After months of relative calm, Toledo TV s weather war might be heating up again.
WTOL-TV, Channel 11, unveiled a weather promo last week that was reminiscent in terms of chest-beating, anyway of those seen in the market in 2004.
Will the other three stations WTVG-TV, Channel 13; WNWO-TV, Channel 24; and WUPW-TV, Channel 36 respond with aggressive promos of their own? Based on what happened last year, and the fact that the crucial November ratings period is approaching, chances are they will.
Last year, WTVG hammered home the point that it has the most powerful radar, and WNWO branded itself as Toledo s weather station. Their incessant chest-beating prompted WUPW to enter the fray with some parody promos. WTOL, by comparison, kept a low profile.
This year s crop of weather promos had been pretty tame until last week. While another station may have a radar that is more powerful or a branding that is more catchy, WTOL makes it clear in its promo that it has the most viewers. That is, after all, the ultimate trump card.
When severe weather strikes, 4 out of 5 people watch WTOL News 11, the promo says.
The 4 out of 5 image flashes on the screen four times in the 30-second spot. It could be interpreted as an in-your-face message to the competition.
There s a simple explanation for WTOL s stepped-up aggressiveness. News director Mitch Jacob added marketing and promotion to his duties in May.
Jacob said the promo s 4 out of 5 claim is based on numbers in the Nielsen Media Research s July ratings book.
Take the afternoon of July 26, for example. Severe weather hit the area between 3:30 and 4 p.m. At 5 p.m., WTOL s newscast had 73,081 adult viewers, according to Nielsen, compared to 16,865 for WTVG and 4,757 for WNWO. To put it another way, of those watching local newscasts at 5 p.m. that day, 77.2 percent opted for WTOL which is close enough for the 4 out of 5 claim.
Compare those numbers to the 5 p.m. average for the entire ratings period WTOL 52,000; WTVG 29,000; WNWO 13,000 and it s clear the viewers made a choice where to tune to when severe weather was in the area, Jacob said.
But on July 26, the most intense storms ended by 4 p.m. So is it fair for WTOL to link that day s 5 p.m. audience to its severe-weather coverage? Yes, Jacob said, because people were still in severe-weather mode at 5.
MORNING SHUFFLE: As previously reported, morning-show host Johny D. and WVKS-FM (92.5) parted ways last week. Kramer, who normally covers the 7 p.m.-to-midnight shift, is expected to fill in as host on an interim basis.
RETURN TO OHIO: Amy Basista, who began her career in Toledo (as an associate producer at WUPW), has been hired as a weekend news anchor at WCMH-TV in Columbus. She had been working at WTXL-TV in Tallahassee. Before that, she was an anchor/reporter at WOHL-TV in Lima.