The Eye Blinked
The upbeat news release this week touts KEYE-TV’s planned new, one-hour 4 O’clock starting September 15th. What was not said blew right by many people, including me. KEYE is pulling the plug on its 5 p.m. news. The 5 O’clock news broadcast never achieved traction in this fickle market. Not even well-known and liked anchors Judy Maggio and Ron Oliveira now joined by meteorologist Troy Kimmel have been able to drag the show out of the ratings basement. In “the business” when an audience is too insignificant for measurement it gets “hash” marks (///). Hash often has been KEYE’s daily diet during some quarter hours.
Admittedly I was flustered with other items the day of the announcement (That was the day I posted about KLBJ AM’s racist gaffe during the “Don and Todd Show”. ), and I just said, “That’s interesting.” I attempted to get more information from management, but they said details of the announced newscast were still being formulated. I said, OK, and I posted the KEYE news release verbatim with a post script that KXAN TV (NBC) had tried doing news at 4 p.m. for a while and abandoned it.
Today (Friday, July 17th), I took another look at the new late afternoon schedule starting September 15th:
3:00pm Dr Phil4:00pm KEYE 4pm News
5:00pm The Insider
5:30pm CBS Evening News
6:00pm KEYE News at 6pm
An alternative to local news will air in the 5 p.m. slot, “The Insider”.
The national television industry web site “TV Spy Water Cooler” sizzled with comments, some obviously from local people familiar with the Austin market. This comment capsules the conversation:
“KEYE is the bottom feeder. Previous posters are correct, KXAN tried and failed with a 4PM. HUT [Households Using Television] levels are ridiculously low at 4 PM because Austin has such great weather and such a young and active population.
“What wouldn't surprise me in Sept 2010 would be to see KEYE put 2 & 1/2 Men at 6PM to go against FOX and KNVA, then air a newscast 6:30-7pm.”
Another writer suggested a 6:30-7 news cast. Sandwiched in the middle is CBS News with Katie Couric at 5:30 p.m. CBS has made some ratings gains in recent months. Further, it won the Edward R. Murrow award for “Best Network New Cast”, while NBC won the national Murrow for overall excellence. In any event, KEYE is taking a different strategy in September, giving it time to perhaps grow an early local news audience before the November ratings.
© Jim McNabb, 2009