Monday, January 24, 2005

KTHV Edges Out KATV at 10 p.m. in November

Source: Arkansas The final television ratings book of 2004, which was recorded in November, has been tallied, studied and laid out for all of Outtakes’ loyal readers to muddle through. And since you can’t find the results of Nielsen Media Research Inc.’s hard work published anywhere else, this whole space has been dedicated to the unveiling.

The new kid on the block, Fox affiliate’s KLRT-TV, Channel 16, reported solid growth among its key demographic groups for the nine-month-old Fox 16 News at Nine. The metro’s only 9 p.m., hour-long newscast is working out the newbie kinks and shaking out some growing pains that come along with any upstart news program.

“Our key demographics grew at a pretty good clip, so I’m very pleased,” said General Manager Chuck Spohn. “Internally, our team is gelling. By the time we hit the November book we were just finishing up our eighth month on the air, so we’re happy to have a positive showing.”
Despite Spohn’s optimism, the Fox news team may take a little while longer to gel after the departure of investigative reporter Dewayne Graham, who left the station last month. Spohn declined comment on the situation involving Graham’s exit.

KLRT’s newscast doesn’t compete directly with the other big three affiliates’ news programs in the ratings. Fox 16 News at Nine earned a 2 rating in its key demographic areas among both men and women ages 25-54.

Looking ahead, “American Idol” is music to the Fox 16 News at Nine team’s ears. Lead-in programming is key to any newscast, and last week’s return of the popular talent — and nontalent — show cleaned house nationally with a 20 rating and 28 share, more than doubling second-place CBS’ programming.

For total households, KATV-TV, Channel 7, ran away from competitors in the Monday-Friday 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. time slots, much the same as it did in November 2003. But weak lead-in programming such as “Wife Swap” undoubtedly played a part in the ABC affiliate’s second-place finish in the 10 p.m. weekday slot.

CBS affiliate KTHV-TV, Channel 11, used a 20 percent gain over November 2003’s posting to win the 10 p.m. weekday slot with a 13 rating and a 26 share. Despite a 9 percent decline over the course of a year, KATV was just off the mark with a 12 rating and a 25 share.
“There’s no real surprises there for us,” said Larry Audas, general manager at KTHV. “Just more of the same, which for us is a good same.”

Audas admitted he was a little wary that “Rather-gate,” the scandal involving CBS lead anchor Dan Rather and his episode of shaky news judgment during the presidential campaign, might hurt the local affiliate.

“For all of the concern over Dan Rather, we didn’t see any decline to speak of,” added Audas.
For the November book, KATV averages in Tuesday through Friday numbers because of the late broadcasts spurred by “Monday Night Football.”

KARK-TV, Channel 4, had a 7 rating and a 14 share in the nighttime news slot.
KATV undoubtedly capitalized again from Oprah’s stronghold at the 4 p.m. lead-in slot by sweeping both the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts with a 14.5 rating and 31 share and a 15.6 rating and 27 share, respectively. At 5 p.m., KARK took second with an 8.3 rating and 18 share, while KTHV earned a 6.4 rating and 14 share.

At 6 p.m., however, KTHV leaped ahead of KARK for the No. 2 slot with an 8.8 rating and 16 share, compared to Channel 4’s 8.1 rating and 15 share.
KTHV’s 3 percent drop at 5 p.m. may be due in part to its “11 Listens at 5” format, which features live on-air callers and fresh e-mails from listeners voicing opinions on local, and sometimes national, topics. But Audas is confident the 5 p.m. format is “well received” and intends to stick with it.

KTHV with “Today’s THV” remained the morning leader at 6 a.m. with an 8.2 rating and 29 share, while KATV’s “Daybreak” was close behind with a 7.5 rating and 27 share. KARK’s “News 4 Arkansas Today” had a 3.5 rating and 14 share.