Television station KHBS/KHOG, Channels 40/29, has just about worn us out with this “hometown” thing.
They use the term as a way to try to corral Northwest Arkansas, Fort Smith, eastern Oklahoma and even southwestern Missouri into one “region.” The station, with newsrooms in Fayetteville and Fort Smith, has viewers in all of those places, so it probably makes sense to them to portray it as one region. The only problem is, that’s a vast area in which the towns and people are very different from each other.
Do you think people in McDonald County, Mo., know where Mount Ida is? They’re both part of “our hometown area,” according to KHOG. They’re also about 200 miles apart, which the same distance from New York City to Baltimore.
KFSM, Channel 5, of Fort Smith and Fayetteville, used to use the term “Arklahoma” to describe the entire region, but they’ve stopped that, and we’d like to say thanks. “Arklahoma,” a combination of the words Arkansas and Oklahoma, always seemed to us like a reference to the Fort Smith metropolitan area.
We’ve heard more than one viewer in Northwest Arkansas (Benton and Washington counties) say that the minute they hear a newscaster talking about something in Fort Smith or Oklahoma, they tune out or change the channel. We suspect the same is true when Fort Smith viewers hear news about Northwest Arkansas.
It must be tough for our three television stations to cover such a large territory. We know they go beyond the official 10-county “dominant market area” to cover the news. (That area, established by the Nielsen ratings, includes eight counties in Arkansas and two in Oklahoma.)
We just want to be spared from the artificial geographic designations. We’re distinctly different from Benton County to the Arkansas River Valley, and we like it that way.