Previously, I wrote about how Nick Belardes is pushing a very web-centric, network-aware distributed media effort in his new job at KERO in Bakersfield.
We all know about the efforts of the Bakersfield Californian (Bakersfield.com, Bakotopia, NorthwestVoice.com, etc.) to be entreprenurial online.
Now comes news that Fisher Communications is buying two TV stations in Bakersfield, including Californian content partner KBAK (I’m not sure if KBAK and TBC still have a relationship or not).
That wouldn’t be significant online news, except that Fisher recently acquired Pegasus News, which is run by Mike Orren, one of the smartest guys in the community UGC field. Pegasus is what Northwest Voice aspires to be.
The changing market in Bakersfield is going to put a couple of theories to the test: That being a first mover, as TBC has done, is a good defensive strategy against online competitors; and that a local media market can have only one clear winner (which I believe) in the online media realm.
The other aspect to this story: Bakersfield is becoming a test case for how newspapers survive in a turbulent media market (up until now, the San Francisco Chronicle has been the only canary in the coal mine).
As I’ve reported before, Craigslist seems to be pretty much a non-factor in Bakersfield, but in a fragmented market, as we see evolving in Bakersfield now, every competitor becomes a factor. They’re all part of the “thousand cuts that kill you.”
TBC is one of the most advanced newspaper companies in the nation at building online products designed to hold back current or future competitors, but the competition is coming anyway. This should be interesting to watch.
My advice: TBC, get more aggressive; KERO, get off that clunky IBS publishing system and build something very webby in Drupal and keep letting Nick be Nick; and, KGET, um, you better do something.
Disclosure: I think most readers know I was once ran Bakersfield.com, but just in case, there’s the mention again. Also, my current employer owns two newspapers in Kern County, though both outside the core Bakersfield market. They’re not part of this race right now.