Denver Media Watch 8.7.11: Channel 9 Goes Spanish, Chanel 2 Gets a Makeover, and More

August 7, 2011 - Leave a Response


For the loyal readers of this blog (but let’s be honest, there aren’t that many), don’t worry— I haven’t left Denver for Cleveland. I’m still here, and while I’m at it, here are some of the major movements in the Denver media market that have happened in the last few weeks:

  • 9News en Español: KUSA-Channel 9 announced last week that it will begin producing news in Spanish for KDEN-TV Channel 25, Denver’s NBC-owned Telemundo affiliate. The newscasts will air weekdays at 5:30pm and 10pm beginning in October.
  • KWGN and KDVR’s Marriage is Breaking News to Some: The Colorado Independent reports on a media watchdog group who is attacking duopolies such as KDVR and KWGN among many others around the country for cutting costs and resources while setting “record profits” for parent media companies, according to SaveTheNews. The watchdog group and the Independent’s article both present some truths and insights into local journalism that have been reported for years: resources, profits, and staff are shrinking while the quality of the product is deteriorating. Every newsroom in the country, if not the world, is facing the same challenge of doing more with less. In terms of local TV, stations have been consolidating all across the country, and in the specific case of KDVR and KWGN, I doubt anybody in Denver doesn’t know that the two stations are now a combined entity, and the local marketing agreement between the two stations was orchestrated in 2008 in the midst of KWGN’s parent company the Tribune Company filed for bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy ever in the media industry. It is rather disingenuous for SaveTheNews to say that media companies responsible for local TV station consolidation are setting “record profits” when using KWGN and KDVR as the poster child of their political action campaign. This entire thing reads like a news article from 2008, and it seems unlikely that anything can be done about the painful but necessary consolidation in the media industry that has been occurring for years.
  • Ding-Dong, the Deuce is Dead: KWGN-Channel 2, formerly known as the Deuce, has officially buried the branding campaign that led them to become the laughingstock of town. The station is now branded as “Colorado’s Own Channel 2” and includes a new logo that is reminiscent of the swooshy yellow 2 logo of the 1990s. The new graphics package, set design, and refreshed website heavily play off scenic Colorado landscapes. The redesign was executed by KDVR and KWGN’s in-house creative team led by Creative Services Director Erik Candiani.
  • There’s No Such Thing as Too Much of a Good Thing: The Denver Post’s Dusty Saunders reports that KUSA-9News and KCNC-CBS4 are competing for as much Denver Broncos coverage and tie-ins as possible. After last year’s winning season, what more do Denver TV viewers want than that? Snark aside, 9News, now the official station of the Broncos, will produce a bevy of Broncos-related programs across Channel 9 and KTVD-Channel 20 as well as all preseason games. CBS4 is clinging on to its “Broncos Insiders” branding, producing almost as many programs as KUSA despite having limited access to the team. CBS4 will, however, broadcast most of the regular season Broncos games on the CBS network.
  • Familiar Face: sportscaster Marc Soicher and older brother of KUSA-Channel 9 sportscaster Drew Soicher has been hired by KDVR-Fox 31 and KWGN-Channel 2. Marc Soicher last appeared in Denver television on KWGN as a weekend sports anchor. He was laid off in 2008 in a series of budget cuts that eventually led to KWGN’s merger with KDVR. And we’ve come full circle…
  • Local Boy Does Good: The Huffington Post highlights KDVR/KWGN political reporter Eli Stokols on how he is perhaps now the most prominent reporter in Denver television covering the state legislature and local politics especially following the departure of KCNC-CBS4’s Raj Chohan and KUSA-9News’ Adam Schrager.
  • Weekend Shuffle: Following Deborah Takahara’s promotion to weeknight anchor of KWGN’s 7pm program and KDVR’s 10pm program alongside Jeremy Hubbard, Nina Sparano has become the weekend anchor on KDVR. KDVR’s weekend broadcasts have been solo-anchored by Takahara for nearly two years following Leland Vittert’s promotion to Fox News Channel (I guess that’s a promotion), but Julie Hayden, Tammy Vigil, and Eli Stokols have joined Sparano in co-anchoring the weekend broadcasts in recent weeks.
  • More local news on KTVD: KTVD-Channel 20 has been producing a quasi-newscast for the past year weekdays at 11am called “Daily Connection”, an experimental format led by NBCUniversal. The content of the newscast is mostly assembled in New York using national news packages and then sent to affiliates, but in recent weeks, KTVD’s version of “Daily Connection” appears to have been replaced by a general local news format and is now branded as “9News at 11am”. Seeing that the “Daily Connection” format is being discontinued for midday news by NBC-owned stations, it appears that the change is permanent. (Hat tip to Paul)
  • Developments in KMGH’s Sale: More prospective buyers are in the works for KMGH-Channel 7 and its sister stations. Look for a special report on KMGH’s sale tomorrow on Denver Media Watch.

Analysis: More About KMGH’s Sale…

June 17, 2011 - Leave a Response

The news came as a surprise to many when McGraw-Hill announced on Tuesday that after owning KMGH for nearly 40 years, it is looking for a buyer for the station as well as KMGH’s sister stations in Indianapolis, San Diego, and Bakersfield, California. McGraw-Hill cited in its own press release that while its broadcasting division generated $100mn in revenues in 2010, a figure that was up 18% year-over-year, it is planning on focusing on its core financial data and publishing businesses. McGraw-Hill’s reasoning is understandable, but the future of its broadcasting division remains unknown. The television stations are likely attractive to potential buyers being situated in mostly desirable markets, but KMGH-Channel 7 has the most appeal being the only McGraw-Hill station in a top 20 media market.

As an editor’s note, while it is common for media writers to speculate about potential buyers in stories such as this one, I will refrain from speculation and will only report on potential buyers if I have solid evidence or rumors to do so.

Anchor Shuffle at KWGN/KDVR

June 16, 2011 - Leave a Response

Deborah Takahara and Jeremy Hubbard sitting (not standing) at the anchor desk on KWGN on Wednesday.

To casual viewers, it appears as if an anchor edition of musical chairs is happening at KDVR-Fox 31 and KWGN-Channel 2. Kellie MacMullan’s last broadcast on KWGN was on June 10th as she prepares for her move to Sacramento. Meanwhile, Nina Sparano, formerly the tech reporter on KWGN’s 7pm news, took over the weekend broadcasts on KDVR while Deborah Takahara joins her former co-anchor Jeremy Hubbard as the new anchor team of the 7pm broadcast. Hubbard also now anchors the 10pm newscast on KDVR with Libby Weaver. The station has been prominently advertising Hubbard’s return from ABC News in New York, airing promos of him saying how much he missed Colorado. Hubbard even heard his name be chanted by the audience of Film on the Rocks with the help of Chris Parente at Red Rocks in a live report on Tuesday.

In the process of changing anchors of KWGN’s 7pm broadcast, nearly every vestige of the “News on the Deuce” format is all but gone: the anchors are no longer afraid to sit down at the news desk and Nina Sparano’s tech reports have been retired. Other trademark “Deuce” segments on the 7pm show, including musical acts, were phased out months ago, and the 7pm newscast now feels much more like, well, a newscast. The Deuce logo, shards of glass anchor backdrops, and graphics will all be changed on or before July 23rd to a more subdued look that heavily features Colorado scenery.

KMGH for Sale

June 14, 2011 - One Response

KMGH-Channel 7, which has been owned by publishing house McGraw-Hill since 1972, is up for sale along with other Mc-Graw Hill television stations.

Here’s more from Marketwatch:

McGraw-Hill, best known for its Standard & Poor’s ratings service and for educational products, has hired Morgan Stanley to assist in the divestment. The company is looking to shed its ABC affiliate television stations in Denver, San Diego, Indianapolis and Bakersfield, Calif.; and its Azteca America affiliates in five markets.

The company said the properties “should be attractive,” given their desirable locations.

Here’s Channel 7’s own story about it, which was written in New York according to the byline:

The planned divestiture is part of a continuing portfolio review that McGraw-Hill is undertaking across the enterprise to reevaluate its strategic core and ensure it is appropriately allocating capital to generate shareholder value, officials said.

“McGraw-Hill has successfully evolved its business mix over the years and is committed to driving superior shareholder value by focusing on high-growth global brands and businesses,” said Harold McGraw III, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.

The Broadcasting Group had revenues of almost $100 million in 2010, up 18 percent over the prior year.

It is unknown who potential buyers may be.

(Hat tip to Paul)

KUSA Hires New Investigative Reporter

June 10, 2011 - Leave a Response

Jeremy Jojola, currently a reporter at KOB in Albuquerque, has been hired by KUSA-9News as an investigative reporter. He announced this in a post on his blog this week:

This August I’ll be starting a new job at KUSA in Denver as an investigative reporter. I’m excited to work with a team of people who share a passion for investigative journalism and who have a hunger to hold our governments accountable.

Walking into the KUSA newsroom a couple of weeks ago was just as thrilling for me as it was when I was that 19 year old boy. I’m excited. I’m thrilled. I’m delighted. I’m grateful.

(Originally reported by Media Bistro)