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Group at odds over TV ads

The Brookings City Council was forced to break a tie among the members of its Tourism and Marketing Advisory Committee, who could not agree in a heated discussion last week which Medford-based TV channel might be best on which to advertise.

The nine-member committee – now down to about six due to attrition and lack of steady attendance – was appointed by the council to develop ideas about the best ways to attract visitors to the city. 

Among one of its considerations was television advertising in the Rogue  Valley, from where the majority of visitors originate.

The committee evaluated the merits of two channels – 12, which in Medford, is ABC with call letters of KDRV; and 5, which is NBC with call letters KOBI – regarding price, the number of advertising spots offered and quality before voting 4-2 in favor of Channel 12, Candice Michel told city councilors at a meeting Monday night.

But tourism member Tim Patterson called the city the next day to say he’d changed his mind, forcing the vote into a tie. 

“The discussion was very heated, very passionate,” Michel said. “To say we did not reach a consensus would be putting it mildly.”

Michel sided with Channel 5, said she was impressed with the quality of advertising and that it reaches 242,000 households. Channel 12, on the other hand, reaches 181,000 households.

“We don’t even need a large percentage of that difference to make a big difference in Brookings,” Michel said. “The quality is wonderful, it’s exciting, it keeps you glued to the TV. I don’t feel the same way about Channel 12.”

With Channel 5, Michel noted, the city would also get a news crawler at the bottom of TV screens, be part of Channel 5’s “5-on-5” interviews with local characters and have more news, feature and weather stories covered from the Brookings area.

“I’ve been in TV for years,” Michel said. “I know what works and what doesn’t.”

Joe Willett, also on the tourism committee, said the city would get 30 advertising spots on Channel 5, compared to 20 with Channel 12.

“The numbers are what impressed me,” he said. “If they’re No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings, that’s pretty hot stuff.”

He said he was amenable to changing his mind, if for nothing else, than to get started before the tourism season is in full swing.

“Time is of the essence,” he said. “We need to get something on the air. We’ve already missed deadlines, and we’re two weeks from Azalea Festival. The clock is ticking.”

“I’m not a big fan of this type of advertising to start with,” said Councilor McClain. “I’d kind of like to see the tourism committee work this out.”

“The lines are pretty well drawn,” Michel noted of the committee’s vote. “No one in favor of Channel 5 will change their vote.”

Because the tourism committee is merely an advisory board, the city can override its decisions. The council decided to accept Willett’s change of heart and opt with Channel 5.

“I’m not surprised we’re breaking this tie,” said Mayor Ron Hedenskog. “If you ask eight people who are making a tourism decision a question, you’ll get eight different answers. I think 5 is the best offer. And I happen to like Channel 5.” 

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