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Published: Wednesday, 6/15/2005

WTOL-TV wins 4 of 5 news time slots


WTOL-TV, Channel 11, was its usual consistent self during Nielsen Media Research s May sweeps.

It won four of the five time slots in which its local newscasts go head-to-head against WTVG-TV, Channel 13. It marked the fifth time in the last six ratings periods that WTOL was on the brink of a sweep.

The month was not without disappointment for the CBS affiliate, however.

Despite being heavily promoted, WTOL s revamped morning newscast Jerry Anderson and Melissa Voetsch took over as co-anchors in January experienced a sharp drop in audience share from February. Worse, the share is lower than the previous May, when Jim Taylor and Tess Rafols, both of whom are no longer at the station, sat at the anchor desk.

WTVG, an ABC-owned station, has had the No. 1 morning newscast for 10 consecutive ratings periods.

WTOL news director Mitch Jacob called it a temporary setback. Changing morning viewing habits is a long haul, he said.

That newscast is going to be a market leader for us, Jacob said. You put two of the best anchors in the market on that show, and viewers will come.

Among viewers age 25 to 54, which is the demographic that generates the most advertising for local stations, WTOL was No. 1 at noon, 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. Voetsch is solo anchor at noon; Anderson is a co-anchor at 5 p.m.

Compared to the previous May, WTVG gained ground against WTOL in three time slots.

We see this as a very, very good book for us, WTVG general manager David L. Zamichow said. It s becoming more and more of a two-station market.

WNWO-TV, Channel 24, took a hard hit in May, finishing a distant third in the four time slots in which its local newscasts compete against WTOL and WTVG. WNWO s 25-54 audience share dropped significantly in the 5-to-6:30 p.m. news block from the previous May, going from about 13 percent to 5.

We re obviously not happy, WNWO general manager Rick Lipps said. Our problem is sampling we need to get people to try us. If they ll try us, they ll like us.

For total viewers, WTOL was No. 1 in all time slots except 5 a.m.; it had more viewers than WTVG and WNWO combined at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. Similarly, from 5 to 7 a.m., WTVG had more viewers than WTOL and WNWO combined.

At 6 p.m., the three stations combined for 137,000 viewers, the most of any time slot for local news. WTOL (with co-anchors Chrys Peterson and Terry Thill) averaged 75,000 viewers, followed by WTVG (Diane Larson and Lee Conklin) at 47,000 and WNWO (Jennifer Stacy and Jim Blue) at 15,000.

WUPW-TV, Channel 36, has the market s only 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts, both of which are anchored by Laura Emerson and Karl Rundgren. The Fox affiliate averaged 27,000 viewers at 10 p.m., putting it No. 3 (ahead of WNWO, which averaged 18,000 viewers at 11 p.m.) among the market s four late-night newscasts. WUPW s 4 p.m. newscast averaged 7,000 viewers, an increase of 2,000 from the previous May.

As was the case during the previous ratings period, WTVG s morning newscast, co-anchored by Rebecca Regnier and Jeff Smith, had the highest 25-54 share 41 percent of any newscast in the market. WTOL had a 32 share at noon.

Nielsen s May sweeps ran from April 28 through May 25. The ratings books arrived at local stations on Monday.

May is considered the most important of the four ratings periods each year. Among other things, stations use the May numbers to sell advertising for the fourth quarter, which includes Christmas.

The next ratings period is June 30 to July 27.

Contact Russ Lemmon at: rlemmon@theblade.com or 419-724-6122.

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