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The San Bernardino / Riverside DMA


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#1 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 11:04 AM

The metropolitan area around the cities of San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ontario, CA has roughly 1.1 million people. It is centered roughly 50 miles from Los Angeles and throughout much of the region, analog OTA reception is only possible by putting an antenna up 15 or 20 feet above the roof.

Yet, for whatever reasons this area is not a "DMA" as defined by Nielsen. If it were, it would be in the top 50, just below Memphis and far above other regions with thriving television presences.

The Inland Empire region, as it is called, is home to a large international airport, Air Reserve base, two thriving minor league baseball teams, the nation's largest flood-control system, the largest rail yard in the west, and four major freeways. But, it is home to zero network television affiliates (except one PBS station).

The Los Angeles DMA extends far further than one could reasonably get a TV signal. If you look here, the LA DMA isn't the biggest one, but it does go far further than the 60 mile radius in which you could reasonably get signals. Trust me, no one in Blythe is picking up anything OTA.

However, unlike the Death Valley communities, the Inland Empire thrives and pulses. Long considered declassé by the LA and Orange County elite, it nonetheless has commerce and industry and, as I said, over a million people who are not served by local networks.

If I may take a moment, I'll explain that last statement. DIRECTV, Dish, verizon, Charter, Comcast, and Time Warner all provide Inland Empire natives with Los Angeles programming. We're not out of luck when we want to watch American Idol. Not only that, ATSC has made it possible for me to get 26 channels over the air. I shouldn't be complaining. I generally don't, unless...

In 2003, a fire scorched about 100,000 acres and destroyed close to 1,000 homes. The news media didn't cover it until it had been going on for three days.

A local city with over 90,000 laid off several hundred teachers, apparently needlessly, as incorrect accounting at the school district created the impression of a budget crisis. The LA media covered a school district in Los Angeles county that laid off ten.

Recently, a 4.0 earthquake hit, centered a few miles from my home. The news media got this one, but mispronounced the name of the city in which I live (which is not exactly hard to pronounce.)

Every day there is important and interesting news. I know this because my region has three thriving newspapers. I can get American Idol on TV, but if I want to know about the recent corruption scandal in a neighboring city of 50,000 people, I read the paper or go to the internet.

DMAs are intended, in part, to allow broadcasters to serve the public trust, a charter they take on by agreeing to lease the public airwaves. A DMA this big with so many to serve is impossible. The news institutions can't be everywhere. Still, they are right on the spot when someone flicks a bic in Griffith Park but are nowhere to be found when fire sweeps into a densely-populated area of San Bernardino.

I don't know for sure why the Inland Empire is considered part of the LA DMA. I don't want to accuse the networks of trying to bolster ad sales or discourage competition. It would be unfair to assume that without knowing the facts, so I can only wonder.

In a way I'm glad I get LA locals, as I have HD programming and high-quality locally-produced programs. I get the Rose Parade in HD, and if the networks had anything decent on right now, I'd get that too. My pleasure at getting HD signals from Mount Wilson disappears though, when drive-by shootings in a nearby city don't even merit a mention, or when a struggling local restaurant is ignored by the LA food critic.

Over a million people. Not one local newscast on broadcast TV.

Over a million people. Not one local newscast on broadcast TV. Yes, I repeated that on purpose. I bet that at least one of the seven broadcasters in Casper, Wyoming, population 50,000, has a local newscast.

Sorry, just needed to get that off my chest.
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#2 OFFLINE   Tower Guy

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 11:18 AM

Over a million people. Not one local newscast on broadcast TV.


There are a handfull of such situations in the US.

Meanwhile, you can get local video at www.pe.com. Video on the web will keep these unique businesses healthy.

#3 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 11:23 AM

Absolutely agreed, Tower Guy. I go to that website frequently.
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#4 OFFLINE   damjr

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 12:42 PM

Amen brother !!!! I too live in the IE and this has been a major pain in my craw for a while now.

At least Temecula is trying to get a local news station off the ground. Still needs a little work though.

We seem to be in the "arm pit" of So Cal. Stuck between San Diego and LA demographics. Just as much, if not more, events happen in the IE as LA but no one seems to care.:nono2:

#5 OFFLINE   dbconsultant

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 10:34 AM

Amen brother !!!! I too live in the IE and this has been a major pain in my craw for a while now.

At least Temecula is trying to get a local news station off the ground. Still needs a little work though.

We seem to be in the "arm pit" of So Cal. Stuck between San Diego and LA demographics. Just as much, if not more, events happen in the IE as LA but no one seems to care.:nono2:


Agreed! I end up listening to LA's KNX 1070 when I leave the house in the morning to find out whether there are any highway closing accidents in my area (usually they happen around the border checkpoint). I also use pe.com's website if anything local happens but they don't even cover the area very well. I end up wondering, "What was going on over on 79S where there were 10 police cars and only one regular car stopped?"

And how many times have you heard someone pronounce it "Timmy-cool-ah"!?!:lol:

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#6 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 10:51 AM

Oh, forget about traffic. The running gag among my friends is that the local traffic reporters are reading stuff from yesterday.
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#7 OFFLINE   Upstream

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 01:33 PM

Stuart -- The bulk of the population of that region is 35-60 miles from Los Angeles. LA is not the only large market to swallow up significant nearby markets.


Central New Jersey (Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Mercer counties) has about 2.5 million people. Eight of the Fortune 500 companies have their worldwide headquarters here (that's more than 30 states), and dozens more have significant operations here. If it were its own DMA, it would be in the top 25, just above Baltimore.

Central New Jersey is almost completely ignored by the New York media even though it is mostly part of the New York DMA (Mercer County is part of the Philadelphia DMA, and is ignored by Philadelphia media).

At least in San Bernardino, the LA media is in the same state, so at least get statewide news coverage. In Central New Jersey, we get news from Albany and Harrisburg.

#8 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 01:38 PM

Upstream, I know the area of which you speak. I lived in Lakewood for a short while and still have family in Bloomfield... You're right that central NJ should be its own market as well.

Now, as to the characterization that at least I'm getting news from the same state, in fairness it's a lot bigger state.
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#9 OFFLINE   Upstream

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 07:26 PM

It is a bigger state, but at least you get to see news about your Governor or the people running for Senate. The only time NJ's Governor got on TV was when he had a car accident.

But although Central Jersey or the Inland Empire are much bigger markets than most markets around the country, they still get dwarfed and consumed by NY and LA.

#10 OFFLINE   rcodey

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 12:13 AM

NY and Philadelphia tv coverage of New Jersey is a joke allowed by the FCC.

#11 OFFLINE   Cokeswigga

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 04:51 PM

Yeah... being in the LA DMA has both advantages and disadvantages:

1.) We get a LOT of TV stations including HD OTA for every major network.
2.) We get a LOT of TV stations from a great transmission location.... it's high up on mountain. Unless they put IE DMA channels on Mt San Jacinto.. I don't see anything better coming.

3.) LA stations don't cover much of Inland Empire...except FOX11 but its not the best coverage... they have 1 IE reporter.

4.) Local stations are Low Power KZSW ... and it's Analog... my Dish 622 doesn't get analog signals... :(

The biggest complaint about the IE is that there are NO true local channels.. execpt for the little startups.. but they have HUGE competition from LA channels with virtually no "compelling" programming
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#12 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 12:56 AM

I empathize with you all. As near as I can tell from my TV news, the Northern California Redwood Coast where I live doesn't exist except for the occasional tongue in cheek marijuana story or a fluffy wine country tourism feature. So far since mid-June we've had over 100,000 acres burn in Mendocino and Humboldt counties, threatening old growth redwood preserves such as Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Montgomery Woods State Reserve. The 15 choppers that flew over my house every day for a month did not include a news chopper from anywhere, much less from the SFO stations in whose DMA this area is included for no known reason. The only time we got coverage is when one of our local firefighter died, and that got coverage only because the Guvernator paid tribute.:confused:

#13 OFFLINE   rnbmusicfan

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 06:39 AM

Upstream, I know the area of which you speak. I lived in Lakewood for a short while and still have family in Bloomfield... You're right that central NJ should be its own market as well.

Now, as to the characterization that at least I'm getting news from the same state, in fairness it's a lot bigger state.


I think its where in Central NJ that makes a difference. Mercer County gets great local TV coverage.

a. Because Trenton is in it.
b. Mercer County is in Philadelphia DMA; The Philly TV stations cover the NJ side of their DMA well, and often news from outside its DMA borders seeps in (Lancaster Co. PA, Cecil Co., MD and the Central NJ counties when its big news and/or relevant to the adjacent county).
c. WPVI 6 has a Trenton newsborough.

I believe there is a lower power local outlet WZBN as well. NJN news also.

On cable, isn't there Cablevision's News 12 NJ based in Edison? Last I checked, while it wasn't as professional as a local station serving Baltimore, MD, it has news and traffic for the area. While I think some of the NJ issues may not be reported, you won't have a natural disaster (earthquake, large fire) not being reported. Atleast, the Philly stations would report it as ancillary for this market.

And, WWOR 9 News is supposed to be NJ oriented. Hah, I know it may not, but there was that whole issue when Fox wanted to consolidate the studios with WNYW 5 but it was denied.

Also, I don't think this is exactly similar to the CA situation. Yeah, politically NJ gets shortchanged and the Northern and Central side of New Jersey may get as well from the NYC stations. But, its still part of the NY metro. Geographically flat, one can get the NYC signals without problem. You still have thousands taking NJ Transit into the City. Northern NJ's economy is also situated because of its proximity and ties to NYC.

#14 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 01:03 PM

There was just a magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Chino, in San Bernardino County. I wonder if the Los Angeles media will even notice.
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#15 OFFLINE   Upstream

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 01:23 PM

Stuart -- Hope you and yours are OK. CNN is reporting it as an earthquake in Los Angeles.

#16 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 01:37 PM

Yeah, of course they are, because there is no civilization outside of LA County, right?

Don't worry all, it was surprising but there was no damage. Didn't even knock anything off the desk.
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#17 OFFLINE   damjr

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 01:41 PM

Yeah, of course they are, because there is no civilization outside of LA County, right?

Don't worry all, it was surprising but there was no damage. Didn't even knock anything off the desk.



Rocked and rolled here in Corona. We almost lost all our racks in the warehouse.
Just a few thousand Dish receivers and LG TV's. Luckily everything made it through OK.

My CSR lost a lot of water from her little fish tank and that seems to be the only casualty so far.

#18 OFFLINE   Upstream

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 01:54 PM

because there is no civilization outside of LA County, right?


Some of us would say there is no civilization inside LA County. ;-)


Good to hear you're OK.

#19 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 04:14 PM

Ah yes, another thing we have in common - the San Andreas and all its various adjacent smaller cousins. Glad to hear there was minimal damage.

#20 OFFLINE   vertex11

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 12:58 PM

I love your part of the state, phrelin. Most people in So Cal think the California redwoods are all in and around Sequoia and Yosemite. We stayed near your beautiful Humboldt redwoods park last summer and it is amazing. Yes, the economy isn't flourishing and yes some interesting hippies seem to be very visible in your neck of the woods, but us So Cal'ers have those issues too -- its just that our megalopolis make it less noticeable.

I hope the fires are diminishing up there. The one thing that freaked me and my wife out last year when visiting -- how can they possibly allow Red Devil fireworks stands in your little towns around the 4th of July?? We were and are fearful that so much beauty may be lost at any time.

By the way, aren't you the last holdout town refusing the freeway? I love stopping in your town for just that reason (traffic on your main route is bad and we like to take a break if we have to sit in or near our cars anyway)


I empathize with you all. As near as I can tell from my TV news, the Northern California Redwood Coast where I live doesn't exist except for the occasional tongue in cheek marijuana story or a fluffy wine country tourism feature. So far since mid-June we've had over 100,000 acres burn in Mendocino and Humboldt counties, threatening old growth redwood preserves such as Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Montgomery Woods State Reserve. The 15 choppers that flew over my house every day for a month did not include a news chopper from anywhere, much less from the SFO stations in whose DMA this area is included for no known reason. The only time we got coverage is when one of our local firefighter died, and that got coverage only because the Guvernator paid tribute.:confused:






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