The average network affiliate station is producing five hours and 48 minutes of news per day in 2012, according to the 2012 TV and Radio News Staffing and Profitability Survey from RTDNA and Hofstra University. The average station, including independents, came in at 5 hours and 30 minutes per day -- 12 minutes more than in 2011.
Weekday mornings were the largest growth category (28% of stations expanded news in that slot), followed by 4:30 a.m. (20%) and late afternoon (16%).
Confirming the significance of morning news in local TV, 71.3% of responding news directors said their morning news audience is going up, compared to their late afternoon audience (44.1%) and late news (41.7%) viewership. Just over 19% said their late news audience is declining.
Over 60% of the TV stations in the survey plan to keep their news hours consistent this year, while 31.2% seek to increase output. Notably, not a single news director in the survey expects to cut back on news in 2012.
Over the past few years, the average amount of weekday news on a TV station has gone from 4:36 to five hours to 5:18 in 2011.
The survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2011. Valid responses came from 1,238 TV stations and 743 radio stations.
Bob Papper, Hofstra journalism department chairman, authored the study.