Greenville, Spartanburg and Asheville

The regional market Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C./Asheville, N.C., is composed of three very distinct cities, which presents some interesting choices for the media serving the area. The biggest contrast is between the more populous centers in South Carolina and the more rural and mountainous Asheville. TV stations looking to appeal to the entire market must cover the news across all three cities and broadcast multiple weather forecasts. Each city has its own newspaper: The Greenville News and Asheville Citizen-Times, owned by Gannett, and the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, part of the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group. The smaller radio metro (ranked No. 58) includes only Greenville and Spartanburg.

Sometimes called Charlanta for its growth extending along the Interstate 85 corridor to Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, Greenville is booming. The TV DMA gained 7,760 TV households (up 0.9 percent) and is expected to overtake Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Columbus, Ohio, in the next few years. A former textile town, the new economy of G-S/A includes the headquarters for Michelin, BMW’s only auto assembly plant in North America, GE Energy and the Greenville Hospital System and University Medical Center.

WYFF, Hearst Television’s NBC affiliate based in Greenville, is the news leader in every daypart except at noon and late news, where ratings took a beating from the weak Jay Leno Show lead-in at 10 p.m. Providing coverage of all three markets, the station also provides weather for a network of 24 radio stations in the area and for The Greenville News, one of the three largest papers in S.C. WSPA-TV, Media General’s CBS affiliate based in Spartanburg, ranks No. 1 in late news and at noon, but second at other times. Media General also owns CW affiliate WYCW for the only duopoly in the market.

Asheville-based WLOS, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s ABC affiliate, has carved a new niche out of catering solely to Asheville as “Western North Carolina’s News Leader.” Even with its editorial niche, the station is in a close ratings race with WSPA. Meredith’s Fox affiliate, WHNS, entered the early-news race in 2008 with a 6:30 p.m. newscast, providing a local alternative to network news. In addition, the station offers four hours of local news in the morning and is the ratings leader for its 10 p.m. newscast. WHNS also provides weather and some news for WORD-AM/WYLD-FM, Entercom Communication’s Talk simulcast.

The three biggest radio owners in the market—Cox Radio, Entercom and Clear Channel—have clearly defined radio format positions. Rankings among the top-rated radio stations, however, shifted some with the recently released fall 2009 ratings, which for the first time included cell-phone-only households. But Cox’s award-winning Urban Adult Contemporary station, WJMZ-FM, held onto the top-rated spot in all demos for the eighth consecutive survey period. Sister station WHZT-FM added nearly two share points to its results to come in No. 6, following Cox’s decision to begin simulcasting the Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio format on the 94.1 frequency in Spartanburg. Clear Channel’s two Country stations, WSSL-FM and WESC-FM, were No. 2 and No. 3, followed by sister Adult Contemporary station WMYI-FM. Entercom’s Talk simulcast was No. 5.

The radio stations partnered with the area’s Chambers of Commerce last spring to create GoodNewsUpstate.com to boost consumer confidence. All the stations air at least one announcement per daypart.

Augusta, Ga.-based Fairway Outdoor Advertising is the exclusive out-of-home operator in the market with 3,324 faces in Gastonia, S.C., and Asheville. In Greenville, Fairway has two digital boards and another in Anderson.

Vital Stats

TV DMA Rank: 36
Population 2-plus: 2,039,502
TV Households: 865,810
TV Stations (Net/Ind/Multicast/Public): 7/2/1/4
Wired Cable Households: 426,090
Radio Metro Rank: 58
Population 6-plus: 878,200
Radio Stations (rated): 46
Newspapers (Daily/Weekly): 11/25