News Articles

Station Break

5/02/2004 08:00:00 PM Eastern
Items:

Early Edition

WOAI vs. USAA

Dish Adds Duluth

All in Fun?

Have Your KAKE

'NBC 6' Deep Sixed

Early Edition

Muncie, Ind.—It probably won't come as any surprise to local news directors, but a new Ball State study found that viewers are increasingly tuning into early news. The school's Center for Media Design directly observed the media consumption habits of 101 people and surveyed 750 others. It found that their subjects watched more news between 6 and 10 a.m. than in any other part of the day.

"They get up, flip on the television, and get ready for work. Americans are working and commuting more and getting home later. They may not be home for the early news because of work or family obligations," says study co-author Robert Papper. He suggested that the results may force local TV stations to "address the shift in consumer consumption" of news programming. TV news directors could move local newscasts from 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., to catch commuters.

Some stations have already started switching local news to later slots. WXIA, Gannett's Atlanta NBC affiliate added a 7 p.m. newscast last year to reach people who could not catch the 6 p.m. program. Belo Corp.'s WFAA Dallas launched a digital channel that features a fully automated, real-time news ticker, local-weather updates, and sports scores. WCVB, the Hearst-Argyle station in Boston, is among those experimenting with a local-news-on-demand product for cable subscribers.

The study was conducted in July and August 2003 in Muncie and Delaware County, Ind. Muncie is called "Middletown," since sociological studies in the 1920s and '30s concluded it was the typical American town.

WOAI vs. USAA

San Antonio—A WOAI investigative story on job outsourcing in San Antonio's largest private employer has landed the station in court. Insurance and financial-services giant USAA filed a lawsuit last week against Clear Channel Communications and reporter Tanji Patton, claiming Patton obtained "confidential and proprietary" documents without company permission.

"USAA is not disputing or questioning any of the facts we ran in our story," said WOAI General Manager Don Perry in an April 26 broadcast.

The story, which ran during the February sweeps, dealt with USAA's practice of using foreign contractors for some of its information-technology businesses. The station could be liable for actual damages, up to $1,000 in fines, court costs, and attorney fees.

Dish Adds Duluth

Duluth, Minn.—EchoStar's Dish Network has added satellite feeds of local channels in the Duluth-Superior market: ABC affiliate WDIO, owned by WDIO-TV Inc.; Fox station KQDS, owned by KQDS Acquisition Corp.; Granite's NBC outlet KBJR; PBS station WDSE; and New Vision Group's CBS affiliate KDLH.

All in Fun?

Sacramento, Calif.—Viacom-owned UPN affiliate KMAX tossed some on-air barbs at competitor KCRA's new shopping-mall-based noon newscast April 22. Good Day Sacramento
co-host Nick Toma joked about seeing "a guy eating a corn dog" in the studio window behind KCRA anchor Walt Gray. He said the name—The KCRA Experience—"sounds like a ride at Disneyland."

Have Your KAKE

Wichita, Kan.—Gray Television hopes that its investment in a new fiber-optics network for its ABC affiliate will help some Kansans have their KAKE and watch it, too. Several cable systems on the fringes of the Wichita market have not carried the station because they have not been able to receive a strong enough signal. KAKE General Manager Terry Cole says the new equipment should make the station's signal available to an additional 22,000 cable subscribers—about 5% of the 450,000-household Wichita market.

'NBC 6' Deep Sixed

Charlotte, N.C.'s NBC affiliate has quietly dropped its "NBC 6" moniker, a move management believes will help the station dig out of its traditional third-place finish. WCNC, owned by Belo Corp., now calls itself "Carolina's News Channel." The station adopted NBC 6 in 1996 to capitalize on its ch. 6 spot on local cable systems. The only problem: Viewers without cable receive the station on ch. 36.

 

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