Local News Viewership Is Down, Stations Ramp Up Their News Coverage


While Seattle’s KOMO 4. KING 5, KIRO 7, and KCPQ 13 continue to expand the hours of local tv news programming, a recent Pew Research Center study shows that viewers care less.
In 2018, viewership for network local affiliate news stations (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC) declined in key time slots – morning (6 a.m. to 9 a.m.), evening (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and late night (11 p.m. to 2 a.m.) – according to Comscore StationView Essentials® data. The average audience (defined as the average number of TVs tuned to a program throughout a time period) for the morning news time slot decreased 10% in 2018.
LOCAL TV average audience for the late night and evening news time slots also declined (14% for both). Audience for the midday news (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and prime news (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) time slots both declined 19%.
Roughly 29,000 employees worked as reporters, editors, photographers or film and video editors in broadcast TV newsrooms in 2018, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics. Median wages for editors in 2018 were about $57,000, while for reporters the figure was about $55,000. For film and video editors and camera operators, the median wage was about $50,000. Photographers had a median wage of about $46,000.
With the high turn-over at local tv stations, it is possible that management is seeing to it that the bottom line remains low, meeting the decline in viewership. Why pay a veteran newscaster the big bucks to read the same story a new-hire from North Platte, Nebraska can read?

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Jason Remington

Author: Jason Remington

Creator, Admin, & Editor of PugetSound.Media, former broadcaster at KAMT/Tacoma, KRPM FM/Tacoma, KJUN/Puyallup, KASY/Auburn, KTAC AM/Tacoma, KBRD FM/Tacoma, KMTT FM/Tacoma, and KOOL FM/Phoenix.

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