The Daily Oklahoman from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on July 1, 1990 · 41
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The Daily Oklahoman from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma · 41

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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 1, 1990
Page:
41
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JULY 1, 1990 Gasoline Prices Spark Furor in Lawton Charges of Dealer Collusion Continue By Bob Vandewater Staff Writer Most of Lawton's gasoline retailers once again are catching heat from angry residents who think the prices they are paying to fuel up their cars in that city are unfairly high. Others sources, however, say the problem is more imagined than real. In 1986, the Lawton city council got so heated over the issue that it passed a resolution to seek a federal investigation of alleged price fixing by local gasoline dealers. The resolution was passed 8-1 during the first meeting for councilman Robert Shanklin, who had pledged during his election campaign to push for a probe of Lawton gasoline prices. Shanklin, now Lawton's mayor, said the U.S. Justice Department eventually "acknowledged it (an investigation) was in their ballpark." But the requested federal probe went "nowhere," he said. Efforts to get help from some members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation also have been essentially fruitless, he said. So the situation remains, claims Shanklin, that gasoline prices in Lawton generally run a nickel to a dime per gallon higher than prices in many surrounding communities or in Oklahoma City. Similar situations can exist "any place where you have a captive market" where a small number of fuel distributors dominate, he said. "This is a drum that gets beat on a pretty regular basis here," said Joe Hall, a staffer at U.S. Rep. Dave McCurdy's Lawton office. "To hear these people talk, you'd think that as soon as you get about 10 miles outside of Lawton, gas prices suddenly drop off a cliff, and that's not the case," Hall said, based on his own observations. In any event, probes of alleged price fixing or collusion among gasoline retailers are "not within our jurisdiction," he said. However, Leon Thompson of Oklahoma City, self-styled executive director of Oklahoma Citizens for Gasoline Reforms, claims Lawton area motorists pay more than $4 million extra per year "in artificially inflated (gasoline) prices." "It has cost the public down there over $40 million over the last 10 years," said Thompson. He blames that on monopolistic practices and collusion among a group of gasoline dealers and distributors who, he says, control the Law-ton market. But basically a few people seem to be trying to make an issue where none should exist, said Bedford Mitchell, with Carey Johnson Oil Co. in Law-ton. "As far as I'm concerned, there's no story," said Mitchell, recently named president of the Oklahoma Oil Marketers Association, the state organization of gasoline and petroleum products distributors and retailers. In Lawton, he said, retail prices in the $1.06 to $1.09 per gallon range recently could be See GASOLINE, Page 3-C Oklahoma Average Gasoline Prices in Dollars (and changes since Memorial Day) fey wi imam f:, Premium l;m , Full Service Unleaded Chonge Unleaded Change J OKC 1.309 .018 1.383 .016 m m Clinton 1.269 .020 1.399 .000 jk M Enid 1.219 .020 1.319 -.020 H Moore 1.329 -.030 1.459 .000 W El Reno 1.289 .020 1.339 -.060 mm Norman 1.259 .010 1.319 .020 Mm Lawton 1.249 .000 1.329 -.020 MWWL Ardmore 1.329 -.120 1.449 -.100 Statewide 1.292 .013 pl.449um .090 fm Self Service Unleaded Change Unleaded Change MW M OKC 1.147 .151 1.224 .110 Mw H Clinton 1.189 .000 1789 .000 B Moore 1.099 .070 1.179 -.010 El Reno 1.069 .080 1.129 .050 B SS Norman 1.029 .000 1.179 .000 PL AW Lawton 1.109 .010 1.199 .000 MH Ardmore 1.169 -.030 1.219 .000 I Statewide 1.111 .105 1.153 .030 ' ' v- kx& Steve Boaldin. The Oklahoman Graphics Staff Photo by Paul Hellstern Long-time jeweler Floyd Brown is ending his 44-year career with plans to retire to Florida. Diamonds Are Forever, But Jeweler Quits By Stacy Martin Staff Writer A telephone's ring sliced the 10 p.m. stillness like a knife, rousing jeweler Floyd Brown from a heavy slumber. On the other end of the phone was a desperate caller. It was the night before Christmas and retailers were closed. Would Brown help the caller create a beautiful diamond ring for his beloved? Brown didn't hesitate. He agreed to meet the caller at his business a few minutes later. Brown put on his clothes and slipped out of the house quietly so he wouldn't wake his wife and young daughter Teri. By morning, an exquisite stone had been mounted in a ring for the relieved customer. ; Although he didn't know it, Brown had, in fact, awakened his young daughter when he left home that 'night. ; "That wapn't the only time," Teri Hudson said. "He ;did it several other times. Sometimes, he wasn't home ;very much, but that was the kind of one-on-one ser--vice that Dad always tried to give." - Brown plans to close Floyd Brown and Daughter Jewelers later this month, ending the family's : three-generation proprietorship in Oklahoma City. Brown has set no date for closing his shop, but it will be no later than Aug. 31, when his lease expires. "Brown said he plans to retire to Florida, where he can ;pursue his favorite hobbies flying and boating. - "I had a choice of signing a five-year lease and waking up 63 years old, still working six days a week, and I decided not to," Brown said. The business dates to 1951, when Brown's father, John D. Brown, bought a tiny jewelry store in Capitol Hill. The senior Brown had saved $1,000 to buy the inventory, safe, fixtures and an 1870 hotel That clock still runs today at 2826 NW 63 in the French Market Mall, where Floyd Brown moved the store in 1972. With its rich, handmade quality, the clock seems to " embody the Old World craftsmanship that has made the Brown store tick. Brown started in the jewelry business at age 13 repairing clocks for his father. He attended watch-See JEWELER, Page 2-C B Inside Almanac 2-C Bankruptcies 9-C Oil, Gas 3-C Malcolm Berko 2-C Livestock 10-C Briefs 9-C Markets 4-9-C TV Profits Focus on Newscasts Local Market Revenues Fall o By Tim Chavez Staff Writer n one side of an Oklahoma City courtroom on a day late in May sat the general manager of KOCO-TV, Channel 5. At the other end was his counterpart at KFOR-TV, Channel 4. Competitors on the air and neighbors on the remote control, the pair and their stations had taken their race for audience share and viewer loyalty to a public place more accustomed to Weighty matters such as murder and other felonies. At issue: the use of four words 24 Hour News Source tied to the introduction of round-the-clock news and programming unveiled by both stations weeks before. More than a vindication or reaffirmation, the legal tussle was emblematic of the competitiveness in a TV market where it has been increasingly tough to make a buck. In 1988, pre-ftax profits for Oklahoma The Battle For Audience Share 8 K2? (A mlm Million $6.1 Million City's six commercial stations plummeted by 92 percent compared to the previous year, according to a survey by the National Association of Broadcast- That drop was more ominous considering profits nose-dived by 73 percent in 1987. The heat is on. For crucial ad revenue, news coverage is the flash point, say industry observers. "The primary profit center is at 5, 6 and 10 (p.m. newscasts)," said Bill Thrash, an executive with the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority. Before joining OETA in 1987, Thrash worked 25 years in management with KOCO-TV, Channel 5, and then KTVY-See PROFITS, Page 2-C mgl, Feb.'89 j Feb.-90fffy-90 i i 5,17 10 RM. NEWSCASTWEEKDAY Source: Arbitron Co. 2136 IS? I 4w STRONG L To " i i i " i i i iii Feb. '89 Feb. '90 May'90 Feb. '89 Feb. '90 May'90 Feb. '89 Feb. '90 May'90 r i- si- The Peaks: and Valleys Million $6.1 Million &T 1985 1986 1987 SOURCE: Notional Association of Broadcasters 1988 Sandlln, The Oklahoman Graphics Stations Go All Out For Viewer Loyalty Steve Boaldin.The Oklahoman Graphics The TV industry determines viewing audience for each of its stations with two numbers: rating and share. The rating, listed first, represents the percentage of all TV households watching a specific channel. But not all households are using their television sets all the time. The second number, or share, represents a station's percentage of the households actually watching television. By Tim Chavez 0 Staff Writer ne station has a "New Attitude." Another is "4-Strong" re-dedicated to the people of Oklahoma with its third set of call letters in 15 years. The third local affiliate hasn't changed much the "Spirit of Oklahoma" with first in overall ratings. Though different, each pitch by KOCO-TV, KFOR-TV and KWTV is aimed at the same strike zone viewer loyalty. But some industry observers and medium practitioners say the disciples of this age-old industry concept are grasping at a casualty of the emerging mega-choice age of TV viewing. "Your typical viewer looks at the program," says Dr. Jack Deskin, head of the broadcast journalism program at Central State University. "They don't know if it's ABC or KOCO-TV," he said. The entry of independent stations into the local market followed closely by cable signaled the beginning of the end of viewer loyalty for the network affiliates, says Bill Thrash, past executive with KOCO and then KTVY. "They (independents) signed on with a share of the audience overnight," Thrash said. "That's when it became more noticeable than ever that 'gosh, there may not be anything to station loyalty.' " That's what the independent stations were counting on. "People watch programs, they don't watch stations," said Harlan Reams. general manager of KAUT-TV, Channel 43. But so far into the 1990s, affiliate stations have stayed true to the quest, unloading a new promotional barrage locally just before the start of the May sweeps period that determines station ratings. Ironically, the two stations that invested the most time and effort into the latest push saw their overall rating numbers decline in May from the previous sweeps period in February. But industry observers say one period does not make a trend. From WKY to KTVY to KFOR The largest drive at the loyalty factor has been initiated at Channel 4. which went about as far as a station can go to grab the needed attention. On April 22, the station's call letters changed from KTVY to KFOR, accompanied by an identification tag of 4-Strong. "The response has been beyond our expectations," said Bob Brooks, KFOR programming director. "The important part has been the identity of 4-Strong," Brooks said. "4-Strong means concern for community and professionalism in what we do. It's a guiding force." Viewers want to have loyalty. Brooks said. "It's up to us to give them a reason tc be loyal to us," he said. "People want tc identify with that kind of thing." Station management wasn't expecting the changes to be an "overnight won der" in the ratings. Brooks said. "This is the foundation for a long See PROMOTION, Page 3-C

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