Out in the hinterlands

I caught up with a former co-worker who was taking care of some business down in Tupelo, MS. My friend Jack and I worked together in Jackson, TN back in the early 80’s. He was sports director, I produced and anchored the news at WBBJ. Later, we worked together in southwest Florida. I always enjoy visiting with Jack and he invited me down to Tupelo as he was meeting with some folks at WTVA-TV. I flew down (a 45 minute flight versus a two hour drive) and actually tagged along with Jack and was introduced to the news director, the chief engineer and the IT guy at the station. Super nice folks and I had forgotten how much more relaxed the environment appeared to be at a smaller station. I’ve worked my share of stations in markets 70 and smaller and some were better than others. One thing I learned a long time ago, when it comes to TV stations, size doesn’t matter when it comes to markets. I’ve seen some crappy stuff cranked out in larger markets and have seen some quality cranked out in the smaller ones. Plus, I think TV stations in the Memphis area would kill for the numbers that the stations pull down in the Tupelo market. I did find in interesting that Comcast, which operates the cable system in Tupelo and will soon take over Time Warner in Memphis, pulled WREG and WHBQ off the Tupelo cable. According to the news director down there, they left WMC on which suprised me since WTVA is an NBC affiliate. And the news director also commented that Comcast hates WTVA.
Anyway, nice folks down that way although I will have to say I’ve never been at a station where there’s a cemetery out the back door. Jack suggested that’s where they put old anchors. Perhaps that’s where they should steer consultants.

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2 Comments on “Out in the hinterlands”

  1. Average Guy Says:

    Joe,
    Most likely WMC remains on the cable because they are “significantly viewed” in that market. An antiquated FCC rule allows stations from outside the market to be carried by the cable system if the viewer levels show that station pulls a certain percentage (I’m not real sure of the hard number) of TV HH. Obviously as powerful as WMC has been form 30 years (since Dave Brown left WHBQ and went to WMC to do weather and wrestling), they fall into the criteria. I’d imagine WREG and WHBQ do not.

    The GM

  2. Average Guy Says:

    As an addendum, the local stations can demand that the cable system remove any outside market station of the same affiliation under the network exclusivity clause. However, the cable system can ignore that request if the outside the market station is “significantly viewed”. Thus the reason WMC is on and WREG and WHBQ are off.

    The GM


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