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A Bend in the TV picture

Not many local TV markets have been really transformed by key station additions in the last couple of decades; not many have grown from small one-station markets to full-blown competition between all the major contenders.

According to today’s Bend Bulletin, it’s happening in Central Oregon – the first palce to close from minor t0 middle market status in the Northwest in a couple of decades.

KTVZ-TV, which has been an affiliate of NBC, long has been the only important TV player there. Bend residents get the other nets from their Portland affiliates via satellite or cable. The only other local Bend station is KFXO-FOX, a Fox affiliate without local news. KTVZ for years has been walloping it, taking about 84%-16% of local viewership in the ratings.

But on April 17 KFXO is planning to launch local news, which should increase their share somewhat.

Maybe more significantly, Chambers Communications Corporation of Eugene (which runs KEZI9 ABC – Eugene, KDKF31 ABC – Klamath Falls, and KDRV12 ABC – Medford) was reported as planning a new station – presumably, given its other assets, an ABC affiliate – for Bend. If that happens, can CBS be far behind?

All this may have some domino effects, with the reach of Portland broadcast media considerably abbreviated in eastern Oregon. This is worth watching closely.

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