Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Local News Topples Cable News

With competition like CNN, Headline News, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and CSPAN, local broadcast affiliate news remains the media of choice.

Despite the attractiveness and ease of 24-hour news on cable networks and the Internet, local news has the greatest following.

Earlier this month David Rehr, President and CEO of National Association of Broadcasters, spoke about the future of broadcasting.

He stressed the effectiveness of local newscasts and provided some surprising statistics:

During the 2005-2006 TV season, broadcasters had the top 235 highest rated programs among all TV households.

Cable's most-watched show was number 236. It was on ESPN.

Additionally, during the month of May in Spokane, Washington, 994 Comcast subscribers ages 25 to 54 watched one of five 6P cable newscasts. In this same demographic and time slot, three local broadcast newscasts attracted a total of 38,500 people.

That’s nearly four times the amount of viewers of cable newscasts.

So why is the appetite for local news so strong?

Maybe because people want to know how the news affects them. When the news is local, the affect is greater.

Maybe because local reporters cover neighborhood stories, in addition to national and international news. They promote local causes, provide vital emergency information, report schools closings and weather conditions and publicize upcoming events.

David Rehr says, “We work hard every day for our audience, and the numbers bear this out.”

With so much media attention given to cable newsmen like Bill O’Reilly, why are local broadcasters often left in the dusk?

If local news has significantly higher ratings that cable news, why isn’t more attention cast on the success of local news?

To read David Rehr’s transcript or to watch a video of his speech, click here.



At Thursday, November 02, 2006, Anonymous AJ said...

I watch more local news than cable news because I know I'll get the major international/national stories as well as local stories, like the accident in Hillside, which isn't that far from where I grew up. Plus, every time I go online I'm bombarded with the top news stories, so I don't feel like I need to check CNN or MSNBC on the regular.

Also, I feel a connection to Alilson Payne (WGN) and Warner Saunders (NBC) because I've watched them for so long, and I can't say the same about Anderson Cooper or Wolf Blitzer.

At Friday, November 03, 2006, Anonymous AL said...

1. I watch local news because I can't afford cable.

2. Local broadcasters don't have as much celebrity sparkle as national/cable personalities. A local face will be known to its local viewers only whereas a national face is seen nationwide.

Therefore, you say 'Bill O' Reilly' and more people know his name. You say 'Sarah Lee' and only the local viewers of the station will know who she is.

That's why I actually miss some of the familiar broadcasters from my hometown and personally, it's good to go back home and see them still reporting the local news.

At Monday, November 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to AL -

1. That's so sad you can't afford cable. I actually can't afford it either, but that hasn't stopped me from subscribing. :)

2. I disagree with you here. Local broadcasters have a ton of celebrity. Everyone in Chicago knows who Alison Rizoti is (spelling Jenny?) and let me tell you that everyone in Cleveland knows who Dick Goddard is. I'd be surprised if as many people knew about Bill O'Reilly or Nancy Grace.

Check out Dick Goddard's Wooley Bear Festival on, where else, YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r-gpDoJ3c0.

- LO


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