Station to Station

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Tsunami Reports For Local Markets

On his first international assignment, ABC News' Alex Stone
traveled to Thailand to report for the network's affiliate news service
NewsOne, as well as ABC News Radio. Stone, 23, returned stateside Jan. 9 and
spoke with B&C about covering the
disaster.


How did your assignment differ from
network correspondents'?

We focused on particular markets. When Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was
touring the area, we gave Florida stations an extra angle and more attention.
Stations could do a Q&A with me about local angles that impacted their
audiences, instead of just getting a cut-and-dry report. We also did live shots
during stations' fundraising specials, in places like Denver and Boston,
telling viewers how the money was being used.


How were the working conditions?

Most of our time was spent near Patong Beach. One day, we went to Khao
Lak, a site of complete devastation. Our hotel was still operational and
untouched, complete with high-speed Internet and air conditioning. People were
still there to vacation. We did live shots in a home donated by the owner, who
didn't want any money. We used a satellite uplink and truck from Bangkok,
which worked well. I always carried bottled water, power bars and packs of
peanuts, which came in handy when we traveled.


Which stories stand out for
you?

We met a family from Salt Lake City who just found their 15-year-old
daughter's body in a morgue after searching all week. They looked at
thousands of bodies. They waded into the ocean to look for her. There were
incredible stories of amazing courage I'll never forget. I'll grow old
remembering this trip.

Reality Grabs Great Demos

Reality shows offer more than exotic locales and hair-raising
competitions. They also provide advertisers with the coveted 18-34 group. And
in 75 TV markets, midsized Northeast and Midwestern cities are hotbeds of
reality TV viewing.

According to a new study from Scarborough Research, 30% of Providence,
R.I. residents typically watch, compared to the 23% national average. In
Flint/Saginaw, Mich., and Cincinnati, 29% of residents tune in, while 28% watch
in Oklahoma City, Grand Rapids, Mich. and Louisville, Ky.

Scarborough's findings help steer advertisers' local spot buys.
Its latest report trumpets reality's youth hold and habits: The demo buys
cars, cell phones and tickets to sporting events.

Strong showings

The report also detailed where particular reality genres play well.
Adventure shows are popular in Cincinnati, where 21% of residents say they
regularly tune in. WKRC Cincinnati is among the highest-rated markets for
CBS' Survivor. Viewers in Spokane, Wash.,
Seattle and Portland, Ore. also favor adrenaline-pumping shows like
Survivor and CBS' The Amazing Race.

Talent shows do well in Raleigh/Durham, N.C. and Providence, R.I. Fox
affiliate WRAZ Raleigh was a top-three finisher among the network's stations
with last year's American Idol finale.

By contrast, viewers in Los Angeles, Kansas City, Mo., and Grand
Rapids, Iowa, prefer romance. In those cities, 14% of viewers tune into dating
reality shows. ABC's The Bachelorette
posted its highest debut ratings Jan. 10 in Columbus, Ohio (10.3/14), Atlanta
(10.2/14) and Louisville (10.1/14).

“It is important to look at local habits, not just the national
numbers,” says Cheryl Greenblatt, Scarborough's SVP of broadcast TV.
“[Advertisers] may not have thought to target a market like Providence
before.”

Markets with the smallest reality appetites: Fewer than 20% of viewers
in Detroit, West Palm Beach, Fla., Albuquerque/Santa Fe, N.M., New York and Des
Moines, Iowa, say they regularly watch. Of course, not every show conforms to
trends. The Apprentice recently scored its
best local ratings in Detroit and New York.

Send local station news to
aromano@reedbusiness.com

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