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Published: Wednesday, 4/17/2013

WTOL-TV, WTVG-TV newscasts top local ratings

BY KIRK BAIRD
BLADE STAFF WRITER

New ratings book, same results. The most recent Nielsen numbers from February show a local audience divided in newscast loyalties between WTOL-TV, Channel 11, and WTVG-TV, Channel 13, with each station claiming three ratings wins apiece in total viewership.

WTOL won the half-hour noon, 6 and 11 p.m. time slots, and WTVG took the hourlong 5 and 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. periods.

WNWO-TV, Channel 24, finished a distant third in its four head-to-head newscasts, mornings between 5 to 6 and 6 to 7, and evenings at 6 and 11.

WTVG continued its domination of the mornings. The ABC affiliate was watched by 26,000 total viewers between 5 to 6 a.m. and 53,000 viewers between 6 to 7 a.m. That compares to a total audience 12,500 and 24,000, respectively for WTOL, and 2,000 for each time period for WNWO.

In the advertiser coveted 25-to-54 demographic, WTVG was watched by an average of 13,500 viewers between 5 to 6 a.m. and 29,000 viewers between 6 to 7 a.m. WTOL was watched by 7,500 viewers in the same demographic between 5 to 6, and 24,000 viewers between 6 to 7, while 2,000 viewers aged 25-to-54 tuned in to WNWO between 5 to 6 and again between 6 to 7.

"The dominant morning performance was just spectacular. We were just thrilled to see our morning news dominate the ratings," said WTVG's executive news director, Brian Trauring. "We improved on a lot of these things across the board. The trends are very much in our favor."

The numbers, which were released in late March, improved for WTOL in the afternoon and evening. The CBS affiliate was the clear favorite at noon, with a total viewership of 52,000 compared to WTVG's 40,000, and again at 11 p.m., with a total audience of 58,000 compared to 44,000 for WTVG. Channel 11 also won the 25-to-54 demographic in both time periods, 13,000 at noon and 17,000 at 11 p.m., with Channel 13 at 8,000 and 14,000 respectively. WNWO was watched by 5,000 total viewers, one thousand of whom were in the 25-to-54 demographic, at 11 p.m.

While most of the time slots were clear ratings victories for either WTOL or WTVG, the 90-minute block of local news beginning at 5 p.m. proved to be fiercely competitive between the stations in April. The 5 to 6 p.m. newscast earned WTVG a win in the 25-to-54 demographic, 19,500, and total viewership, 53,500. WTOL was watched by 13,000 in target demographic but narrowed the gap significantly with its rating rival in total viewership, 51,000 — a difference of 2,500 viewers between the station and Channel 13.

WTOL can claim to be the ratings favorite of local viewers during the 6 to 6:30 p.m. broadcast, the area's most-watched news slot. Channel 11 was seen by an average of 21,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 demographic, and 71,000 total viewers, making it the most-watched newscast overall. But Channel 13 won the key demographic in the same half-hour of news, with 24,000 viewers between 25 to 54, and trailed Channel 11 by only 3,000 total viewers with 68,000.

WTOL did not respond to an interview request.

WNWO was watched by an average of 2,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 demographic and by 5,000 total.

"We had solid ratings gains at 6 p.m. and for WNWO Today" in the morning, noted the station's new news director and 6 p.m. co-anchor Jim Blue. "I'm very pleased about those."

One year ago WUPW-TV, Channel 36, merged newsrooms with Channel 11 as part of an agreement between American Spirit Media, the new owner of WUPW, and Raycom Media, owners and operators of WTOL.

Since then the partnership has produced a two-hour block of local news in the mornings on the Fox affiliate, as well as its pre-existing p.m. newscasts at 6:30 to 7 and 10 to 11. None of the station's newscasts compete with any local news programming.

The 7 to 8 a.m. newscasts were watched by 1,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 demographic, and 2,000 total viewers, and the second hour beginning at 8 a.m. was watched by even less viewers, 1,000 in total viewers and a statistical zero — meaning Nielsen did not measure enough of an audience to count — in the 25-to-54 demographic. The station's evening newscasts fared better, with 5,000 total viewers tuning in at 6:30, 2,000 of whom were in the key demographic. At 11 p.m. WUPW was watched by 6,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 demographic and 16,000 total viewers.

WTOL, which has the area's only 9 to 10 a.m. newscast, was watched by 14,000 total viewers, 3,000 of whom were in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Contact Kirk Baird atkbaird@theblade.comor 419-724-6734.



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