If you’re a general manager or news director at a local TV station, it may seem that all these special investigative stories you’re seeing on local stations aren’t worth the trouble. That’s because this month’s sweeps are being dominated by CBS powerful programming lineup, and the effect of that on local news has WLKY-TV leading the way in nearly every news hour.
Two-thirds of the way through Sweeps, CBS primetime lineup is bringing home an overall rating of 11.95 for WLKY, more than double its nearest competitor, which has helped the local station enjoy a commanding late-night news number.
WLKY GM Glenn Haygood says CBS programs, such as NCIS, The Good Wife, How I Met Your Mother, have him feeling confident about the station’s positioning, especially with the NCAA Basketball Tournament coming up. WLKY-TV consistently ranks among the leaders nationally among CBS stations during the Tourney, regardless of whether a local team is in it.
And it’s also WLKY’s turn to host coverage of Thunder over Louisville this year.
Haygood said the momentum has carried over to other dayparts. In mornings, where WHAS-TV has been dominant in most sweeps periods, WLKY has pulled dead-even at 6 and ahead at 4:30 and 5. WLKY is winning the Noon news race as well.
The numbers don’t bode that well for WAVE. Its new 725Live show at 12:30 is losing audience from WAVE’s Noon News, and is losing to Jerry Springer over on WMYO. Last year, WAVE got a boost from NBC Olympics coverage, but its numbers across the board are down.
The benefits of local programming, such as the CW Louisville Live and WAVE3 Listens, continue to be lost on viewers. The CW show’s ratings are tiny, even lower that most of the other shows on the station.
Fox41’s Bill Lamb told me he’s pretty happy with his new news program at 6:30, which is pulling nearly a 4 rating against network newscasts. It is losing audience from Judge Judy, which precedes it, but Lamb said he would have been happy with a 3 and wouldn’t have panicked had it been a 2.
So the question remains — do all the special investigative reports on local newscasts, all the promotion, really affect the ratings book? Maybe, but not as much as having The Big Bang Theory in prime time.