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The Scramble For Local News Ratings And Local News Versus Prime Time Entertainment
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A promotional announcement on NBC-owned-and-operated (O&O) Channel 4 in New York City, shown immediately before LA. Law, said that upcoming news items on the 11 P.M. news included the death of a "star" of the show; subsequent announcements changed that to "familiar face." The announcement referred to the suicide of David Rapp port, the diminutive actor who had appeared as an aggressive but sympathetic lawyer on several episodes of the series during the previous two seasons.
A network news executive, who asked for anonymity, said, "It was unseemly but effective," and commented that such incidents Links Of London Bracelets demonstrated the increasing interplay between entertainment and news programs at both the network and local levels, and the declining enforcement of news standards.
Both the promotion and its placement were calculated to hold the LA. Law audience for the news program. The tactic worked--the 11 P.M. news broadcast had a 19.3 rating and 37 percent of the audience, an increase of more than 30 percent over the preceding week. In New York, each rating point represents about 72,000 homes with television. The jump in ratings was particularly significant because it took place during May, a sweeps month, when ratings determine how much stations will charge for advertising.
In 1989 in Los Angeles, a television trendsetter, KHJ, an independent station owned by the Walt Disney Company, announced that it would introduce in January 1990 the nation's first 3-hour local newscast, from 8 P.M. to 11 P.M. This change resulted in 14.5 hours of local news daily on seven VHP television stations in the area, the most hours in any market in the country (according to Willis Dugg, president of Audience Research and Development, Inc., a Dallas television news consulting company). Increasing the hours of local news programming was motivated by the quest for advertising profits, especially because many sponsors think news programs attract affluent viewers. Local news can be profitable even when fewer than 4 percent of households are watching (according to Steve Cagle, a vice-president at Frank Magid Associates, a research and consulting firm in Marion, low).
A 30-second ad urging viewers to call their senators and ask them to vote against $400 million in aid to El Salvador was rejected by television stations throughout the country. The ad is polished and powerful. As a spot of blood grows on a check being written to the Internal Revenue Service, there are sounds of rifle shots and photographs of the six Jesuit priests murdered by the Salvadoran military in 1989. As the blood grows, a voice says, "Your tax dollars are putting America into the red. Tell your senator, 'vote no' on aid to El Salvador. Keep America out of the red."
The ad was produced by a coalition of peace organizations and may signal a new vehicle of expression for cause-oriented Links Of London organizations that are finding it increasingly difficult to attract the attention of either the news media or the U.S. public.
All network-affiliated stations in New York and Washington rejected the ad for various reasons, some on the grounds that it was too violent. (A Planned Parenthood study of network "entertainment" discovered that elementary schoolchildren see 12,000 acts of violence a year on television programs.)
The program manager of a Los Angeles station, WJLA, rejected the ad and explained: "We make it our policy to not air material which is in-tended to inflame or incite unreasoned public responses rather than reasoned debate."
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