Market Profile: Sacramento, Calif.

California’s capital is still digging out of the recession, crippled by an unemployment rate that is higher than the state average—it’s expected to reach 13.5 percent this year. Housing foreclosures remain an issue. A lot of national advertising still hasn’t returned to the market.

Although Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto may take longer to come around than others, there are glimmers of recovery. Political promises to boost media coffers with a lively governor’s race, a Senate race, and the usual complement of ballot initiatives.

TV stations have settled in with local people meters, which tightened up the ratings race but had little effect on the rankings. KCRA, Hearst Television’s NBC affiliate, continues its dominance of local news ratings at noon, as well as in early and late news. The station also airs news on its duopoly partner, MyNetworkTV affiliate KQCA, which ranks No. 2 in mornings (7-9 a.m.) and is within striking distance at 10 p.m. of No. 1-ranked KOVR, CBS’ owned and operated outlet, and KTXL, Tribune’s Fox affiliate. KCRA also provides weather reports for Clear Channel Radio, which has seven local stations.

CBS leverages its duopoly position with KOVR and KMAX, the CW affiliate, by airing 66
hours of local programming. Good Day Sacramento, the top-rated morning news program now in its 14th year, airs on KMAX. KOVR bucks tradition by beginning prime time an hour earlier and early news at 4 p.m. The duopoly also takes advantage of other CBS-owned outlets in the market. Sports KHTK-AM is setting up a camera at KOVR to have its personalities appear on air, while the TV outlet does weather cut-ins for CBS Radio’s five stations in the market. There are other plans to share both video and audio.

Univision O&O KUVS bests both KCRA and KOVR in early and late news in delivery of adults 18-49. In the morning KUVS, and its duopoly partner KTFK, the Telefutura O&O, split the broadcast of A Primera Hora (First Hour) with KUVS airing the first hour (6-7 a.m.) and KTFK airing the second hour (7-8). KXTV, Gannett’s ABC affiliate, generally ranks in third place. The station used to have the broadcast rights to the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, but last year Comcast Sportsnet tool over the rights. The only new newscasts in the market were introduced by KTXL. Last September, the station debuted an 11 a.m. newscast to compete with KXTV and a 5:30 p.m. newscast.

Radio stations got their first portable people meter ratings last October, but the move did not generate any dramatic shifts in the rankings. Entercom Communications has three of the top five stations, including No. 1-ranked Rock KRXQ-FM, Contemporary Hit Radio KDND-FM (No. 3) and Classic Rock KSEG-FM (No. 4.). Talk remains big in the market, topped by the station that launched Rush Limbaugh, Clear Channel’s KFBK-AM, one of the most powerful signals in the U.S.

As part of a deal last April between CBS and Clear Channel involving seven stations in six markets, Adult Hits KQJK-FM became part of CC’s portfolio, giving the group seven stations in the market. CBS Radio still has four stations, topped by No. 5-ranked Soft Adult Contemporary KYMX-FM.

Financially-strapped McClatchy, owner of The Sacramento Bee and The Modesto Bee, has initiated a number of cost savings moves over the past year, most recently cutting 25 jobs in January on top of 128 eliminated last year. The company also recently reached a deal with its lenders to secure more time to pay down about $2 billion in debt. Online paper The Sacramento Press, meanwhile, operates the Sacramento Local Online Network, which reps inventory for 30 local sites.

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