Channel 64 Losing News -- Again
Will a 10 p.m. newscast be a ratings salvation for the digital CinCW?
WKRC-TV is pulling its 10 p.m. newscast off WSTR-TV (Channel 64) in August, and moving it to the CinCW, its sister digital signal.
"It made more financial sense for us to do the news on our own station than to have it air on a competitor down the street," says Les Vann, Channel 12 vice president and general manager. The decision was made before Newport Television acquired Channel 12 and 55 other Clear Channel TV stations in March, and before Vann started April 7 at Channel 12 and the CinCW.
The Cammy Dierking-Dave Burchell newscast debuted in August 2006 on Channel 64. That was six months after Channel 64, owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, pulled the plug on its low-rated hybrid local/national "NewsCentral" 10 p.m. news. Channel 64 again will air syndicated shows when the newscast goes away in August.
Channel 64's 10 p.m. news averaged a 2.8 rating (25,320 homes) and 4 percent audience share in February, up from a 2.4 rating and 3 percent share in February 2007. (Fox affiliate WXIX-TV averaged a 7.8 rating and 13 percent audience share for its one-hour 10 p.m. news in February.)
The CinCW digital station – seen mostly on cable here – averaged a mere 0.5 rating (4,522 homes) and 1 percent share for the "TMZ" tabloid magazine at 10 p.m. in February.
If viewers make the switch from Channel 64 to the CinCW, the 10 p.m. news could be one of the highest-rated shows on the digital station. The CinCW's most popular show outside prime-time in February was "Two And A Half Men," with a 1.7 rating at 7:30 p.m. But that’s a big if. There's no guarantee viewers will change channels, based on Channel 12's experience moving its 7-8 a.m. "Good Morning Cincinnati" newscast to the CinCW in January when CBS ordered the station to air its full "Early Show." Ratings for "Good Morning Cincinnati" fell off the table in February, from a 7.0 on Channel 12 (6-7 a.m.) to a 0.7 on CinCW (7-8 a.m.). Ouch!
However, many more homes here will be able to get the CinCW over-the-air with converter boxes after the nationwide switch from analog to digital TV next February. We'll see what happens then.