Charlotte area's growth makes it nation's 24th largest TV market

Charlotte moved up a notch in the media world Thursday, rising to No. 24 nationally in the size of its television market.

Nielsen Co. said the Charlotte region added 40,000 households in the last year, overtaking Baltimore, formerly No. 24.

Strong population growth and a decline in Rust Belt markets has been driving Charlotte's ascendance. In 2000, Charlotte was ranked No. 28. Charlotte's market is 22 counties from the Virginia border to Chester, S.C.

“Stations love it, especially when you pop into the top 25,” said Richard Halliburton, president of the American Advertising Federation Charlotte and senior media buyer at Specialized Media Services. “It gives them the go-ahead to push the rates up.”

Charlotte stations have probably gained advertising from national and regional advertisers as a result of entering the top 25 last year, but it is tough to quantify because of the sluggish ad market, said Joseph Pomilla, general manager of WSOC (Channel 9), Charlotte's top-rated TV station. In just two years, he said, Charlotte's households have grown by 7 percent.

“That further indicates to advertisers that it's a good place to put their dollars for growth,” he said.

Other Carolinas markets, in strong Sun Belt growth markets, showed gains too. Raleigh-Durham moved up one notch to No. 27, Columbia advanced two spots to No. 79, Charleston gained one notch to No. 99. Greenville, N.C.-New Bern rose two notches to No. 103 and Wilmington moved up one spot to No. 134.