing 14,340 TV households, a 1.6 percent decrease. The radio market, much smaller than the TV market, includes Racine, Wis.
The market’s media is dominated by radio, TV and newspaper owner Journal Communications, which operates in all three media, including WTMJ-TV, the NBC affiliate; News/Talk WTMJ-AM and Adult Hits WLWK-FM; and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the market’s only major daily. Revenue at the Journal Sentinel slid 23.3 percent with a loss of $900,000 in first quarter, and radio and TV revenues were down 20 percent. The company ordered a 6 percent pay cut for the year and stopped matching 401(K) retirement plan contributions.
WTMJ-TV does regular battle with WISN-TV, Hearst-Argyle Television’s ABC affiliate, for local news ratings supremacy. WISN generally wins in the mornings and early news. Though WTMJ remains the late news leader, in the January survey WISN tied WTMJ in delivery of adults 25-54.
WTMJ has upped its news game, replacing syndicated programming with more news by creating a local news block from 3–7 p.m., with the exception of the national NBC Nightly News. It also added an advertiser and community-oriented show, Morning Blend, at 9 a.m. weekdays.
WITI-TV, the Fox affiliate purchased by Local TV LLC last year from News Corp., generally ranks third in news and is actually scaling back. As part of a recent cost-savings measure, the station in March dropped several weekend newscasts.
Weigel Broadcasting’s CBS affiliate WDJT trails its rivals in local news ratings, ranking fourth in late news.
AM radio is alive and well in Milwaukee. Two News/Talk outlets rank among the top five stations. No. 1 in the market is WTMJ-AM, which carries the broadcast sports rights to Brewers baseball, Bucks basketball and Packers football games.
Clear Channel Radio operates six stations in the market. Leading the way for Clear Channel locally is No. 2 News/Talk outlet, WISN-AM, which airs several of the company’s biggest syndicated personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, as well as highly rated hometown personality, Mark Belling, in afternoon drive.
In late November, Journal blew up the Hot Adult Contemporary format on WKTI-FM (call letters in the market for 34 years) and changed the call letters to WLWK-FM. In its first survey, the new, music-intensive format moved up in overall rank from No. 12 to No. 7 and came in third place among adults 25-54.
Clear Channel Outdoor is the dominant outdoor operator with the largest bulletin inventory in southeast Wisconsin. The outdoor giant also offers posters, airport advertising and digital boards (eight networked and seven standalone) and is the sole provider of transit/bus advertising through a partnership with the Milwaukee County Transit System. Lamar Advertising operates bulletins in the market and also has a digital network.
* TV DMA Rank: 35
* Population 2-plus: 2,177,523
* TV Households: 905,350
* TV stations (Net/Ind/Multicast/Public): 6/8/1/2
* Wired Cable Households: 559,460
* Radio Metro Rank: 37
* Population 6-plus: 1,447,700
* Radio Stations (Rated): 29
* Newspapers (Daily/Weekly): 9/45
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