Archive for the ‘Analysis’ Category

Denver Media Watch 8.7.11: Channel 9 Goes Spanish, Chanel 2 Gets a Makeover, and More
August 7, 2011


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

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.

KMGH to Move Dr. Oz to 4pm, “7News Now” to 3pm, Inside Edition to 3:30 (Updated)
May 17, 2011

In what is likely a response to KCNC’s replacing of Oprah with 4pm news, KMGH announced in a press release on its website today that it is moving “7News Now” to the 3pm hour, followed by “Inside Edition” at 3:30, with “Dr. Oz” moving to 4pm. This change starts May 26th. It does not really imply when this change will occur. Here’s more from the press release:

The new lineup gives 7NEWS viewers the first look at news and weather at 3 p.m. with 7NEWS Now at 3PM. This earlier news program offers Denver audiences the day’s top stories delivered by 7NEWS veteran news team Anne Trujillo, Mike Landess and Colorado’s most trusted meteorologist Mike Nelson.

“We’re eager to provide a great local newscast to the community at 3 p.m. — when news is always breaking. And we’re excited to open up a new time period to showcase meaningful stories to the news audience,” said KMGH-TV news director Jeff Harris.

I think it’s a great idea to move to the 3pm hour. It allows KMGH to have the hour to themselves, and it makes the 4pm hour a little less crowded. What I don’t like, however, is that the hour-long newscast is being shortened to 30 minutes.

Reactions: Colorado Primary Coverage
August 10, 2010

Tonight is the night where all the stations pull out their fancy election graphics (see? I pulled mine up above too), send out their best political reporters, and extensively cover the contentious gubernatorial and senatorial primaries. I will keep this post updated throughout the night over what I see. So far, I watched channel 4 at 5pm and saw that they have Paul Day, Tom Mustin, Valerie Castro, and Terry Jessup at the McInnis, Maes, Romanoff, and Bennett headquarters, respectively. I haven’t watched anybody else yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

If you see anything of interest in the coverage, please comment below.

6:04: I see Channel 9 has political analyst Floyd Cirali in the studio.

7:00: Channel 2 is promoting the fact that they’re the only 7pm newscast, and therefore, the first newscast with primary coverage. John Bowman is at the Denver Elections Commission. Eli Stokols is also reporting tonight.

7:26: With results pouring in, channel 2 is still live. Channel 7 has a giganto-ticker. Channel 31 has a more modest ticker on their screen. I didn’t see anything on channels 4, 6, 9, 12, or 20.

9:19: Joanne Ostrow praises every station except Channel 4, who didn’t have a ticker on for most of the night (at least when I checked) and called Bennett’s win later than others.

KDVR’s “Nightside” Offers a New Angle to Late Local News
July 27, 2010

Ron Zappolo interviews Tom Tancredo in the "new" studio.

If viewers were to watch the three local 10pm newscasts on channels 4, 7, and 9 last week, they would have seen a remarkable similarity between the three news products. All three are held down by the stations’ most senior talent, often leading with the same story on all three stations every night. All three late newscasts cover a traditional wide range of local, national, and world news pieces, seldom spending more than a minute or two on each story. The weather report is given priority, and sport is usually split between one or two commercial breaks.

Channel 31’s new 10pm newscast, “Nightside”, hopes to change that, and watching the debut last night, I think they did a very good job at that. The new newscast focuses on less stories but dedicates more time to them. From Heidi Hemmat’s piece about a Vail Post Office worker accused of multiple sexual assault incidents to Eli Stokol’s examination of the gubernatorial race, all but one story last night was a local story. The only one that wasn’t was a typical Fox News wire story about a man in India with the longest ear hair in the world, but it seemed very out-of-place. Perhaps it was run because they had fifteen seconds to fill before the break. The rest of the stories covered were all local and all had more airtime dedicated to them than expected.

The weather forecast has been reduced to about two minutes. Most other newscasts spend closer to three on weather. Chris Tanaka’s sport report has also been reduced to a single two-minute segment. In the 35 minute newscast, I counted roughly nine minutes of commercials. The other channels often run twelve or thirteen in their 10pm newscasts. (For reference, in a typical 30 minute television program, eight are usually commercials.) Most newscasts take their first commercial break by 10:10, but “Nightside” didn’t bow out until 10:14.

Channel 31 is also clearly trying to capitalize on their anchor team. Promos commemorating Ron Zappolo and Libby Weaver as their lead anchor team for 10 years have been running on the channel for several weeks now. The two normally have chipper on-air chemistry during the 5pm and 9pm newscasts, but “happy talk” is greatly reduced during the more serious “Nightside”.

I was also very impressed when Tom Tancredo was interviewed live in the studio. While I am not a fan of Ron Zappolo’s interviewing skills, Zappolo did challenge Tancredo more so than normal. I love seeing in-studio interviews of newsmakers, and I hope this becomes a regular segment.

The debut newscast ended not with a typical softie piece about Klondike and Snow or something of similar insignificance, but rather a 60 second interview with John Elway. I was not home at 10pm, so I recorded the newscast and watched it about an hour later, but my DVR cut out before the John Elway interview. However, it did look like the “60 Seconds With…” will be a regular segment.

The 10pm newscast also features a special set of graphics that are more subdued and less Fox-like. The time lapses of the city that are aired when coming back from the commercial breaks are a nice touch. The set is simply KWGN’s weather set repurposed with a city backdrop and several plasma screens. It is small and limited in camera angles, but it does give the program a unique look.

Even with significantly enhanced content, one problem that “Nigthside” faces is its lead-in. Channels 4, 7, and 9 all have network programming as their lead-ins, while “Nightside’s” lead-in is channel 31’s untouched, stodgy 9pm news. I am unsure how many people will stick around for an extra 35 minutes of news after an hour of news.

“Nightside” isn’t perfect, but it is refreshing to see a renewed emphasis on in-depth local news. Channel 31 is able to produce a newscast that is significantly different from all the others at 10pm and different from channel 31’s normal output. I am glad that someone is doing something different not just at 10pm, but in this market alone.