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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, March 05, 2008

Where The News Came First?

Folks at Channel 5 (and Channel 9) must be pretty frustrated this morning, after their aggressive coverage of the Ohio primary results last night.

Though there wasn’t a lot to talk about, Chanel 5 made the commitment of being on the air all night, 7:30-11:30 p.m., blowing off NBC programs. If you wanted to know what was going on here – or how few votes had been counted – you could tune into Channel 5.

Channel 9 pre-empted ABC at 9 p.m. – an hour earlier than scheduled -- to carry Mike Huckabee's concession, and stayed local through the 11 p.m. news.

Channel 19 did a full hour of election news at 10 p.m.

And then there's Channel 12, with the city's No. 1 newscasts in the morning, noon and 11 p.m. What did they do? Not much. They did their usual half-hour newscast on My64 at 10 p.m., and their 11 p.m. news.

It had to be frustrating for the other stations to look at the 11 p.m. ratings, and see that Channel 12 had the most viewers (as usual) for the least effort.

I watched much of Channel 5's election coverage. I give them credit for being there. In my opinion, there was too much commentary from Bill Cunningham and others. (Did Cunningham really say he wanted to drive a stake through Hillary Clinton's heart last night on 5?) Sometimes Channel 5 was behind, like when Sheree Paolello announced about 9:15 p.m. that Huckabee might drop out – while other stations were carrying his concession speech at that moment.

Channel 9 also did the right thing by going with elections over "According to Jim." Looking at the ratings, it's apparent that viewers found Channel 9's election coverage at 9 p.m., which beat Channel 5 at that point.

This is not the first time that Channel 12 has done minimal coverage on a big news event… and made money by carrying network shows and commercials, instead of losing money by pre-empting them. "Big Brother" at 9 p.m. was second in the time period, behind Fox's "New Amsterdam" premiere, and ahead of election news on Channels 9 and 5.

At 10 p.m., Channel 12's "Jericho" dropped to fourth, behind local news on Channels 19, 9 and 5, so there clearly was an appetite for election info at that hour. Channel 12's news on My64 was a distant fifth.

Here are the numbers:

8-9 p.m.: "American Idol" wins big (15.6 rating); Channel 5 election results fourth behind entertainment shows on 12 and 9.

9-10 p.m.
19: New Amsterdam, 9.6
12: Big Brother, 7.0
9: Election results, 5.6
5: Election results, 5.2

10-11 p.m.
19: Election results/news, 8.5 (Biggest local news rating for local news tonight, bigger than 5-9-12 at 11 p.m.)
9: Election results, 6.6
5: Election results, 4.8
12: Jericho, 4.7
64: Election results/news, 2.8
64: (10:30) Raymond, 3.6

11 p.m.
12: Election results/news, 7.6
9: Election results/news, 6.7
5: Election results/news, 4.4
19: Simpsons, 4.4

I don't know if last night may change viewing habits or hurt Channel 12 in the long run. But I'm guessing that some Channel 12 viewers wanting local election news last night switched to Channels 5 or 9 or 19.


at 3/05/2008 11:55 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could not possibly care any less about any of the local stations and their coverage. It's all overblown, drags on for entirely too long, and lacks both substance and commentators with any knowledge or credibility. I occasionally checked the Board of Elections website for updated returns, then went right back to ticker-free cable channels!! Glad you all blew your commercial revenue for nothing!!!

at 3/05/2008 12:06 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or perhaps viewers watched their favorite CBS shows while keeping up with election coverage on, which had the most comprehensive results and coverage of any local TV station on the web.

at 3/05/2008 12:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watched a little of 5's coverage. It was like open-mic amatuer night. Lots of jabber, very little substance. How many times in 4 hours can you report ballot shortages in some precincts? Willie and Lincoln Ware were a waste of valuable air time. School closings would have been more interesting.

When I flipped to 9, they were repeating a package that I had seen earlier on the 6pm news.

Local election coverage is a glaring example of what budget cuts have done to the TV newsrooms.
Watered down talent and not enough people to do a good job.

Spent most of the night watching basketball or MSNBC.

at 3/05/2008 12:27 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the commentary, kiese!
but please try to weed out comments from elbert tucker (anon 12:06) and the other news directors.
i don't need to hear their inane self-promotion.
btw, what's your honest impression-do the stations do this for ratings, or do it competitively?
i mean, doesn't chan 9 jumping on board at unplanned time smack of rushing to catch up with 5?

at 3/05/2008 12:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any thoughts on where 12:06 draws a paycheck?

at 3/05/2008 1:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea I am a local 12 viewer, but I was mad that the "Local" station didnt have results. I switched to 9 and found there coverage to be very good.

at 3/05/2008 2:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

is 9 going to show the carpoolers episode that got covered up?

at 3/05/2008 2:48 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kiese, was Robin Wood on Oprah already?

at 3/05/2008 2:51 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

Robin Wood was on "Oprah" last Thursday.

at 3/05/2008 3:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Kiese, I was p!ssed when 9 went to that crap at 9PM. I may be in the minority, but I like According to Jim. And I can wait til the next morning when everything is presumably counted to get my results. I was watching Jericho at ten, which had been hyped all week about not missing the last five minutes, and just as we were rolling to that big finish, perky little Katie Couric popped on to give us the all important update. Kudos to her and CBS News though, for doing it during a commercial break, and not stepping on the show. For a minute, I thought I was gonna have to drive to C-Bus to do her bodily harm, but thankfully, they got in, and got out without a whole lotta muss.

at 3/05/2008 4:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the question is - did the stations cover the elections ad nauseum for viewer benefit or for sheer competetion, the answer is as obvious as why 9's am show sucks so bad. Its a pissing match. No one in any newsroom takes viewers into account when they do anything. Four hours of coverage on snow flurries, 17 hours of coverage on a primary that wouldnt have results until morning. Did anyone at 5 really think their ratings would spike when they blew out network? No. They did it so they coul run a promo saying they did it. And so they could say their coverage was "most complete" and they were the only station to do it. 9 just followed suit as they always do. Nothing like following the station in fourth place. Short cutins would have been more effective. And they still would have been annoying. has deteriorated to the point where it's embarassing to work in a newsroom.

at 3/05/2008 5:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The election coverage was TOO MUCH! 12 was the only smart one in the market. Who needs 4 hours of coverage on a PRIMARY!!! Way overboard on 5's part. As usual. If I wanted to get the results I turned to cable news. I was very happy that 12 did not bump CBS programming for this crap.

at 3/05/2008 6:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the comments here are pathetic.

Even if their motives were otherwise, I applaud 9 & 5 by providing the community service of providing live, local election coverage.

I feel sorry for you if the American election process, that so many fought and died to give you the right to participate in, bores you. For those of us that do care about our country, I think the least you can do is suck-it-up and miss your shows for one night.

at 3/05/2008 7:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought that Kiese told the viewers that Channel 9 was going to have election coverage starting at 10:00pm. I guess since channel 5 started earlier they had to follow suit. Is channel 9 sinking as low as channel 5 has become. I was looking forward to watching ABC/Channel9's shows from 9-10pm. I would rather watch that than there election coverage that they had on.

at 3/05/2008 8:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Or perhaps viewers watched their favorite CBS shows while keeping up with election coverage on, which had the most comprehensive results and coverage of any local TV station on the web."

Wow. That's some serious sarcasm. Has to be, given how lousy 12's web site is.

at 3/05/2008 8:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a primary. It didn't have any immediate impact - outside of levies and other issues on the ballot.

4 hours is way overkill. Even Lyn Tolan wouldn't have done four long and boring hours.

And yes, I predicted bad ad-libbing. My record stands intact. Nothing is going to change at WLWT until with Hearst has a Black Friday or Randy buys WLWT instead of WKRC.

Peter Grant, Tom Atkins and Steve Douglas are rolling in their graves. Even Richard Hull and Scott Osborne did a better job.

WCPO-Why Tanya O'Rourke with the Vote Brothers? Thankfully it wasn't Bernard.

WKRC-Dusted off the format from Nick and Don North and did it. Like clockwork.

WXIX-there was an election? Just kidding. Much better than WLWT.

Even Flippo the Clown would have done better than WLWT.

at 3/05/2008 10:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where was the coverage when others and I were dis·en·fran·chised. In Clermont County I had to wait for a ballot. My children were so upset they made me leave the polling booth. Boo-hoo, wait they did try to make a story out of that on 9. But they did not use the word dis·en·fran·chised. I almost fell down laughing when they tried to string this poor mom's story out. Yawn, just get your welfare check and shut up.

The ticker on ESPN News was more captivating, when basketball scores would change by five points each time the ticker came around. At least it was more exciting than 0% precincts reporting for 90 minutes.
Good news, sounds like the local news talent will be back out at the salt piles on Friday. Go white death!

at 3/05/2008 10:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where was the coverage in Clermont County when others & I were disenfranchised because I had to wait for a ballot. My kid's were so upset, I had to leave the polling station. Wait, Channel 9 did try and string out that mother's poor situation, but they never used "disenfranchsied". Lady, just collect your welfare check and shut-up.

Good news, "White Death" is drawing near, the news talent will be at the salt piles on Friday. Wait, there might actually be a preview on Thursday as the drivers drink their coffee before putting a 12-hour shift. Maybe they should do a news story on sleepy govt workers and how they are a danger to us on the roads and crosswalks. They might plow snow against your car door because your not bright enough to move your car in a snow emergency.
Wow, that felt better. What a great forum!

at 3/06/2008 2:20 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear god, C-Bus? someone dropped a C-Bus. please don't stay anonymous. Please tell me your name. Anyone saying C-Bus is just too cool to stay anonymous! And the way you spell p!ssed is just so over the top, you hunk you! now, can the adults return to the room?

at 3/06/2008 7:10 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Cunningham as an election analyst? Are you kidding? John, are you drinking some kind of kool-aid and falling in line with this? Your only criticism is that they used too much of his commentary. How about that they used him at ALL?

at 3/06/2008 7:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i guess we can see 12 employees are posting on this blog. bottom line: they dropped the ball....AGAIN!

at 3/06/2008 9:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 6:09pm. I should be ashamed of myself that I didn't "suck it up" and watch "how few votes had been counted". I had no idea that our fallen heroes gave their lives for the sake of my viewing choices.

at 3/06/2008 10:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:09 -- You are absolutely right.

at 3/06/2008 10:35 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched 5 most of election night. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give it something less than 1. Mindless jibberish between the two co-anchors looking at each other when they were speaking like two girls gossiping at a soroity sleepover."Commentary" from one of the Galvin brothers and Lincoln Ware trying to channel a Democratic 60's political love-in. It was was worse than bad. As the evening progressed it got worse with good hard news even more difficult to find. What a waste of a couple of hours I will never be able to recover.

at 3/06/2008 11:10 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

john, what were the ratings for the morning after the election?

at 3/06/2008 12:27 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, have you seen this blog?

at 3/06/2008 12:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's less 9 was following channel 5's lead... they were making the choice to actually come on the air when there was news to report... voting problems state wide, people turned away at the polls, no resuts until 9pm.

Let the numbers tell the story.

Kies, you should also list the Midnight numbers when 9 had yet ANOTHER report.

at 3/06/2008 1:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay - I am a Big Brother fan. And I have to say 12 did NOT drop the ball. In fact - I am so happy they didn't ruin the show for me by needlessly breaking in to tell me the results that were already at the bottom of my screen. I was very nervous because they covered the start of the show - but thank God they backed off and let the competitions play out.

John's whole blog doesn't make any sense anyway. 5 and 9 did too much. 12 did too little. I don't think it was an issue of minimal effort as he says - it was just wisest use of time.

I don't need a bunch of hacks on TV for four hours telling me what I am supposed to think about the election and the results. When I want the information, I will tune in to the NEWS which is supposed to start at 11pm, right? Isn't that kind of the point of scheduling it?

Its really funny that 19 skated through John's report - with a seemingly praise-filled line of "a full hour of election coverage" at 10pm. I am guessing 5, 9, and 12 did full election coverage at 11pm, too. And people say 12 dropped the ball, but forget that they also are on at 10 on 64 - so people at least had a choice - I can watch Jericho OR the channel 12news.

From the ratings John posted - I'd say 12 made the best decision by NOT covering ad nauseum a primary with two or three big issues. That's what CNN and MSNBC are for.

And thank you for letting me watch my show!!! That's what i was looking forward to seeing anyway.

at 3/06/2008 1:44 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Columbus Dispatch's Ohio Primary 2008 blog is just kicking the Enquirer's Politics Extra's ass on this big Tuesday. The Dispatch has been on top of things all day, reporting on the impact of the heavy rains and alleged irregularities. The Enquirer posted nothing between 8:30 a.m. and about 2:45 p.m. In that time the Dispatch had 22 posts.

At 3:46 p.m., the Enquirer said, "Jon Craig reports: Voters in Adams and Perry counties have been given permission to vote provisionally at their county boards of elections because of severe flooding at polling locations." The Dispatch had that at 2:12 p.m.

at 3/06/2008 4:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe John wrote something positive about 5.

at 3/06/2008 5:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's going to snow!

at 3/12/2008 4:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:09 - Thank you, Captain America. I thought all those brave souls fought and died to give us the right to vote, not to give local TV stations license to spend three hours repeating the same non-story over and over again. I have no problem with coverage, when there is really something to cover. Was knowing the fact that 0% of the precincts had reported in at 9PM earthshaking stuff for you? Or could you have waited until the 11 PM news to be told that? Could you have awaited COMPLETE results first thing in the morning??? The brave men and women who gave their lives for this country would probably be sick to their stomachs to see how we have turned into a society who thinks life can be solved in 30 minutes like a sitcom, or that women are fainting at a political candidate's rally's because "he's sooooo dreamy" but couldn't tell anyone one thing Mr. McDreamy stands for. but thanks anyway, Rambo, for belittling them further by tying their sacrifice to overkill coverage of a PRIMARY.

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