Aug 18, 2003  •  Post A Comment

They lay claim to many staggering victories-highest-rated late local newscast in the country, top-ranked newscast for an ABC affiliate in a top 50 market, 10 or more years of sweeps victories in a row.
The list goes on.
A handful of stations around the country are local news powerhouses, some so dominant they no longer measure themselves against the local competition but rather against local broadcasters around the country. TelevisionWeek selected six local stations, ranging from market 5 to market 117, to profile.
Hearst-Argyle’s CBS affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa, KCCI-TV, boasted the top-rated late local newscast in the country several times during the past few years. Atlanta’s towering Cox-owned ABC station WSB-TV ranked first in 15 of 18 news time periods in May compared with stations in other top 10 markets. Hearst-Argyle’s ABC station in Kansas City, Mo., KMBC-TV, has been the No. 1 ABC affiliate in the top 50 markets in household delivery for the past four sweeps periods. Granite’s NBC station WEEK-TV in East Peoria, Ill., has ranked No. 1 in nearly every newscast for 25 years and last lost the late news race 12 years ago. Raycom Media’s Memphis, Tenn., NBC station WMC-TV has claimed victory in the 5 p.m. news in every book since May 1998. And Cox-owned Fox affiliate KTVU-TV has led in households and demos in late local news since 1998 in the changing San Francisco marketplace.
The common denominator that runs across the stations profiled here is stability of talent. From WEEK in Peoria to Atlanta’s WSB, the news leaders rely on anchor and reporter teams with tenure and faces that have been familiar to their communities for decades.
Most of these stations rose to the top without a lot of bells and whistles, relying on the tried-and-true news formula of “tell it first and tell it well.”