The dark days brighten WJZ


December 09, 1991|By Michael Hill

ALTHOUGH BOB Turk may decry the cold weather when it shows up in his forecasts, it means good ratings news for his station, Channel 13 (WJZ):

With the onset of wintry temperatures in the crucial sweeps month of November and the loss of Daylight Saving Time, younger viewers came inside and turned on their sets earlier. And those younger viewers tended to watch situation comedies on Channel 13 and Channel 11 (WBAL) rather than the news on Channel 2 (WMAR).

WMAR's news still gets a good rating in November: It stays about the same as it was in October, comfortably ahead but not dominating the competition. It had a 14 rating, 39 share in October, and a 13 rating and 31 share in November.

But in October, it had beat the ratings of "The Cosby Show" on Channel 13 and "The Golden Girls" on Channel 11 (WBAL) combined. As those younger viewers flocked to the sitcoms, "Cosby" went from a 7 rating, 14 share in October to a 10/24 in November. "Golden Girls" rose from a 5/14 to a 7/16.

These numbers are from the Nielsen service. The rating is the percentage of Baltimore area households tuned to a particular program; the share is the percentage of those households with their sets on at the time.

Stripped of competition at 5 o'clock by Channel 11's decision to get out of the news game at that hour, Channel 2 continues to rack up an impressive number, helped immensely by the lead-in provided by "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which had a 14 rating, 40 share at 4 p.m. in November.

At 6 o'clock, Channel 13 weighs in and, as usual, dominates. This time, the station got a 16 rating, 31 share. Channel 2 dropped to a 9/18. Channel 11's new 6 o'clock hour received only a 6 rating, 12 share, but that was significantly better than JTC the dismal 4/8 it recorded in October.

Another disappointing news number that's at least going in the right direction is that of Channel 45 (WBFF) at 10 p.m. When the station went on the air with its news in the summer, its executives were talking about a 5 or 6 rating. In October, it had a 2 rating and 4 share. In November, that rose to a 3 rating, 5 share.

The ratings news is also mixed for Channel 45 from 6 to 8 p.m. Its back-to-back hours of pairs of "Married . . . with Children" and ''Cheers" had higher numbers than they did in October, but they ran slightly behind the much cheaper lineup of "A Diff'rent World," "Sanford and Son," "Mama's Family" and "Amen" on Channel 54 (WNUV).

At 11 p.m., Channel 13's news doubles the numbers of its nearest competitor with a 14 rating, 36 share. WBAL had a 7/18 and WMAR a 7/17. "Arsenio" on WBFF got a 4 rating, 14 share.

One interesting figure in the Nielsen report is the sign-on to sign-off numbers, which, despite wide variations during the day, are virtually identical among the three network affiliates in rating (7), share (21 or 20) and numbers of women 18 to 49 years old, the demographic category most attractive to advertisers.

Channel 2 gets its numbers with its syndicated talk shows, "Donahue," "Sally Jessy Raphael" and "Oprah," (which also provide many of the women viewers) as well as NBC's prime time. Channel 11 gets its ratings and women viewers with CBS' dominant afternoon soap opera schedule. Channel 13 leans on its local news programs, and ABC's prime time, for its numbers and demographic strength. In the end, it comes out about even.

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