The Whole Story

by Dan Ward

WKMG-TV (CBS) introduces its new lineup today, in a controversial move that not only eliminates several afternoon newscasts but also moves the network news broadcast to 7 p.m.

It will be interesting to see whether this succeeds, and what steps, if any, the station’s competitors take in response. A case could be made that it is a move of desperation … Katie Couric’s numbers are so low that local news might hopefully draw higher ratings.

It could also be said, however, that General Manager Skip Valet makes a valid point when saying many people “are not even home to watch the news” on earlier broadcasts. I know I’m not.

The bigger question in my mind is whether Skip’s team is going to tailor its broadcast to a different demographic, those people who haven’t gotten home in time to watch the local news in the past but now may be able to do so. Will we be seeing more coverage of Central Florida’s business community, for instance, or will an hour-long block of news just provide us with more extended coverage of the Casey Anthony trial?

If it’s the former, this not only presents opportunities for those of us in the PR field to tell the stories of the businesses we represent, but might also give us a reason to watch TV news again.

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