Market Profile: San Francisco

Though struggling with a high unemployment rate of 12.3 percent, the Bay Area, which includes the major cities of Oakland and San Jose, is recovering and growing thanks to a large percentage of high-income households, Silicon Valley’s high-tech firms and an infusion of venture capital.

At 20 percent of the population and estimated to grow at 10.7 percent over the next five years, the Hispanic community is expanding faster than the general market’s 5.3 percent growth, per IHS Global Insight. And although it’s the seventh largest Hispanic radio market and the ninth largest Hispanic TV market, Bay Area Hispanic household income is the highest of the major U.S. Hispanic markets and 28 percent greater than the U.S. Hispanic household average.

Where most markets have four TV stations with full-time news operations, the San Francisco market has five: KPIX-TV, CBS’ owned-and-operated station; KGO-TV, ABC’s O&O; KNTV, NBCU’s O & O (in San Jose); KTVU, Cox Media’s Fox affiliate (in Oakland); and KRON, New Young Broadcasting’s MyNetworkTV affiliate, which programs 60 hours of news a week. Factor in news programmed on the duopolies owned by KPIX and KTVU, plus Univision Communications’ KDTV, and it adds up to a highly saturated news market.

KTVU tends to come out on top of the ratings in Adults 25-54 in all news day parts, including its late news at 10 p.m., which bests the 11 p.m. newscasts. However, KPIX’s 11 p.m. news goes neck and neck in Adults 25-54 with KTVU’s 10 p.m. late news.

For the first time, KDTV, which routinely beats the Anglo newscasts at 6 and 11 p.m. in younger demos, beat the Anglo newscasts at 11 p.m. in Adults 25-54. (The TV station is the official Spanish-language station for Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants.)

Overall, KTVU’s dominance begins at 5  a.m., even though three stations —KGO and KNTV at 4:30 a.m. and KRON at 4 a.m.—get a head start. KGO, which is close to KTVU in early news at 5 and 6 p.m., has claimed a win in households for its 5 p.m. news since 1994, a total of 48 sweeps. In September, KGO will launch an hour-long live, local show on weekdays at 3 p.m. replacing The View From the Bay, which leads into Oprah at 4 p.m.

San Francisco’s news appetite carries over to radio, where four of the top five stations program News and Talk, led by KCBS-AM, CBS Radio’s News station. KCBS, like all  CBS’ six radio stations, are co-located with KPIX and share resources. In September, the radio group and TV station will launch a converged Web site, similar to the one recently launched in New York. As of last year, KCBS has knocked KGO-AM, Citadel Broadcasting’s News/Talk station, out of the top spot into fourth place, ending KGO’s run at No. 1 since 1978.

The digitally savvy market is home to CBS Radio’s Jelli experiment on (KITS-FM),  a digital version of an all-request format. At the beginning of the year, CBS expanded the program from Sunday evenings to weekday evenings. The radio broadcast rights to the Oakland Raiders changed hands in March to CBS Radio from KSFO-AM, Citadel’s Talk station, which will simulcast the games on Modern Rock KITS-FM and Oldies KFRC-AM.

Adding some pizzazz to otherwise dull newsprint, the San Francisco Chronicle, owned by Hearst, began in Nov. to print its front page, the fronts of some sections and selected inside pages on glossy paper. It’s the first paper in the nation to go glossy in an attempt to attract more readers (circulation is down 22.7 percent to 241,330) and advertisers. In March, the paper launched a collaboration with Bloomberg for business news and now claims it has begun making a profit after losing millions in recent years. Its Web site ( is the ninth most popular newspaper Web site in the country, per Nielsen Online.