We got some bad news in the television industry this fall: the Hartford/New Haven market has fallen to its lowest ranking ever. Nielsen (the ratings people) have declared we are now the 30th biggest TV market in the country…larger than Providence and San Antonio, but now smaller than Nashville and Charlotte.
When I started at WFSB in 1992, this was the 23rd market in the country, and Al and Denise remember when it was market 21. Hartford and New Haven were different places 16 years ago. Both had department stores downtown. The New Haven coliseum and the Hartford Civic Center were hosting concerts. The Whalers and yes the Celtics played in Hartford, and on your way to the game you could shop at the GAP.
Since then, our area has seen very little growth. Cities like Baltimore, San Diego and Phoenix saw population grow, in some cases at our expense. A smaller market size impedes our ability to attract a major league sports team, attract young talented professionals and it can negatively impact the economy, certainly for the media!
What’s next? We’ll probably drop some more. Kansas City and Columbus are nipping at our heels.
Oh, and that smaller market where I “trained” to come to Hartford? Grand Rapids is now market 39.