Category Archives: TV ratings

How Stations Use News Topicals On Facebook

This is the final part of our five-part series, Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 4 here.

Across the country, millions of people watch the entertainment programming TV stations provide during the day and at night. So it makes sense for stations to promote their newscasts topically within all that programming in the hopes viewers will stay and watch the next newscast.

For years, this was the only means stations had to recruit news viewers with the news of the day, unless stations bought time on other media, like radio, print or cable.

Then came Facebook.

Facebook provides stations with another — and much more mobile — screen to reach potential news viewers.

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Creativity, Flexibility Drive Best News Topicals

This is Part 4 of our five-part series, Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 3 here.

News topicals can take many forms.

Some creative services directors and topical writer/producers say recording the main news anchor sitting behind the anchor desk works best for their station.

Others see value in shooting their news anchor in the newsroom, cinéma vérité style.
And other stations try to feature real people and sound bites, along with reporter teases from the field.

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Finding And Keeping News Topical Writer/Producers

This is Part 3 of our five-part series Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 2 here.

Creative services directors are finding it harder and harder to find good news topical writer/producers.

Some grow their own, plucking them right out of college, perhaps as interns, and train them. Others look internally, finding someone already at the station who wants to be creative.

With bigger salaries to offer, CSDs in bigger markets have the ability to recruit from smaller markets, but that presents challenges, too.

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What It Takes To Create Quality News Topicals

This is Part 2 of a five-part series, Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 1 here.


Being a news topical writer/producer is one of the toughest jobs in local TV news marketing.

And to do that job well, the experts say, you need to have a passion for journalism, a thorough knowledge of what news is covering in the newscast, the ability to recognize what stories will resonate with viewers, and the confidence to promote those stories even if they’re not the news department’s top stories.

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Building Viewership With News Topicals, Part 1

Tonight at 11, there’s a big change in the weather forecast.

That’s one of the better 4-second news topicals you can write.

Granted, not one you can use every night, only when conditions warrant, yet weather is the main reason people watch local news, and a ‘change’ in the forecast creates a thirst for news.

News topicals, those ubiquitous promos embedded in programming enticing viewers to watch the next newscast, have been a staple of local TV news since forever.

Effective topical news promotion can lead to sampling, and during sweeps, possibly into ratings.

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WVUE Wins Late News Ratings In November

In the November sweeps period, WVUE, Raycom’s Fox affiliate in New Orleans, was first at 9 p.m. (6.4 HH rating Monday-Friday), and at 10 p.m. (7.9 HH rating Monday-Friday), in household ratings, having the most late news viewers of any television station in the DMA, according to a statement from the station.

Blaine Strawn

Blaine Strawn, WVUE’s marketing director, explained in an email why he thinks the station’s performing well.

WVUE sticks to doing what they do best and it pays off once again. The success is centered around a two-tiered approach.

No tricks, no sleight of hand, no typical consultant driven ratings grabbing gimmicks. It may seem too simple to believe, but the results speak for themselves. Great content marketed effectively creates viewers.

First off, the news department produces compelling and meaningful special reports every week night of the book for both the 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts. At the heart of all of this content is true journalism.

Enterprise stories, reporters and producers doing the research and finding those special stories that impact our viewers everyday lives.

Standing at the top, FOX 8’s Chief Investigative reporter, Lee Zurik, who continues to find corruption any many areas of state and local governments.

In November, Zurik brought the findings of a seven-month investigation into the Louisiana State Police to light. The story outlines alleged abuse of State Police detail program that made one trooper the highest paid police official in the state, at all levels of government.

FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

The investigation was so impactful, the State Police scrambled to change their policy after Zurik’s interview with the department’s superintendent and before the story aired.

The marketing department uses two avenues to bang the drum, our on-air signal and social media.

To get the attention of viewers who are not watching on a daily basis, we strategically place Facebook ads and paid social media videos to target those users in key demos.

NOTE: Let’s review. Consistency, compelling content, true journalism, policy-changing investigations, effective marketing and media management win news ratings.

SHOCKING: One Louisiana officer makes more than the vice president of the United States. But, how? Is it legal? Are other officers doing the same thing? >> Bit.ly/Fx8nov17You'll be shocked to see what Lee Zurik FOX 8 finds in his 7-month investigation. TONIGHT at 10pm.

Posted by WVUE FOX 8 News on Wednesday, November 8, 2017

SHOCKING: Lee Zurik FOX 8 INVESTIGATES:How are some police officers doubling their salary using a loophole at the expense of taxpayers? What our surveillance found is shocking >> Bit.ly/Fx8nov17TONIGHT at 10pm.

Posted by WVUE FOX 8 News on Thursday, November 9, 2017

‘Splashy’ News Image Campaign From KLRT

KLRT, the Fox affiliate in Little Rock owned by Mission Broadcasting but operated by Nexstar under a shared services agreement, rolled out a new news image campaign.

“This hit air last week with the full campaign rolling out this week, just in time to make a splash at the beginning of sweeps,” says Danielle Ray, KLRT’s creative services director.

The campaign features six spots for the evening news, the main anchor talent, reporters, investigative reporter, sports anchor, and chief meteorologist.

KLRT’s main anchor team of Kevin Kelly and Donna Terrell have been anchoring the news together in Little Rock for 14 years, the longest running anchor team in the market.

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Pot Farms And Serial Arsonists, November Sweeps

This is the first full week of the November sweeps.

All month, we’ll be sharing how local TV stations are promoting their station’s sweeps stories, special reports, investigations, both on-air and on Facebook. And we always share the actual news story as well.

If your station has a sweeps story that you’re promoting and you want to share both, let me know at [email protected] or you can always call me for any reason at 817-578-6324.

It’s harvest time in California. Not oranges or avocados, but illegal pot. $300 million dollars’ worth. So much that one county is calling in the National Guard.

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Bad Biker And Getting Out Alive, November Sweeps

Yesterday was the first day of the November sweeps.

And  TV stations across the country are promoting their sweeps stories, special reports and investigations, both on-air and on Facebook.

If your station has a sweeps story that you’re promoting and you want to share both, let me know by email at [email protected] or you can always call me for any reason at 817-578-6324.

In the meantime, I’ll be watching my Facebook feed for sweeps promos and then finding the sweeps stories on that station’s web site and sharing them from time to time during the month.

Here are a couple of Facebook promos and the stories they promote.

Read On

After 1,500 Market Share Posts, What’s Next?

I contend that that there is something interesting going on at every  TV station every day — in either news, marketing, sales or social media, and I want to share those stories on Market Share.

Since this blog for TVNewsCheck went daily in March of 2014, I’ve written more than 1,500 posts.

The topics for Market Share generally are about local TV news and its marketing.

I’ve interviewed TV station managers in news, marketing, digital content and sales.

All of the columns are rich in embedded videos, pictures and graphs.

In looking back through the 1,500 articles, you’ll see just about every subject covered that relates to local TV, from an early article about a duo that were promo pioneers who started local TV news promotion in the 1970s to the most recent one that showed some brand new local TV news promos from the past month.

Many of the articles profile individual markets and how they answered marketing challenges.

My favorite type of article is about success — success in increasing news ratings, a successful sales story, local TV commercials produced by stations that get clients’ customers, and many about great examples of outstanding news coverage.

I also follow many local TV stations on Facebook, and many times their postings have led to stories on Market Share.

Speaking of Facebook, in addition to the daily Market Share posts, I also write a weekly piece, Social Scorecard, that profiles the leading media out on Facebook from the past six months in any given market.

People often ask me how do I decide what to write about, and my answer is usually, I write about what I know. So story ideas come from you in an e-mail, or sometimes a press release that interests me and then I follow up, investigate, and interview.

But I need to hear from you, creative services directors and marketing directors, news directors and sales managers, general managers and digital directors, commercial producers and promotion writer/producers and news producers.

Going forward, what would you like to see covered in Market Share?

You tell me what’s next.

NOTE: To see every Market Share column from the most recent back through all the columns to the beginning, click on the Market Share icon at the top of the TVNewsCheck home page or click here.

A word of caution that over time, some of the video examples I used at the time may not always be still available within that column.

If you’d like a Word doc list of all the columns, (some 130 pages) by title and link, drop me an email ([email protected]) and I’ll send it to you.