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Dec 3, 2001  •  Post A Comment

WNYW’s James Ford goes full time
James Ford, a free-lance reporter for Fox-owned WNYW-TV, New York, got recognition for his Sept. 11 coverage-the most “horrific” story of his career-in the form of a permanent job offer. He will become a WNYW general assignment reporter beginning Monday. “This is just allowing me to keep doing that full time,” Mr. Ford said. “It sweetens an already sweet pot because I really enjoy this station.” On Sept. 11 he was scheduled to do a live shot in-studio at 8:45 a.m. Instead he was sent downtown, where he stayed for 30 hours, to cover the World Trade Center attacks along with veteran reporter and former cop Mike Sheehan. Just before the first tower collapsed, he was transfixed on the people jumping out. But when he heard the rumble of the disintegrating building, he and the crew quickly ran uptown, just seconds ahead of the enormous dust cloud.
Boston news race tightens in November
Boston’s news race proved tighter than ever in November, with CBS-owned WBZ-TV winning the two-hour morning news race from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. for the first time since 1996. ABC affiliate WCVB-TV won the 5 a.m. hour, and WBZ won at 6 a.m., but WBZ narrowly eked out an overall win for the entire two hours with a 3.6 Nielsen Media Research rating and 18 share, which was 1 share point higher than WCVB’s average of 3.6/17. “This team has been in place since January, and [ratings have been] growing ever since,” said WBZ General Manager Ed Goldman.
While NBC affiliate WHDH-TV won the 11 p.m. news race, WBZ and WCVB tied for second at 6.4/13. WHDH, which already had a 4 p.m. newscast and launched a 4:30 p.m. newscast on Sept. 3, beat “Rosie” and “Oprah,” earning a 5.1/14 for the hour. “Oprah,” on WCVB, scored a 4.7/12, and “Rosie,” on WBZ, pulled down a 4.1/11. WHDH’s 4:30 p.m. newscast earned a 5.8/14. Fox-owned WFXT-TV, which already had a 4:30 p.m. newscast, posted a 0.9/2.
Unlike many other markets, Boston had higher HUT levels in the November book, with a 50, up from 48 last November, said WHDH General Manager Mike Carson. “Viewership of news has increased since Sept. 11, and our news ratings have strengthened as well,” he said.
KTLA retakes the morning crown
In the first sweeps book since Giselle Fernandez joined KTLA-TV’s morning team, the Tribune-owned Los Angeles station won the two-hour morning news race with a 3.3/11, which was what it earned last November. Rival Fox-owned KTTV garnered a 3.0/10, down from last November’s 3.4/12. “It’s great to have [Ms. Fernandez] … there’s a great chemistry there,” said KTLA General Manager John Reardon.
In the 10 p.m. news race between the two stations, KTTV won by hundredths of a point with a 4.03/7 vs. KTLA’s 3.97/7 Monday through Friday. KTTV won the Monday-through-Sunday race with a 4.1/7, while KTLA pulled down a 3.7/6. “At 10 o’clock it was like the World Series in that it came down to the last game,” said KTTV News Director Jose Rios.
HUT levels were lower this November with a 40 compared with last November’s 41. The only time period in which HUT levels went up in the market was from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. KNBC won the two-hour average for the morning news race with a 2.6/14. But KABC was No. 1 in the 5 a.m. hour for the first time in several years with a 1.9/15, while KNBC scored a 1.7/13. KCBS-TV increased its 6 a.m. ratings by 44 percent to a 1.3/5. KABC’s newscasts were No. 1 at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., while KNBC was No. 1 at 11 p.m.
KNBC sent Conan Nolan to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and KCBS sent Joel Grover to London and Drew Griffin to Israel. “It gave us the ability to showcase local coverage there and look for stories that were of interest to Los Angeles viewers,” said KNBC News Director Kim Godwin. KABC sent David Jackson to Pakistan in October, and in November he went to Israel to visit a former Los Angeles family that now lives there. KABC also sent John North to Washington and John Gregory to Kuwait with local troops; anchor Laura Diaz went to Canada. “We don’t travel just because it’s sweeps, we travel where the news is happening,” said KABC News Director Cheryl Fair. “If there are big stories that we feel have a local perspective, we are going to go.”