The local television market saw some big changes in May with the departure of several recognizable faces at WTOL-TV, Channel 11; WTVG-TV, Channel 13, and WNWO-TV, Channel 24.
None of that mattered, though, when it came to viewership, as Nielsen’s May ratings played out mostly the same as last year, with WTVG on top.
The ABC affiliate won five of the six head-to-head newscasts against Channel 11 in the advertiser-coveted 24-to-54 age demographic. WTVG swept mornings from 5 to 6 and 6 to 7 a.m., with 15,000 and 31,000 viewers, respectively, in the same demographic, and the station won the 5 to 6, 6 to 6:30, and 11 to 11:30 p.m. newscasts in the 25-to-54 demo with 15,000, 24,000, and 23,000 viewers. WTVG also won the 5 to 6 and 6 to 7 a.m. and the 6 to 6:30 p.m. newscasts in total number of viewers 2 and older, with 28,500, 50,000, and 65,000, respectively.
For WTVG news director Brian Trauring, the performance of his station points to an overall trend that the ABC affiliate is the leader in local news.
“We’re dominant in the mornings, and we’re winning the 11 and sweeping the weekend and we won the demographics at 5, so there’s a lot to be pleased with,” he said. “It certainly is a trend. That’s what you have to look at is a trend over time instead of one single ratings period. Our trend line is certainly positive.”
WTOL swept the noon to 12:30 p.m. newscast ratings in the 25-to-54 (11,000) and 2-and-older (47,000) demographics, as well as 2 and older at 5 to 6 p.m. (46,000) and 11 to 11:30 p.m. (54,000). The CBS affiliate placed second in all other head-to-head newscasts. The station was watched by an average of 8,500 and 17,000 viewers ages 25 to 54 at 5 to 6 and 6 to 7 a.m., and 13,000 and 18,000 and 18,000 in the same demo for the 5 to 6, 6 to 6:30, and 11 to 11:30 p.m. newscasts.
In the 2-and-older demographic, WTOL was watched by an average of 12,500 viewers during the 5 to 6 morning newscast and 27,000 viewers during the 6 to 7 morning newscast. The station’s most-watched newscast was from 6 to 6:30 p.m., when an average of 60,000 viewers 2 and older tuned in.
WTOL saw a slide in its 9 to 10 a.m. Your Morning weekday news program, which competes with network and syndicated programing. The newscast shed 6,000 total viewers 2 and older from February, with an average of 13,000 viewers in May.
“I am most pleased with the year-to-year growth,” said Bob Chirdon, WTOL’s general manager. “We are two very good television stations and it is a two-station market. We have a long history of being committed to local news and to our communities. We believe all of our viewers are important and significant and we do our best to serve the broadest possible audience.”
WNWO, meanwhile, continues to lose viewers in the mornings. Its 5 to 6 a.m. newscast didn’t register enough viewers ages 25 to 54 to be counted by Nielsen — in February the same newscast was watched by an average of 2,000 viewers in the same demographic — and was watched by 1,000 viewers in the 2-and-older demographic, which is half the total audience watching during February sweeps. And the station’s 6 to 7 a.m. newscast was watched by an average of 1,000 viewers ages 25 to 54 and 2,000 viewers overall. That’s a drop from 2,000 and 3,000, respectively, from February.
The good news for the NBC affiliate is that it showed considerable improvement for its 6 to 6:30 p.m. newscast, which was watched by an average of 3,000 viewers ages 25 to 54 and 12,000 viewers 2 and older. The 25-to-54 average is the same as February, but the total number of viewers is double that from February and is 2,000 viewers better than the November sweeps. The 11 to 11:30 p.m. newscast was watched by an average of 3,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 demo, the same as in February, and 8,000 total viewers, an increase of 1,000 viewers from the February ratings.
Fox affiliate WUPW-TV, Channel 36, which does not compete head to head with other local newscasts, maintained its total viewership from February for its 6:30 to 7 p.m. news — 6,000 — and once again improved its 10 to 11 p.m. numbers, from an average of 17,000 viewers 2 and older in February to 18,000 in May.
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