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Published: Wednesday, 12/24/2008

4 Ch. 13 news shows win most viewers in key ages

BY KIRK BAIRD
BLADE STAFF WRITER

When it comes to buying air time, most advertisers look for television programs that grab viewers between the ages of 25 and 54. Based on that coveted demographic, there apparently is a new front runner in local television news. Results of the Nielsen November survey of viewing habits were released to Toledo television stations last week.

WTVG-TV, Channel 13, posted ratings victories in both morning newscasts and both early evening newscasts. The noon and 11 p.m. newscasts were won by WTOL-TV, Channel 11. And WNWO-TV, Channel 24, was a distant third in all competitive local news time periods.

WUPW-TV, Channel 36, has a 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscast, so it doesn't compete head-to-head with the other three stations in the market.

Of all area viewers in the 25-54 age group who were watching TV between 5 and 7 a.m., ABC affiliate WTVG led with an average of 18,500 viewers, compared to 10,750 for WTOL (CBS) and 4,000 for WNWO (NBC).

WTVG also won the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts with 21,500 and 29,000 viewers, respectively, in the same key demographic. WTOL finished second in both time periods with 13,000 area residents ages 25-54 tuning in to its 5 p.m. newscast and 22,000 to its 6 p.m. newscast.

According to WTOL News Director Mitch Jacob, the weak ratings of CBS news programming - The Early Show at 7 a.m. and the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric at 6:30 p.m. - had a negative impact on viewership of WTOL's newscasts.

"Since Katie went on, our 6:30 (p.m.) numbers have declined. The trend is not just here in Toledo, it's across the country. That hurts a news time block. People are accustomed to keeping it on the one channel," he said. "Would I rather have Good Morning America? Oh, yeah. Would I rather have a Today? Oh, yes. I think having a strong partner like that in the morning news would dramatically impact our morning numbers.

"For 25 years WTOL has been the news leader. For one book for us to throw our hands in the air and change, absolutely not. We have a very strong product and we are proud of what we do here."

The CBS affiliate won the battle for the 25-54 year-olds at noon and 11 p.m.

An average of about 2,000 viewers ages 25-54 tuned in to watch WNWO's 11 a.m. newscast, 5,000 for its 6 p.m. news, 5,500 for its 7 to 8 p.m. news, and 6,000 for its 11 p.m. newscast. Fox affiliate WUPW drew 3,000 viewers in the same 25-54 demo for its 4 p.m. newscast and 12,000 for its 10 p.m. news.

Brian Trauring, WTVG news director, touted his station's win in the 25-54 demo, especially in the 6 p.m. slot, which he considers the flagship newscast of the day.

"The credit has to go to the viewers," he said. "That there's a shift taking place [in local news ratings], there's no question about that."

According to the Nielsen survey, the newscast with the most total viewers in all age groups is the 6 p.m. weekday newscast on WTOL, with 70,000 viewers. WTVG had a total of 67,000 viewers during that same time period.

Contact Kirk Baird at

kbaird@theblade.com

or 419-724-6734.



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