Tag Archives: ABC

L.A. Wildfires Drive Local News Viewership

More than a million residents in the Los Angeles area tuned into local TV newscasts last week than did in the previous week as wildfires raged across Southern California, according to Nielsen data.

Viewership of local evening newscasts soared across all seven news-producing television stations in Los Angeles compared to last month’s rating sweeps period.

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Facebook Live Pushes WMTW To Social Win

In this week’s edition of Social Scorecard, learn how Facebook Live helped make WMTW the market leader in social media actions.

WMTW, Hearst’s ABC affiliate in Portland, Maine, holds a slight lead in social media actions in the market over the last six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee.

WMTW has more than 2 million actions on social, 26% of the total engagement generated by the DMA (No. 79), with more than 6.5 million social actions.

WCSH, Portland’s NBC affiliate owned by Tegna, led the market on Twitter with almost 29,000 actions. WCSH also led the market in actions per post with 195.

WHTP-FM, owned by Mainestream Media licensed to Kennebunkport, Maine, and broadcasting a Rhythmic Top 40 format, led the market on Instagram with more than 50,000 actions during the same period.

Amy Beveridge

Amy Beveridge, WMTW’s news director, says the station’s use of Facebook Live during breaking news and severe weather is one reason why the station led the market.

“Back in July, we had seven tornado warnings in one day that was actually a record for an entire year. We had two meteorologists in-house and we were able to be on Facebook Live actually faster than we were able to be on air. So we were able to reach people right away.”

Route 302 Bidgton

The unbelievable storm video and pictures continue to come in this evening. This is Route 302 at Moose Pond right after a suspected tornado hit the area. Utility poles are nearly on their side! http://bit.ly/2t2pWRb

Posted by WMTW-TV on Saturday, July 1, 2017

Craig Smith

In October, a major wind storm knocked out power to half a million homes and businesses in the area, so the station turned to Facebook Live.

During the height of the storm,” says Craig Smith, WMTW’s digital media manager, “to be able to utilize Facebook Live to present the most up to date information really helped out a lot of people who had lost power. They couldn’t watch TV, all they had was their smartphone, so Facebook Live is certainly a powerful tool.”

Live Storm Coverage

BREAKING: Central Maine Power is now reporting more than 100,000 power outages. Watch live storms coverage. http://bit.ly/2yZfWtH

Posted by WMTW-TV on Monday, October 30, 2017

Politics and state government also got lots of engagement via Facebook Live for WMTW.

A budget impasse that threatened to shut down the state was the subject of several successful Facebook Lives by the station’s political reporter, Paul Merrill. The station passed along questions and comments from users to Merrill during his interviews.

“Our political reporter was obviously there covering it almost 24/7,” says Beveridge, “and he did exclusive interviews on Facebook Live with the power players. Some of those were pretty successful.”

#shutdown – day three. #mepolitics

Posted by Paul Merrill WMTW on Monday, July 3, 2017

But one of the station’s most successful Facebook Lives, a funeral procession, had no audio at all.

“We had a Marine from Maine who was killed in a helicopter crash,” says Beveridge, “and we had a Facebook Live of his casket coming off of the plane to begin the convoy up to Maine. There wasn’t even any audio to it. It was just something that people just wanted to watch and it really touched people.”

Fallen Maine Marine Benjamin Cross returns home one final time tonight. Watch the procession from Logan Airport. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. http://bit.ly/2eYbbY6

Posted by WMTW-TV on Thursday, September 14, 2017

Facebook Live, says Beveridge, can be used as a tool to heighten interest and drive viewers to the station’s newscasts, like the series the station did on opioid addiction.

“Just a couple hours prior to that, we did our own Facebook Live with an in-studio interview with people who worked in the recovery community. They can be really useful to promote to that special.”

Both Beveridge and Smith say WMTW’s connection to the community helps drive its successful Facebook strategy.

“I think of the boy who had cancer,” says Beveridge, “and his last wish was to get Christmas cards from as many people as possible. That story really, really took off.”

“Even people across the country were seeing his story and reacting to it in a positive way,” says Smith.

Facebook stories like that are where “you can really touch people in a real heart-warming way,” he says.

Penguins visit Jacob

A day after a caravan of police officers honored a little boy battling terminal brain cancer, Jacob Thompson received another special visit today from his favorite animal! 🐧❤️ Tap the link to see more of the visit and how you can help him celebrate the holidays. http://bit.ly/2hhpurB

Posted by WMTW-TV on Thursday, November 9, 2017

Beveridge says uplifting stories about people in the community on Facebook is transforming how her station covers the news on broadcast.

“Before Facebook, you didn’t see as much of those sorts of stories in a newscast, and now you will. Take that story, for example, we were able to really advance it by picking up the popularity of it on social media then advancing it through the newscast.”

While Beveridge admits the station’s makes little money from Facebook, the platform is a vital part of WMTW’s marketing.

“An interactive promotional tool that gives people stories they care about, that’s invaluable. So it might not be a money amount that’s attached to it, but the word of mouth that comes from it is so important.”

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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WXYZ Promo Makes Free Holiday Gift List

This clever and well-executed promo for WXYZ’s new app is sure to get many downloads. Phil Wrobel, creative services director at the Scripps-owned Detroit ABC affiliate, sent me this note along with the spot.

“I thought this would be a fun promo to share with you. Our goal was to reinforce that our viewers and users can connect with us and get our content on any platform. With the holidays right around the corner, we thought it was a perfect opportunity promote our brand on all the OTT platforms since many of these devices will probably be on a lot of people’s list this year.”

“We had a little fun with the copy and the timing of the spot was perfect for the shopping season. I hope you enjoy!”

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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WTAE Says Bundle Up All Day Pittsburgh

Starting this morning at 5, Hearst ABC affiliate WTAE Pittsburgh will be pleading with area residents to bundle up, even though temps are expected to hit 50 degrees.

It’s time for the 32nd annual WTAE Project Bundle-Up Telethon benefiting area children and senior citizens.

Volunteers will take viewer pledges from a phone bank throughout the day that will be broadcast during segments of newscasts and in breaks throughout regularly scheduled programming.

The day-long telethon will continue with an hour-long special from 7 to 8 p.m., preempting regular programming, and wrap up during WTAE’s 11 p.m. newscast.

“It’s more than a coat; your generosity brings smiles and the comfort of knowing someone cares,” said Charles W. Wolfertz III, WTAE’s general manager.

“Our longstanding partnership with WTAE Channel 4 has raised over $14 million and helped more than 275,000 kids and senior citizens stay warm,” said Major Deborah Sedlar, Salvation Army divisional commander, Western Pennsylvania Division.

“WTAE-TV project Bundle-Up serves as reminder of the good that happens in our community, when we come together for a good cause.”

WKBW’s Anchor Promos Totally Believable

Jeff Russo

I’ve never met WKBW news anchor Jeff Russo.

But after watching a couple new promos featuring him, I believe every word he says.

He comes across as the kind of guy who would make a great next-door neighbor, and I guess, as a news anchor at WKBW, the Scripps-owned ABC affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y., that’s kind of what he is to WKBW viewers.

Russo was the sports director at WKBW but changed over to news about three years ago, according to Sue Dobmeier, WKBW’s creative services director.

“We wanted to present him as a family man and involved in the community, show him in a softer light rather than just a news anchor. He has been at the station for 14 years.”

I like the woman announcer at the top, she sets the mood right off the bat.

I think these kind of spots really resonate with viewers.

Hey Jeff, I think there’s a house for sale right next to mine!