Market Eye: In the SwingSouth Florida’s local news scene is as colorful as ever 2/27/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern
It takes a bold approach to stand out in perhaps the most
fragmented television market in the nation, and WSVN
Miami pulls it off with loads of local news coverage
delivered by eye-grabbing, and ratings-hogging, talent. Sunbeam Television’s Fox affiliate added an
hour to its morning newscast last August, giving
WSVN a stunning 10½ hours of local news a
day. “We continue to pour it on as far as news is
concerned,” says Bob Leider, general manager.
“That is the base of our television station.”
More than 46% of the Miami–Ft. Lauderdale
market claims Hispanic origins, according to
BIA/Kelsey. So rich are the Spanish-language
offerings that local TV executives speak of
“microniches” that broadcast to subsets such as
Cuban expats. Miami’s Univision and Telemundo
outlets are huge, and Leider says an Englishlanguage
station can’t be a market leader without
having lots of Hispanic viewers on board. “We
relate to that community very well,” he says.
Things look sunny in South Florida. The state
is poised for its typical battleground role in the
November election, and Miami is exceptionally
healthy when it comes to TV revenue. While it
is Nielsen’s No. 16 DMA in terms of TV homes,
it is No. 7 in revenue, reports BIA/Kelsey.
The stations are well-supported, with lots
of network owners and a prominent local one.
Post-Newsweek’s WPLG enjoys neither, but is
nonetheless a major player. Dave Boylan, VP
and general manager, describes WPLG’s approach
as “very professional. In a market often
known for its tabloid [approach], we’re very
strong in investigative and politics,” Boylan
says. “Journalism is center to what we do.”
WSVN’s rivals call it a “monster” and a “gorilla”;
the station wins most news ratings races in
viewers 25-54. WSVN tied Univision’s WLTV
in total-day household (HH) ratings in last November’s
sweeps. WLTV won primetime, with
CBS O&O WFOR edging out WSVN for the
English-language HH lead. (WSVN won prime
in 25-54.) WLTV grabbed late news with a 6.5
household rating/12 share, ahead of Telemundoowned
WSCV. WPLG was tops at 11 p.m.
among English-language entries at a 4.1/8.
WSVN took mornings easily, while WLTV and
WSCV split the early evening news crown.
Tribune owns CW affiliate WSFL. In terms
of duopolies, CBS owns MyNetworkTV outlet
WBFS, while Univision has TeleFutura-airing
WAMI. Other Spanish-language channels include
Cuban-targeted WJAN and Mega TV
station WSBS. Comcast is the dominant subscription
NBC owns WTVJ and sister WSCV. Former
WSCV GM Manuel Martinez was named WTVJ
GM Feb. 14 after Ardyth Diercks departed.
WTVJ is enjoying additional resources from
Comcast-NBCUniversal, including 30 new staffers
and 12 new live vehicles. The station last fall
added four hours of weekend-morning news.
WFOR has Dr. Phil at 4 p.m. weekdays in
place of Oprah Winfrey, while The Big Bang Theory
is a WBFS “tentpole,” says Adam Levy, VP/GM.
WFOR loves its NFL Miami Dolphins partnership—
whether or not the team is good in a given
year. “Ratings are amazingly consistent,” Levy
says. “The fans are there, week in and week out.”
WSFL has undergone the largest makeover
in the market. Scrapping its morning newscast
last year, WSFL has Tribune’s Eye Opener
show at 6 a.m. and new branding touting an
entertainment-heavy lineup. “We
decided we need our own brand and own
identity again,” says GM Howard Greenberg.
The often-sexy presentation in Spanishlanguage
newscasts has influenced Miami TV.
While some rivals question the outfi ts worn
by WSVN talent, it clearly works for the station.
“When we lost our affiliation in 1989
[with NBC], we realized we had to be very attractive
as a news station, in terms of content
and graphics and people,” says Leider. “That
blend is what the station is all about.”