Thursday, May 26, 2005

More on the A-Team

photo illustration by Nathan Gotsch

Earlier in the week, we posted on 21Alive bringing in their weeknight news team in for Sunday nights the last two weeks. Aside from the fact that we want an excuse to repost our snazzy Mr. T graphic again, we did some investigating and uncovered some more information about the Sunday switch.

Traditionally, the numbers for 21Alive on Sunday and Friday nights are very similar in size and demographics, so bringing in the A-Team (which is a term not used by people at the station, though we humbly suggest that staffers consider adapting it) was not done to boost Sunday night ratings. (Even though it happened during sweeps.)

The thinking behind the move was to expose the A-Team to weekend news viewers -- specifically, those who don't watch 21's weekday news. The Sunday newscasts promoted specific stories that were going to run the following night, and the hope was that this would entice some weekend viewers to check out what's going on at 21 during the week.

So what do we think about using the A-Team on Sunday nights to serve as a lead-in (loosely speaking) for Monday? If it works -- and because of the less than state-of-the-art way ratings data is gathered in this market, we may never know, then it was clearly a smart move. (Hindsight is funny that way.)

We're not so sure that the A-Team is suffering from underexposure, so will having them on Sunday nights really affect their Q-rating? (We think not, but this kind of thing has been proven effective in markets with Nielsen meters.) If anyone is unknown, it's the members of the weekend news teams in town, or the morning teams. Now, if 21 had just replaced a member of the A-Team and wanted to introduce him or her to the community, we could see where bringing them in for a Sunday night gig would be beneficial. In this case, it's a little less clear.

By the way, perhaps the most intriguing aspect of all this is that the man who decided to make the move was not general manager Chris Fedele, but Jerry Giesler, the executive vice president in charge of Fort Wayne operations for Granite Broadcasting. (We're not trying to stir up trouble or spark a rift...we just think it's worth noting.)

Granite stock, for those of you planning to cash in those options, was down five percent Thursday, and closed at $0.19 a share.

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