Station to Station

Big Plans for Big Four Fare On Dot-2s

6/30/2011 03:59:36 PM

Hearst TV’s new ABC outlet in Monterey-Salinas, which airs on sister KSBW’s dot-2 channel, is off to a strong start since debuting in DMA No. 124 April 18. We wrote about the launch of Central Coast ABC in April, and Hearst says the May 23 finale of Dancing With the Stars put up a 9.1 household rating and 6.4 in adults 25-54–outrating some well established shows on the traditional affiliates in Monterey.

Broadcasting over the air on channel 8.2, as well as on cable and satellite, Central Coast ABC put up a 1 household rating in sign on-sign off in May, says Hearst TV, equal to Fox affiliate KCBA and behind sister NBC outlet KSBW and CBS affiliate KION.

Group chiefs, and their network counterparts, are surely curious how a Big Four network would fare on a digital channel, especially with Fox looking to launch on a few dot-2s in the coming months following blow-ups with a handful Fox affiliates.

Central Coast ABC is one of nine ABC affiliates running on a subchannel. Another airs on Raycom’s WALB in Albany, Georgia.

Raycom chief Paul McTear says the group is in talks with at least one network about using Raycom’s dot-2s to air Big Four programing in markets where the networks do not have coverage. He says WALB’s subchannel has been “immensely successful” for Raycom.

“It’s our first taste of a Big Four on a dot-2 and we think we’ve been very successful with it,” he said.

KSBW-Central Coast ABC GM Joseph Heston says the new venture is off to a promising start as well.

“The May results outperformed our expectations,” he said in a statement, “given the station was only on the air 10 days prior to the May ratings period.”

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