San Francisco

The San Francisco market, which includes Oakland and San Jose, is home to Silicon Valley’s big players—Apple, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard—as well as iconic American brands such as Gap, Levi Strauss & Co. and Williams-Sonoma. But the recession and housing bust have hit the market hard. Local media outlets hoping for better times in 2010 are banking on strong political business with the state governor’s race, two mayoral races in San Francisco and Oakland, a U.S. Senate seat, and, since it’s California, the inevitable propositions.

Competition among the five general-market TV stations is tightening. KGO, ABC Television’s owned-and-operated outlet, is teetering at the top of the news ratings heap. Its winning streak in early news at 5 p.m. was snapped recently by KTVU, Cox Television’s Fox affiliate, which also is the top revenue leader, per BIA. (KTVU also dominates mornings.) At 6 p.m., KGO remains No. 1, followed closely by KTVU and KPIX, CBS Television’s O&O. KDTV, Univision Communications’ O&O, also offers news at 6 p.m. Among all late newscasts at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., KTVU leads by a wide margin in adults 25-54. KNTV, NBC Universal’s O&O, tops the 11 p.m. newscasts in total viewers, followed by KPIX and KGO. Running a consistent fourth place in news is MyNetworkTV affiliate KRON, which airs 11 hours of news daily.

Several TV stations produce newscasts for other outlets: KGO produces a 9 p.m. newscast for independent KOFY; KPIX produces a 10 p.m. newscast for duopoly partner, CW affiliate KBCW; and KTVU produces a 7 p.m. newscast on its duopoly sibling, independent KICU.

Five of the six top-rated radio stations are News, Talk or Sports. The only music outlet in the top ranks is Adult Contemporary KOIT-FM, owned by Entercom Communications. For 30 years, KGO-AM, Citadel Broadcasting’s News/Talk station, was the ratings leader, until KCBS-AM, CBS Radio’s News outlet (boosted by a simulcast on KRFC-FM since last fall), broke KGO’s winning streak in January by a tenth of a point. A month later, KGO was back on top.  

CBS and Clear Channel, both big radio owners in the market, also offer extensive out-of-home coverage. CBS Outdoor operates four digital billboards at prime locations, while Clear Channel Outdoor’s portfolio includes wallscapes, taxi media, transit shelters, news racks and the airport. Titan Worldwide holds most of the major transit contracts, including AC Transit, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).

The 144-year-old Hearst-owned San Francisco Chronicle continues to struggle, losing $50 million last year. Earlier this year, Hearst said it might fold or sell the paper if it couldn’t cut costs significantly. Since then, the paper has cut about 150 positions. To further offset costs, it unveiled a redesign in February, combining sections for a total of four, aiding in the move to a single printing facility.

There may be new competition in the wings for area papers, which include The Oakland Tribune and the San Jose Mercury News. Financier Warren Hellman is reportedly set to invest in and launch next year a nonprofit journalism venture online, which is looking to partner with KQED (PBS TV and NPR radio) and The New York Times.

Vital Stats:

TV DMA Rank: 6
Population 2-plus: 6,611,710   
TV Households: 2,503,400
TV Stations (Net/Ind/Multicast/Public): 6/21/10/9
Wired Cable Households: 1,663,070
Radio Metro Rank: 4
Population 6-plus: 6,013,700
Radio Stations (rated): 76
Newspapers (Daily/Weekly): 18/47

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Publish date: October 6, 2009 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT