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Mith242

Population Trends of Northwest Arkansas

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Yeah, it would be compelling if they listed the average annual growth rate per metro in that list since it's clear some are tracking faster than others (NWA for instance).  For instance, and this is completely anecdotal without the data, but LR is currently ranked 72 but if you assume the list will play out in order (which it won't, but it could go either way), LR would be the 70th metro to hit 1,000,000 in the U.S.  NWA would be the 75th 7 years later.  Furthermore, one could infer - though there are lots of unknowns - that NWA would pass LR-C in 40 years or so.

Yeah, it's really just a guessing game right now.  One thing going against NWA is can it really keep this type of growth going.  As the metro gets bigger and bigger it's going to be hard to keep that high percentage rate going as your base population grows.  

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I see so many other cities trying to get a piece of the NWA pie. As our base continues to grow, we will rely less on Tulsa/KC/LR/Springfield for so many services, thus increasing potential locally. Personally I think this area will continue with steady growth rates.

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I see so many other cities trying to get a piece of the NWA pie. As our base continues to grow, we will rely less on Tulsa/KC/LR/Springfield for so many services, thus increasing potential locally. Personally I think this area will continue with steady growth rates.

 

I don't really think NWA relies on many services from LR and haven't for quite some time (save for healthcare), primarily given the distance between the two and the closer proximity of Tulsa.  Reciprocally, I think the growth of NWA probably has more negative impact on Tulsa, etc. than Little Rock, principally the impact to their airport traffic and service (and this exodus would be accelerated when/if XNA ever gets a low-cost carrier).

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I think growth here helps Tulsa's airport.   Fort Smith's too.  XNA is wildly overpriced and I've driven to both to avoid the that gouge of an airport.

 

As far as services in those other cities, maybe medical stuff?  Shopping?  Though people williing to travel to shop seem to go to Dallas or NY for that. 

 

But, Springfield?  For anything?  Don't think so...

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It doesn't seem like XNA wants a low cost carrier very much regardless of what they say. If someone like Southwest came in it would hurt the established carriers and probably drive some off thus narrowing the destination and flight options.

 

If you are willing to fly out on a Saturday the XNA prices are better.

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The privately owned airport in Branson is serviced by AirTran/Southwest. Airport sells exclusive rights to destinations. Southwest is offering a Sat nonstop to Orlando. That's great for 7 day vacations.

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I think growth here helps Tulsa's airport.   Fort Smith's too.  XNA is wildly overpriced and I've driven to both to avoid the that gouge of an airport.

 

As far as services in those other cities, maybe medical stuff?  Shopping?  Though people williing to travel to shop seem to go to Dallas or NY for that. 

 

But, Springfield?  For anything?  Don't think so...

 

You know, you're right...that's a good point.  It probably won't hurt TUL and if nothing else helps unless XNA gets a LCC.  But, I'm skeptical now that SWA has entered the Springfield/Branson market...at least in the near-term.

 

p.s.  Our family went to D.C. over Spring Break and on our non-stop flight from Little Rock to Baltimore there was a whole group of junior high students from the Ft. Smith area, but that's a lot closer to LR than NWA and given the price and direct flights offered I imagine that happens quite a bit.

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For it's size, XNA offers an incredible number of direct flights.  Unfortunately since such a high percentage of the travellers are business related it drives the average ticket price through the roof. Also discouraging air carriers from discounting rates much is the fact that so many of their tickets are sold last minute to those same travelers, thus they have little incentive to fill a plane up months ahead of time.

 

Like others have said though, if you shop around (especially weekend travel) you CAN get cheaper tickets.  I find it is usually cheaper to travel via Tulsa, but on occasion it isn't cheap enough to make it worthwhile. 

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Airlines is a good comparison, but there are others. I cant find decent printers locally. Furniture shopping here is a joke. There aren't any quality destinations I can take my toddler to here. Concerts still favor Tulsa/KC. Used car shopping here lacks quality competition.

 

Most of that is improving locally, that will thus cause growth locally to continue.

 

We went to Silver Dollar City last weekend, and I get kind of tired of telling people I am from NWA. Just from driving thru the parking lot I see 1/3 AR plates. Everyone up there says "we get a lot from your area"... to me that is saying "yall don't have much to do down there, do you?"

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Hey, Mith, I know this is a bit "random" but...when I first joined here about 8 years ago there was a discussion on how in a very basic way Arkansas was like Oklahoma, a lot of rural land with two major metro areas within the state.  Though that's not a bad comparison, I think in a strange way we're more like a reverse image of the state of Iowa:

 

1.  The topography is quite, at least one-half, the opposite of the "Hawkeye State" with us having half a state's worth of large hills and small mountains, but...

 

2.  Each of us has our state capital and largest within-the-borders city in the middle of the state (albeit a bit farther south in Iowa's case).

 

3.  On one side of our respective states is a near one-city suburb of the largest city in an adjacent state, separated by a BIG river.  (In their case, the city is on the west side of the state, ours is on the east.)

 

4.  On the other side of our respective states is a metropolitan area that's better known as a collective name rather than one main city (though the cities in adjacent states in "their" metro area are much larger than ours i.e. Jane, MO and West Siloam Springs, AR).   Like in point 3. above, the locations are "flipped", with us on the west side of our state, and theirs on the east side of Iowa.
 

(As I said, "random", I know, but I remembered this discussion and thought, you know, this might be a better comparison.  The location of that Oklahoma comparison has probably long since been forgotten so I just thought I'd put it here.  :fun: )

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Hey, Mith, I know this is a bit "random" but...when I first joined here about 8 years ago there was a discussion on how in a very basic way Arkansas was like Oklahoma, a lot of rural land with two major metro areas within the state.  Though that's not a bad comparison, I think in a strange way we're more like a reverse image of the state of Iowa:

 

1.  The topography is quite, at least one-half, the opposite of the "Hawkeye State" with us having half a state's worth of large hills and small mountains, but...

 

2.  Each of us has our state capital and largest within-the-borders city in the middle of the state (albeit a bit farther south in Iowa's case).

 

3.  On one side of our respective states is a near one-city suburb of the largest city in an adjacent state, separated by a BIG river.  (In their case, the city is on the west side of the state, ours is on the east.)

 

4.  On the other side of our respective states is a metropolitan area that's better known as a collective name rather than one main city (though the cities in adjacent states in "their" metro area are much larger than ours i.e. Jane, MO and West Siloam Springs, AR).   Like in point 3. above, the locations are "flipped", with us on the west side of our state, and theirs on the east side of Iowa.

 

(As I said, "random", I know, but I remembered this discussion and thought, you know, this might be a better comparison.  The location of that Oklahoma comparison has probably long since been forgotten so I just thought I'd put it here.  :fun: )

 

 

Hey, Mith, I know this is a bit "random" but...when I first joined here about 8 years ago there was a discussion on how in a very basic way Arkansas was like Oklahoma, a lot of rural land with two major metro areas within the state.  Though that's not a bad comparison, I think in a strange way we're more like a reverse image of the state of Iowa:

 

1.  The topography is quite, at least one-half, the opposite of the "Hawkeye State" with us having half a state's worth of large hills and small mountains, but...

 

2.  Each of us has our state capital and largest within-the-borders city in the middle of the state (albeit a bit farther south in Iowa's case).

 

3.  On one side of our respective states is a near one-city suburb of the largest city in an adjacent state, separated by a BIG river.  (In their case, the city is on the west side of the state, ours is on the east.)

 

4.  On the other side of our respective states is a metropolitan area that's better known as a collective name rather than one main city (though the cities in adjacent states in "their" metro area are much larger than ours i.e. Jane, MO and West Siloam Springs, AR).   Like in point 3. above, the locations are "flipped", with us on the west side of our state, and theirs on the east side of Iowa.

 

(As I said, "random", I know, but I remembered this discussion and thought, you know, this might be a better comparison.  The location of that Oklahoma comparison has probably long since been forgotten so I just thought I'd put it here.  :fun: )

 

KJW - excellent observation about Iowa.  I have often thought the exact same thing, as my mother-in-law is from Iowa and I've had the fortune of traveling there a few times...it's a beautiful state albeit a different natural setting, but the population and many of the demographics are eerily similar (save for both income and literacy level - I think Iowa's is the highest in the nation).

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As for Silver Dollar City bit, don't see the need to lament over having to go there to have some fun. It's a unique theme park that's now over 50 years old. It didn't start off as a thrill park but it was more in line with what you see at the Ozark Folk Center/Mammoth Springs. It's evolving to kept it's 1880s demonstration roots but expand it's appeal to those interested in rides more than glass blowing. They got big plans for that place in the next decade. We should own it as part of the region and sell it as an asset. It's no farther than the Buffalo.

Larger markets in our region have seen their amusement parks go bye bye. Memphis and Tulsa are two and Magic Springs and Fronteir City in OKC struggle at times. I'm also going to mention Dogpatch as well. If one wanted to give a go at that in NWA, I'd pursue that branding. A waterpark/FEC center that incorporated a few rides themed into a mini golf setting with an indoor component as well for year around viability. That all belongs in my ideas thread. Something along the lines of the The Dells in Wisconsin between here and Branson along US 412.

Edited by TRB

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I only mentioned SDC to show my train of thought that there are a lot of things outside of NWA that rely on the population of NWA to support. As more destinations become local... population growth will certainly benefit.

Before I lived here, I didn't realize the locality of NWA to so many cities. We already see many out-of-towners coming for crafting, Crystal Bridges, Cabellas, Razorback games, Wakarusa, etc. so it is nice to see the growing trend of people coming here too!

Again, I am just speaking according to population trends, as that is what this discussion here is about, not just airlines.

 

I talked to the owner of Savoy Tea, and he, like me never thought we would end up living in Arkansas, let alone loving it here. Others are discovering this area like never before.

I always had family here, but only ever expected visiting.

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You are right about NWA's location being in the middle of a group of cities like Memphis, Tulsa, OKC, Little Rock, Kansas City, Dallas, Wichita, and St. Louis. All a half days drive. The problem has always been accessibility. We are just 15 Years removed from it being one hell of a hard place to get to. 540 has helped, so has 412 to the west and 71 to the north but we are not yet the hub for all those spokes I mentioned. Still have a long ways to go on roads.

Edited by TRB

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You are right about NWA's location being in the middle of a group of cities like Memphis, Tulsa, OKC, Little Rock, Kansas City, Dallas, Wichita, and St. Louis. All a half days drive. The problem has always been accessibility. We are just 15 Years removed from it being one hell of a hard place to get to. 540 has helped, so has 412 to the west and 71 to the north but we are not yet the hub for all those spokes I mentioned. Still have a long ways to go on roads.

 

TRB, I've said it earlier, but just wait until I-49 and I-69 (at least the Shreveport/Texarkana to Houston and Brownsville section of the latter) are finished.  I may not see the Texarkana-to-Fort Smith section built in my lifetime but you might.  But NWA and Fort Smith (which just got 500 new non-transportation jobs this afternoon) are going to be near dead center of the Minneapolis-Houston-Winnipeg-New Orleans corridor, and what will be THE Canada-US-Mexico interstate transit lane.  It will be fascinating to see what happens then if we ever get that far.

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Wild stuff in today's Benton County Record:

 

1.  NWA accounted for EIGHTY PERCENT of Arkansas' growth in 2011 and 2012.  (Forgive me if that's common knowledge here.  Just thought Little Rock's greater metro would account for more.)

 

2.  Centerton now estimated to be over 10,000 people.  Wow.  Siloam Springs/Gentry/West Siloam Springs will now have between the three of them just under 20,000 estimated for 2012.  This long obscure news story from Joplin, posted on this forum several years back, bears repeating because Siloam Springs spills into Delaware County Oklahoma and slightly so into Adair - this would be the biggest city in either Oklahoma county if those two ever do get moved into the NWA metro area.

 

I'm amazed at how many things I'm seeing built.  Some say it's not quite like 2002-3-4, but if not, just barely not.  But the economy is much weaker as a nation than it was then, so I don't quite see how this continues.

Edited by KJW

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Wild stuff in today's Benton County Record:

 

1.  NWA accounted for EIGHTY PERCENT of Arkansas' growth in 2011 and 2012.  (Forgive me if that's common knowledge here.  Just thought Little Rock's greater metro would account for more.)

 

2.  Centerton now estimated to be over 10,000 people.  Wow.  Siloam Springs/Gentry/West Siloam Springs will now have between the three of them just under 20,000 estimated for 2012.  This long obscure news story from Joplin, posted on this forum several years back, bears repeating because Siloam Springs spills into Delaware County Oklahoma and slightly so into Adair - this would be the biggest city in either Oklahoma county if those two ever do get moved into the NWA metro area.

 

I'm amazed at how many things I'm seeing built.  Some say it's not quite like 2002-3-4, but if not, just barely not.  But the economy is much weaker as a nation than it was then, so I don't quite see how this continues.

 

It's hard not to be excited about the future with the continued growth coupled with the array of major infrastructure improvements being made.

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Wild stuff in today's Benton County Record:

 

1.  NWA accounted for EIGHTY PERCENT of Arkansas' growth in 2011 and 2012.  (Forgive me if that's common knowledge here.  Just thought Little Rock's greater metro would account for more.)

 

2.  Centerton now estimated to be over 10,000 people.  Wow.  Siloam Springs/Gentry/West Siloam Springs will now have between the three of them just under 20,000 estimated for 2012.  This long obscure news story from Joplin, posted on this forum several years back, bears repeating because Siloam Springs spills into Delaware County Oklahoma and slightly so into Adair - this would be the biggest city in either Oklahoma county if those two ever do get moved into the NWA metro area.

 

I'm amazed at how many things I'm seeing built.  Some say it's not quite like 2002-3-4, but if not, just barely not.  But the economy is much weaker as a nation than it was then, so I don't quite see how this continues.

I was also surprised to see NWA make up so much of Arkansas's growth.  I also thought central Arkansas would account for more as well.  Granted this is just one year.  

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To be fair, grouping NWA versus the entire rest of the state puts the larger area at a bit of a statistical disadvantage.  Areas of the state that ARE growing are grouped in with the delta through Pine Bluff area which is bleeding people.  A lot of those people from the Delta are moving here as well... 

 

As a quick check, Pulaski county grew by around 6,000 people, Faulkner by 5,500, Saline by 4,500 from 2010 to 2012.  Definitely not quite what NWA grew, but far more than the statistical grouping implies.  The state as a whole grew by 34,000 people in that time frame...so by using the same metric(CA versus entire state), central Arkansas accounted for almost half of the state's population growth in that time frame.

 

What this really tells you is that most of the cities in the state are doing OK, NWA is doing really well, and a large part of the rural part of the state is shedding people like mad.

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To be fair, grouping NWA versus the entire rest of the state puts the larger area at a bit of a statistical disadvantage.  Areas of the state that ARE growing are grouped in with the delta through Pine Bluff area which is bleeding people.  A lot of those people from the Delta are moving here as well... 

 

As a quick check, Pulaski county grew by around 6,000 people, Faulkner by 5,500, Saline by 4,500 from 2010 to 2012.  Definitely not quite what NWA grew, but far more than the statistical grouping implies.  The state as a whole grew by 34,000 people in that time frame...so by using the same metric(CA versus entire state), central Arkansas accounted for almost half of the state's population growth in that time frame.

 

What this really tells you is that most of the cities in the state are doing OK, NWA is doing really well, and a large part of the rural part of the state is shedding people like mad.

True, eastern Arkansas has been hemorrhaging people for a while now.  But the Little Rock metro has been showing good growth.  I'm just surprised that NWA's population growth made up so much of the overall state growth.  I would have thought the Little Rock metro would have made a more size-able chunk of the growth as well.  

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Here's a bit of "stat nerd" fun with the current census data estimates for 2012.  This is fairly quick math so I apologize if I added wrong but I don't think by much.

 

I know it's "cheating" to include the Fort Smith metro area to the population estimates (and that the link elsewhere on this thread which projected NWA to be at 1,000,000 people in a decade or two didn't include FSM) but we are in the same TV market in adjacent metros which is the next best thing.  Interestingly, McDonald County isn't in the Fayetteville/Rogers/Fort Smith market yet...we'll see if it, like Delaware and Adair Counties in Oklahoma, ever get added.  McDonald is in the NWA metro area officially.

 

I knew we wouldn't be bigger than Tulsa (more on that in a minute), Oklahoma City or Little Rock (which is over 1 million right now if you include Little Rock/Conway/Hot Springs/Pine Bluff/Searcy metro areas, all adjacent and some (such as Hot Springs VIllage in Garland and Saline Counties) with communities spilling into adjacent metros).  But looking at 2012 numbers, here's how we stack up against 2012 numbers for other nearby cities if you'd add NWA/Fort Smith together.  The cities below are the primary cities in their Nielsen Designated market areas, and each have a metro area within that market which abuts with the main city in the market - I've added the counties of both the main and adjoining cities together to show where we stand:

 

Fort Smith - NWA (Benton, Washington, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, Sebastian, AR; McDonald, MO; Sequoyah, LeFlore, OK) - 784,000

 

Springfield - Branson (Greene, Dallas, Polk, Webster, Christian, Stone, Taney, MO) - 527,000

Shreveport - Texarkana (Caddo, Bossier, Webster, LA; Bowie, TX; Miller, AR) - 565,000

Jackson - Vicksburg (Hinds, Warren, Madison, Simpson, Rankin, Copiah, MS) - 594,000

Wichita - Hutchinson (Sedgwick, Harvey, Sumner, Butler, Cowley, Reno, KS) - 725,000

Des Moines - Ames (Polk, Dallas, Warren, Guthrie, Madison, Story, Boone, Jasper, Marion, IA) - 773,000

 

Each of the last five metro areas has a Nielsen DMA that's bigger than ours, owing to the fact that each has a more established major city that's had longer to become a major/secondary major trading area.  Each Nielsen DMA (including ours, which has picked up a few counties) has more counties, obviously, than just the major/secondary major metro counties.

 

But kinda cool just to see where we are now.  And in the mid-80s when Benton County was still part of the Joplin DMA (and McDonald was nowhere near part of the NWA metro) I doubt few would have guessed a Fayetteville/Fort Smith combined metro of nearly 800,000 people by 2013.  Then again, TV executives I knew from then were fighting to get Benton included in the NWA metro, so they likely saw something coming.  (EDIT: whoops, forgot to mention Tulsa, which was about at 800,000 people in the mid-80s if that big.

 

BTW, if NWA indeed gets to 1,000,000 (from 486,000 estimated in 2012) and if the Interstate 49/69 system is built enough to justify the Chaffee Crossing developments getting FSM's metro to at least 400,000 (from about 298,000 estimated in 2012) that will be 1,400,000 people, just above what Jacksonville, Memphis and Oklahoma City were in 2010 and just below what Milwaukee was in 2010.)

Edited by KJW

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Here's a bit of "stat nerd" fun with the current census data estimates for 2012.  This is fairly quick math so I apologize if I added wrong but I don't think by much.

 

I know it's "cheating" to include the Fort Smith metro area to the population estimates (and that the link elsewhere on this thread which projected NWA to be at 1,000,000 people in a decade or two didn't include FSM) but we are in the same TV market in adjacent metros which is the next best thing.  Interestingly, McDonald County isn't in the Fayetteville/Rogers/Fort Smith market yet...we'll see if it, like Delaware and Adair Counties in Oklahoma, ever get added.  McDonald is in the NWA metro area officially.

 

I knew we wouldn't be bigger than Tulsa (more on that in a minute), Oklahoma City or Little Rock (which is over 1 million right now if you include Little Rock/Conway/Hot Springs/Pine Bluff/Searcy metro areas, all adjacent and some (such as Hot Springs VIllage in Garland and Saline Counties) with communities spilling into adjacent metros).  But looking at 2012 numbers, here's how we stack up against 2012 numbers for other nearby cities if you'd add NWA/Fort Smith together.  The cities below are the primary cities in their Nielsen Designated market areas, and each have a metro area within that market which abuts with the main city in the market - I've added the counties of both the main and adjoining cities together to show where we stand:

 

Fort Smith - NWA (Benton, Washington, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, Sebastian, AR; McDonald, MO; Sequoyah, LeFlore, OK) - 784,000

 

Springfield - Branson (Greene, Dallas, Polk, Webster, Christian, Stone, Taney, MO) - 527,000

Shreveport - Texarkana (Caddo, Bossier, Webster, LA; Bowie, TX; Miller, AR) - 565,000

Jackson - Vicksburg (Hinds, Warren, Madison, Simpson, Rankin, Copiah, MS) - 594,000

Wichita - Hutchinson (Sedgwick, Harvey, Sumner, Butler, Cowley, Reno, KS) - 725,000

Des Moines - Ames (Polk, Dallas, Warren, Guthrie, Madison, Story, Boone, Jasper, Marion, IA) - 773,000

 

Each of the last five metro areas has a Nielsen DMA that's bigger than ours, owing to the fact that each has a more established major city that's had longer to become a major/secondary major trading area.  Each Nielsen DMA (including ours, which has picked up a few counties) has more counties, obviously, than just the major/secondary major metro counties.

 

But kinda cool just to see where we are now.  And in the mid-80s when Benton County was still part of the Joplin DMA (and McDonald was nowhere near part of the NWA metro) I doubt few would have guessed a Fayetteville/Fort Smith combined metro of nearly 800,000 people by 2013.  Then again, TV executives I knew from then were fighting to get Benton included in the NWA metro, so they likely saw something coming.  (EDIT: whoops, forgot to mention Tulsa, which was about at 800,000 people in the mid-80s if that big.

 

BTW, if NWA indeed gets to 1,000,000 (from 486,000 estimated in 2012) and if the Interstate 49/69 system is built enough to justify the Chaffee Crossing developments getting FSM's metro to at least 400,000 (from about 298,000 estimated in 2012) that will be 1,400,000 people, just above what Jacksonville, Memphis and Oklahoma City were in 2010 and just below what Milwaukee was in 2010.)

I don't know all the details on what needs to happen for this to happen.  But I've wondered if there might eventually be a NWA/Ft Smith CSA instead of one single metro.

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Mith, indeed, I don't understand why they haven't yet.  Tulsa and Bartlesville are in such an arrangement and there's some space in between those.  There's space between Little Rock and Pine Bluff (at least space that's not wall-to-wall housing) yet they, too, are in such a grouping.

 

Here's another one that surprises me:

 

Huntsville-Florence - (Madison, Limestone, Lauderdale, Colbert, AL) - 566,000

Mobile - Daphne - (Mobile, Baldwin, AL) - 603,000

 

I worked with KFSM-TV after graduation from college in 1983.  At that time when reporters were moving up, they left for markets including Shreveport and Wichita.  The station manager for KFSM in the mid-80s left to become the manager at what was then fellow New York Times station WHNT-TV in Huntsville.

 

The DMAs are still bigger than Fort Smith/Fayetteville, but MY, how times have changed for the "headquarters" city...

 

EDIT: From today, though Rep. Womack is being a tad optimistic on I-49 from Texarkana / Fort Smith.  Nonetheless, the more pieces of this Interstate fall into place as they are about to do on the Texas/Louisiana border and, a bit later, west of Bella Vista, the pressure will be on to close the gap.

Edited by KJW

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Here's a final one that also surprises me (always liked this city, and thought of it physically as the "Fort Smith of the Appalachians"  :silly: ):

 

Chattanooga - Cleveland - Dalton - (Hamilton, Sequatchie, Marion, Bradley, TN, Catoosa, Dade, Walker, Whitfield, Murray, GA) - 781,000...and that's adding THREE adjacent metro areas together.

 

Again, the population estimates for Springfield, Shreveport, Wichita, Jackson, Des Moines, Huntsville, Mobile and Chattanooga are all using 2012 numbers.  Some of these cities (Shreveport, Wichita, Jackson, Des Moines, Mobile) were "Major trading areas" as Rand McNally used to define them, which basically meant "If we divided the United States into 50 separate areas not based on state boundaries, but rather where most of the trade and commerce originates from and money flows back to, plus where people there tend to get their news from".  (Jackson was secondary to Memphis (a.k.a. "the capital of Mississippi" or "the largest city in Mississippi") but it was the "Memphis-Jackson major trading area".)

 

Just tells me that NWA/FSM collectively have equaled or surpassed that tier of cities, and with each passing day inches closer to the realm of places like Oklahoma City, Memphis, Louisville and Jacksonville, whatever that entails.

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