33 stations/7.68% of U.S.
The big question is going to be whether to stay with the [daytime] schedule we currently have or try some new product," says Mary Carole McDonnell, vice president of programming for Raycom Media.
"Do I stay with a product that is delivering a 1.5 or 2, or do I move forward and pick up a new product that won't guarantee I do as well or better?" she asks. Furthermore, she points out, there isn't as much new product coming out as there has been in past years.
Raycom is assessing the November books before making any decisions. But it is possible that the group will clear some new shows.
As everyone in the broadcast industry knows, she says, the daytime audience is eroding. "You can't generate the ratings to garner the revenue to make it worthwhile." Groups like Raycom are asking themselves, "How do you continue to attract viewership to your stations when overall the viewership has eroded fairly dramatically?"
The group's daytime offerings run the gamut. "We have such diversity geographically that our stations' schedules vary dramatically," says McDonnell. Daytime offerings in some markets include Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus; The View; and Live With Regis. Talk shows Queen Latifah, Ricki Lake, Montel, Jenny Jones
and Oprah, as well as court shows Judge Mills Lane, Power of Attorney
and Judge Mathias, can also be found on Raycom stations.
Access is solid for the group, with stations airing a variety of programming: Wheel of Fortune, Entertainment Tonight
and sitcoms Friends, Frasier, Drew Carey, Seinfeld, 3rd Rock From the Sun
"The syndication community and the television business is very challenged at this time," says McDonnell. "2000 was not a good year. 2001 will be a challenging year for broadcasters all around because of the massive consolidation."