February was a good month for WBAL-TV (Channel 11), as the local NBC affiliate turned in one of its strongest sweeps performances in years.
The station's local newscasts at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. weeknights drew larger audiences than those of its chief competitors, WJZ (Channel 13) and WMAR (Channel 2), combined. In late news at 11 p.m., WBAL topped its nearest rival, WJZ, by two ratings points (20,500 area TV households).
"By any objective measure, anyone looking at the February ratings would have to conclude that the pre-eminent news organization in Baltimore at this time is WBAL-TV," said Bill Fine, the station's general manager.
But Jay Newman, WJZ's general manager, disputed Fine's claim of pre-eminence, pointing to the neck-and-neck battle in morning news and his station's victory at noon weekdays - with WJZ beating WBAL and WMAR combined.
"The February sweeps once again show Baltimore is blessed with two very strong and competitive television stations," Newman said. "And that competition is a good thing for area viewers."
- David Zurawik