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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

How We're Changing; Shrinking TV Market Is Another Sign, Plus: A Reader Critiques Susana: Does She Lead Or Just Blame? And: The Kids Of Gatorgate  


There are all kinds of tell-tale signs of how New Mexico has dramatically changed in the past five years as a result of the brutal beating from the Bear Market. Here's another one:

In the fall of 2008 the NM television market--as measured by the Nielsen ratings service--ranked 44th in the nation. Flash forward to 2013 and we have dropped to #47. There are over 200 rated TV markets in the USA.

The up, up and away years rarely, if ever, saw NM slip in this ranking. After all, we were a booming Sun Belt state where the sky was the limit. Well, welcome to the sky.

Nielsen says there were 689,120 NM TV households in 2008. Five years later and the growth has been minuscule. Today we have 691,450. That stagnation has allowed faster growing states to climb past NM. (We have not heard of any geographic changes in the TV market that would account for our loss).

Media pros celebrated when the NM TV market--which comprises most of the state except for Dona Ana County and other select areas--muscled itself into the top 50 markets in the USA. That meant more ad revenue and recognition. Going forward the pros are just hoping we can stay in the top 50.

NO MORE SWINGIN'

In addition to a stagnant economy that has slowed household formations here, another problem the major NM TV stations face is the loss of our status as a "swing state" in presidential and congressional elections. The stations reaped millions in extra revenues in 2008 and before, but that collapsed in 2012 when it became clear New Mexico is now a blue state for national elections and issues. Besides lost revenue in the presidential year, the stations also lose money because it appears the ABQ congressional seat will no longer be hotly contested by the GOP.

Looking ahead to 2014, the NM Senate race will generate TV ad revenue, but nothing that will grab you by the collar. Dem Tom Udall is a heavy favorite. Little national money will be spent to take him out. As for all those Super PAC's promoting various issues, the stations could get a slice of that in election years, but nothing like they would have if we were a swing state.

It's difficult to assess the economic impact of the lost TV ad revenue here because the affiliates of the three major networks--KOB, KRQE and KOAT are owned by national corporations. At a minimum it probably means in the years ahead the local stations will not be adding jobs.

Also, the resale value of the TV properties here have likely declined because of the drying up of national political revenue. The NYT explores that topic.

A CRITIQUE

Our coverage of emailgate and assorted other controversies in the Martinez administration has drawn reader email in recent weeks. Much of it has been critical of the administration--especially its refusal to hand over travel records of Chuck Franco, Martinez's husband who took a controversial Louisiana hunting trip in 2011. Here's one reader critique we found compelling:

Dear Joe, Thank you for your relentless coverage of the First Gentleman's controversial trip to Louisiana.  The opacity of this "transparent" administration becomes more apparent by the minute. (all puns intended). The latest ding to the Martinez armor is her ranking as one of the worst job creators.

 As usual, she assigns the blame to circumstances she claims are beyond her control--in this case Washington.  So far, I have not seen anyone address her pattern, or maybe even her policy, of blame rather than real leadership.

It's the Feds.  It's the Dems. It's the left-wing union-lovers. It's the disgruntled former campaign staffers.  And it's still (former Governor) Richardson.  Isn't this all getting a bit old? She's a bit of a whiner, isn't she?   Not much of a problem-solver, is she?  Her policies and actions seem to be more about revenge, vindication, and blame.  She seems incapable of accepting responsibility.  Are these the qualities of a leader?

Even her buddies at the ABQ Journal are struggling to keep up the rosy aura.  They cover her little victories. The latest is the Silver Alert which is a good thing but hardly a job creator or demonstration of transparency.  She visited with firefighters but that is to be expected.  These get the front page when the darker stuff, if covered at all, is thrown into the Metro section.  I'm sure this has not escaped your notice.

 I am baffled that she chooses to focus her efforts on undermining or dismantling anything that smacks of the "Richardson Legacy" or any kind of Democrat influence, rather than building upon them, and quite possibly eclipsing anything he started, thus creating her own legacy of prosperity for the state.  The film industry and the Rail Runner, for example, are potential job creators, economic boosters, tourism builders, and means of revenue outside of federal and state government....

KIDS OF GATORGATE 

Reader Ginny Harmon writes:

Mr. Monahan, your analysis of Gatorgate is exceptional. No one else is doing work like this as far as I can tell.

I have a question that you should ask your readers. I understand that two children of the two state policemen accompanying Franco also traveled on this "vacation" to Louisiana. Since this was deemed official travel because First Gentleman Chuck Franco was on the trip, then is it not unacceptable for these children of the state policemen to have been on this trip? What would the state's liability be had something happened to these kids while traveling?

Also, why is the "First Gentleman" worthy of this kind of protection, but the state's lieutenant governor doesn't get a single officer assigned to him? Seems to me his life is worth more to the people of NM than the spouse of the governor.

Thanks, Ginny. Good questions. The newspaper reported:

The officers each brought along a 12-year-old son, (State Police Chief) Shilling said. The boys traveled to Louisiana with the officers in the state SUV but were cared for by other family members or friends upon arrival, he said.

And another reader writes of Gatorgate:

Joe, I checked with a high ranking staffer for former Governor Richardson who knew about the travel of first lady Barbara Richardson. He said that Barbara traveled all the time without security--on both state and personal business.

A ZINGER

Reader Ellen Wedum--an active Dem--writes this of the administration's refusal to release the records for Chuck Franco's Louisiana hunting trip:

The administration says "security" is the reason for not giving up those records. If Governor Martinez means her political security, she is right.

ANOTHER ZINGER

A white powdery substance was found in a letter at Governor Martinez's office Monday, causing an evacuation of the Fourth Floor. The substance has been found to be harmless but to be certain the powder will be turned over to the FBI for more tests. Hey, while they're at it, maybe they can check out Gatorgate, the Downs deal and emailgate?

GOVERNOR CARGO

Funeral arrangements have been announced for former NM Governor Dave Cargo who died Friday at the age of 84:

Governor Cargo will lie in state in the Rotunda of the New Mexico State Capitol in Santa Fe on Thursday, July 11, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. A Memorial Service will follow in the Rotunda at 4:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, July 12, 2013, 10:00 a.m., at Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, 131 Cathedral Pl., Santa Fe. He will be laid to rest in Santa Fe National Cemetery following Mass. Memorial contributions may be made to the New Mexico Library Foundation, P.O. Box 30572, Albuquerque, NM 87109-0572 or “Friends of” your local library. Please visit our online guestbook for Governor Cargo at French Funerals.

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