The competition is tight but KVUE TV (ABC) once again is walking away from May sweeps with an overall win. Taken as a whole, KVUE won all but one of the weekday newscasts. In most time slots KXAN TV (NBC) was right on their tails with KEYE TV (CBS) falling to third and sometimes fourth behind KTBC (Fox).
It is worth noting that this is the last rating period before all stations turn off their analog transmitters and broadcast only in digital TV. The DTV transition is June 12, 2009. This time, there will be no further delays. KEYE TV (CBS) was the only station broadcasting only in digital during these sweeps weeks. The competition was using both their transmitters. Also, the digital footprint may be different from that of the analog signal. So, it can be argued that KEYE was at somewhat of a disadvantage.
A win is a win, however, and Frank Volpicella, KVUE TV news director, is happy heading into the Memorial Day weekend. “I’m honored that once again the viewers in Central Texas chose KVUE News as their primary source of news and information in the Austin market,” Volpicella said. “I have a talented staff of dedicated journalists who work hard each day to serve our viewers. It’s because of their hard work … KVUE News the news to watch in the Austin market.”
Weekday morning ratings were all over the place. KVUE edged out Fox in the 5 a.m. hour when Austin’s eyes are barely open, followed closely by KXAN. The 6 a.m. hour has KXAN surging ahead, followed closely by KVUE and KTBC (Fox). You recall that Olga Campos joined Melissa Gale on KVUE’s Daybreak. KEYE with Michelle Valles and Fred Cantu was a distant fourth both hours.
KVUE won all evening weekday newscasts—5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. KXAN was in the #2 spot for all weekday evenings. KTBC was #3 at 10 p.m. with The Simpsons, pushing KEYE from #2 to #4. KEYE was also #4, behind KTBC News at 5 p.m. and TMZ on KTBC at 6 p.m.
The weekends were something of a hodge-podge. KVUE, KXAN, and KEYE were 1, 2, and 3 Saturday night at 10 p.m. Sunday, KXAN was #1, followed by KVUE and KEYE. It should be said that KTBC’s 9 p.m. newscast scored good numbers when compared to other station’s 10 p.m. ratings. It is impossible to say whether they would be that strong if they ran head to head in the same time slot.
Because KTBC TV is the only VHF (Very High Frequency) station in town on Channel 7, their footprint is bigger and their reach is farther than much of the competition. Only KXAN can compete because its news is rebroadcast on its full-power UHF (Ultra High Frequency) station, KXAM TV from a tower near Llano. That power advantage that KTBC has held since the 1950s also ends with the DTV transition.
The next sweeps month is July. I’ve always called it a “stupid book” because of Daylight Saving Time and fewer students at The University of Texas. The first chance to see Austin stations truly on a level playing field are the all-important November sweeps. Assuming no major changes between now and then, November, 2009 will be the new measure for which station rules the ratings in Central Texas.
© Jim McNabb, 2009