Local TV

Hawaii Thrive-O

3-station Raycom newsroom challenges market leader 11/01/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern

What's Working In Honolulu

Island stations are shaking up their weather offerings. KHON has expanded its forecasting coverage from one part-time staffer to a three-person team operating out of a new weather center on the set. The trio focuses on major events such as volcanoes and tsunamis, as well as day-to-day elements like fog rolling off the mountains and fouling up commutes. “There are a lot of microclimates here,” says Joe McNamara, KHON president/ general manager.

Hearst’s KITV launched MOREtv Hawaii on its .2 channel Oct. 4. The multicast channel reports weather most of the day, but from 6 to 11 p.m., it airs entertainment fare, such as Access Hollywood and Nate Berkus, that runs at other times of the day on the main channel. A number of other Hearst stations are introducing MOREtv. “We’ve created an audience pretty quickly,” says Michael Rosenberg, KITV president/general manager.

“The Cartel” may sound like a local crime syndicate that Hawaii
Five-0
cops Steve McGarrett and Danno are chasing, but it’s
just one of the many nicknames given to the local news monolith created just over a year ago in Honolulu. Raycom’s
KHNL (NBC) and KGMB (CBS) and
GMC’s MyNetworkTV outlet KFVE now operate
under the same roof and Hawaii News Now
banner. (Other monikers used by competitors
include “The Triopoly” and “The Multiplex.”)

The newsroom has considerable newsgathering
heft, with 62 staffers. Initial controversy
over the shared services agreement from public
interest groups has quieted. The competition
says it’s not so much the reporting reach
of Hawaii News Now in DMA No. 72—it’s the
promotional might. “If they have something
that’s promotable, they get to promote it on
three stations that night,” says Michael Rosenberg,
KITV president/general manager.

HNN tapped newspaper veteran Mark Platte
to be news director in May. Platte is pushing for deeper-digging stories. “We’re changing the
broadcast to make it fast-paced and fresh,” he
says. “There’s a harder edge than before—that’s
what I bring from newspapers.”

New Vision’s Fox affiliate KHON won’t
surrender the local crown easily. The station
booked nearly $17 million in 2009, according
to BIA/Kelsey, with KGMB and Hearst TV’s ABC
outlet KITV virtually tied for second. KGMB
and KITV also virtually tied for the prime title
in May. KGMB won 5-7 a.m., while KHON
took evening and late news, its 10 household
rating/24 share at 10 p.m. edging KGMB’s 9/23.

KHON thrives on the tenure and chemistry
of its anchor crew, fronted by local celeb Joe
Moore. “You might say he’s the most trusted
man in Hawaii,” says Joe McNamara, KHON
president/general manager.

Other players include independents KIKU
and KBFD. The CW airs on KHON’s .2 channel.
Time Warner Cable is the major pay-TV service.

Business is picking up. Retail and financial
services are increasing their TV spend. Tourism
is on the rise again. The Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation summit is expected to draw
20,000 people to Honolulu in 2011. The NFL’s
Pro Bowl is coming back to Hawaii in January.

Political spending has been huge. Besides the
local races, President Obama’s local roots make
Hawaii a symbolic prize for the national parties.
“There’s more interest on a national basis this
season than we’ve ever had,” says Rosenberg.

Stations are as competitive as the candidates.
KITV extended its 10 p.m. news to an hour this
fall, while adding weekend morning news. The
station debuted a 6 p.m. Saturday news last
spring. “We’ve added a ton of newscasts,” says
Rosenberg, who retires at the end of the year.

KHON features a new set with a traffic and
weather forecast center and a “living-room
feel,” says McNamara, for Wake Up 2-Day.

Hawaii News Now hosted a Hawaii Five-0
screening party a week before the show’s debut.
Locals flocked to the beach for an evening of
entertainment centered around the cop show.

Even with the competition heating up, Hawaii’s
natural beauty—and improving economy—
has McNamara relaxed. “I kiss the ground
every day,” he says. “It’s paradise here.”

E-mail comments to
mmalone@nbmedia.com
and follow him on Twitter: @StationBiz

What's Working In Honolulu

Island stations are shaking up their weather offerings. KHON has expanded its forecasting coverage from one part-time staffer to a three-person team operating out of a new weather center on the set. The trio focuses on major events such as volcanoes and tsunamis, as well as day-to-day elements like fog rolling off the mountains and fouling up commutes. “There are a lot of microclimates here,” says Joe McNamara, KHON president/ general manager.

Hearst’s KITV launched MOREtv Hawaii on its .2 channel Oct. 4. The multicast channel reports weather most of the day, but from 6 to 11 p.m., it airs entertainment fare, such as Access Hollywood and Nate Berkus, that runs at other times of the day on the main channel. A number of other Hearst stations are introducing MOREtv. “We’ve created an audience pretty quickly,” says Michael Rosenberg, KITV president/general manager.

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