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Television
John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV


Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Attack Of The Sweeps

Halloween is over, and the scary season is just starting. It's November sweeps!
Time for "new life-saving information to keep your family safe!" Thursday at 11!
Time for a story about lapses in our house arrest system. Bad guys on the loose?
Time to dig up the Carrie Culbertson story one more time, at 11 p.m. Thursday,, right after "Without A Trace."
Yes, sweeps start Thursday.
You can tell, because Carrie Culbertson is news once again, more than 11 years after her murder. This wasn't news in October... and won't be news in December. But since it's November sweeps -- the crucial four-week ratings period for TV stations, which will help establish advertising rates and revenues -- it's time to do another story about the Blanchester women who vanished Aug. 29, 1996. "How far will her mother and investigators go to find her remains?" Film at 11 p.m. Thursday.
You can tell its sweeps because Channel 9 is starting a contest for viewers to win a free trip to see the Oprah Winfrey show. All you've got to do is watch Oprah every day 4-5 p.m. during sweeps, Nov. 1 to Nov. 28 for the word of the day.... and then stay tuned and watch the 5 p.m. news on Channel 9 for the cue to call. (Betcha the word of the day won't be "bribery.") Yes, the 5 p.m. news war is still on, and the three local news stations will do all they can to build their 5 p.m. audience. (A story that will never make the Top 5 at 5.)
And stay tuned to Channel 9 at 11p.m. for Killer! Smoke! Detectors! "Your working smoke detector may not alert you to the deadliest kind of fire." But Clyde Gray will alert you. He's on your side. He's on "the Tristate's only high-definition station," as they say. (Doesn't Channel 5 air NBC's prime-time shows in HDTV? Aren't CBS' Bengals games on Channel 12 in HDTV? CET doesn't broadcast in HD? Why hasn't Channel 9 consumer guru John Matarese investigated this claim? (Maybe he's waiting on the research to be completed by his partners at Consumer Reports?) Where's the Troubleshooter when you need him? Somebody call Tom Sussi!)
Yes, it's sweeps, when the newscasts are filled with special investigations and reports. Brace yourself, we've got 28 days of this stuff.... and then things will return to normal.


26 Comments:

at 10/31/2007 11:56 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something I've NEVER understood -- why does it matter to advertisers what sort of ratings TV stations can achieve during the "sweeps" periods -- when stations are admittedly doing special stunts to gain viewers? Then, during the rest of the year (when they AREN'T doing stunts), everything returns to normal. Ratings during the sweeps periods therefore have very little if anything to do with viewership at other times. Right???

 
at 11/01/2007 12:58 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. So cynical. Fiesty almost. I guess you won't be watching the news, but instead will be asking your readers to post their opinions.


Aside from that, seriously, Carrie Culberson? AGAIN??? Until they seriously find her body, can we not let her rest in some sense of peace?

 
at 11/01/2007 7:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, same old stuff. But wait, Kiese, you have been doing the same lame stuff for years!

 
at 11/01/2007 10:14 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it insulting that the local stations think we are so stupid we don't know what garbage they show during sweeps.

Please, I and most viewers are smarter than that!

 
at 11/01/2007 11:26 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there really is a problem with my smoke detector & it may not protect me, I want to know now! Why make me wait until tonight at 11:00? I saw this story being hyped 2 days ago. My house could have burned down by now. How negligent of WCPO to sit on this important story until sweeps when lives are at stake. And the beat goes on...

John Burroughs
Hyde Park

 
at 11/01/2007 11:38 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Normal" is relative when talking about local television.

 
at 11/01/2007 12:07 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

kiese what are your predictions for november sweeps

 
at 11/01/2007 12:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

any word on what stories dave wagner is covering. I wish 5 had a set time for dave's stories to air because then I would just watch then. Dave is the best reporter in this market.

 
at 11/01/2007 4:18 PM Blogger Lauren Bishop said...

"Saturday Night Live" had a great sketch a few years ago that spoofed the TV news habit of promo-ing and delaying important, potentially life-saving news. I can't really remember any details, but it was along the lines of, "Something outside of your house right now is about to kill you! Coming up at 11." Anyone else remember it?

 
at 11/01/2007 4:27 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, as we all know, newspapers are the last bastion of solid journalism, they would never hype anything with a BOLD catchy headline, or fill the paper with useless fluff. Just important news all the time in every issue. Where do I send my Thanksgiving turkey that I colored in to again? Oh, and please do more stories about people dressing up for the Jimmy Buffet concert.

 
at 11/01/2007 4:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John,

It's sweeps, where you can ALSO tell how bitter scribes in the dying newspaper business are ... especially when they are reduced from reporters to "bloggers."

Keep on blogging!
Informative!

You don't like it because they won't put YOU on t-v.

 
at 11/01/2007 5:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that WCPO has commercials touting their High Definition news... But the commercials aren't in high definition. Also, I guess its to much money to pay an engineer to work on Sunday, Their HD news last Sunday was in plain old Standard def.
Also, They are so wound up on protecting the 4:3 center cut that nothing of significance gets put on the 16:9 portion of the screen.

 
at 11/01/2007 6:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey kiese didnt know if you caught the two angry guys this morning. They were making fun of Bernard(Bernie) Watson. Tom and Richard took times reading like him and took forever.
Isn't that odd that they are making fun of a station that ownes them.

 
at 11/01/2007 6:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey kiese
You can tell its sweeps. 9 is expanding there weekend news to an hour at 11pm both nights. The extra half hour will be focused on Demoracy and the issues.

 
at 11/01/2007 6:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone needs to lay off kiese. He is the hardest working journalist in the enquirer. Kiese should win best journalist instead of Paul "Doc" Daughtery.

 
at 11/01/2007 7:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weren’t there comments earlier in the week that John wasn’t offering enough actual television criticism? Yet as soon as he does, he gets lambasted? Come on people! Ggranted, newspaper is not the end -all be- all of journalism, but at the same time you know sweeps is a crock. There isn’t a soul working in TV who wouldn’t be overjoyed if sweeps went away. Maybe when the people meters are in place these dreaded months will go back to normal and TV types can finally take a vacation in November, February or May.

 
at 11/01/2007 8:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rather than skating over the thin ice of superficiality, why not ask a certain t.v. station why they're extending their 11p.m. newscasts to an hour. More news, or just more space for campaign ads on the eve of the election? Is this informing the electorate or fleecing the candidates? Are you up for the challenge or should we just expect more playing to the crowd?

 
at 11/01/2007 8:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John,

Please post this comment: I have read your colomn for years and thoroughly appreciate your work. Thanks for the blog site and taking the initiative to provide a discussion forum like this which NO one else has done. You are a fine journalist and engaging writer. Thanks again and keep up the good work! Mark, Cincinnati

 
at 11/02/2007 8:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Derek said it would be like this......

 
at 11/02/2007 2:34 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John,

GREAT start for Local 12 on the first night of "sweeps."

Shawn Ley was the only newsman "LIVE" witht the Kroger deal,
we were shocked both 5 & 9 didn't have it.

Great hustle, great win!
Yes, we ARE keeping score at home!

 
at 11/02/2007 5:46 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

the reason why channel 9's commercials are not in HD is because they are used a lot of times by all stations in a market. I know I work at a station other than Channel 9 and if we did not get some of there commercials then we would have to do the production all over again. The same goes with channel 9. If they would not get commercials from us they would have to re-produce them and it would cost them money they do not need to spend.

 
at 11/02/2007 5:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog is a good way for people to let out some steam about the local television stations by both media and non media people, but believe me there are some people who post things on here that do not get "Approval" becasue it makes Keeswetter out to be an idiot which is what he is when he does not give you the truth of the matter.

 
at 11/02/2007 11:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Derek might have said it would be like this....but Tony Sands was first to tell you "he said it would". Gimme 5.

PS. Zip Rzeppa forever.

 
at 11/03/2007 2:25 PM Anonymous SUSSI said...

John:
Thanks for the mention.
Yes,nine months after leaving TV 5, I will read your blog.
I'd give you my Top 5 reasons why, but we don't do that down here in Orlando, and I guess my old station doesn't either.
Miss the old city, but not my old job. I am happy as an orange maturing in the Florida sun!

Tom Sussi

 
at 11/05/2007 5:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John,

Why is it that Good Morning America says it is broadcasting in High Definition, but I can not get it that way on Channel 9.1 on my HD monitor? Is Cahnnel 9 not broadcasting it in HD?

 
at 11/06/2007 12:25 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not truw. 9 and 5 were also live with the Kroger announcement. Somebody over at 12 needs to come down from his pedestal.

 
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