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Tight Local Sweeps Race Goes Down to Wire

The local news battle from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. during the November sweeps is tighter than all the runners will be at the start of the Turkey Trot.

Round 3 of the November news ratings battle in the early evening was pretty much a draw  between Channel 2 and Channel 4 in the first sweeps competition since Channel 4 lost Oprah Winfrey as its lead-in.
Channel 2 leads by such a tight margin from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. after three weeks that the winner of the four-week battle may not be decided until the sweeps period ends the night before the Thanksgiving race.
In week 3, Channel 2’s “Daybreak” won over Channel 4’s “Wake Up!” at 6 a.m. by half a point. After three weeks, Channel 2 leads in that time period by four-tenths of a point. That is much tighter than it was a year ago when Channel 2 held a lead of more than a point.
At 5 p.m., Channel 2 won by three-tenths of a point in week 3. However, Channel 4 won by one-tenth of a point at 5:30 p.m. and at 6 p.m., meaning the stations were only separated by one-tenth of a point from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in week three. Channel 2 had a combined rating of 27.4, Channel 4 a combined rating of 27.3. Channel 7 is a poor third, with a combined rating of 12.0.
After three weeks, Channel 2 leads by two-tenths of a point at 5 p.m., three-tenths at 5:30 p.m. and one-tenth at 6 p.m. All of those leads are within the statistical margin of error. A year ago, Channel 4 won all time periods by healthy margins.
Channel 4 continues to dominate at noon (where Channel 2 doesn’t compete), 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. so it will easily claim the title of overall news leader.
As a Syracuse University graduate, naturally I hope that the child abuse allegations that surfaced on ESPN Thursday night against assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine prove to be baseless and this isn’t another case of an assistant coach luring young children with the access to a storied athletic program as the head coach doesn’t do enough to stop it.
ESPN reporter Mark Schwarz should hope the accusations prove to be true because one of his reports Thursday night came close to convicting Fine and left out significant details that separated this case from the recent Penn State scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. ESPN’s report this morning was briefer and much fairer, making you wonder if the network is backtracking just a little bit. That impression was wrong. It has gone heavy with the story all this morning.
Schwarz spoke Thursday night of the accusations of former SU ball boy Bobby Davis (who claims he was abused for years starting at age 12 and is now 39) occasionally without attribution, which made them sound like the truth rather than allegations. Schwarz added that one possibility that the accusations weren’t corroborated when first made several years ago was because boys or men are reluctant to admit being sexually assaulted.
After hearing his report, I immediately went to the website of a Syracuse paper. The Syracuse Post-Standard reported that it had investigated the accusations for six months starting in 2002 (as had ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”) and Syracuse police (unlike the Penn State situation) had been made aware of them. The paper and ESPN declined to report the story back then without corroboration and the police dropped it as well, apparently because the statute of limitations had expired. The university also launched a four-month investigation in 2005 and concluded the accusations were unfounded.
The major difference from the earlier investigations to now is that Davis’ older stepbrother, also a former ball boy, now claims he also was abused by Fine about 35 years ago. The Post-Standard reported that one of Davis’ brothers had previously failed to corroborate Davis’ accusations. It is unclear if the university was referring to the same relative. It is clear that one would prefer someone other than a relative to corroborate accusations like this.
Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim strongly defended Fine and reportedly said Davis has told a thousand lies.
We’ll have to wait to see how this all plays out. But Fine already is a loser. He has been placed on administrative leave and in the current climate is presumed guilty until proven innocent instead of the other way around. Even if the latest police investigation exonerates Fine, he has lost his good name. If he is guilty, Syracuse University’s good name, and possibly Boeheim’s, will take a much bigger and deserved hit.

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9 responses to "Tight Local Sweeps Race Goes Down to Wire"

  1. John says:

    How will News 4 be the overall winner if Channel 2 wins 5am, 6am, 5pm, 5:30pm, and 6pm? Seems like that’s a lot compared to News 4 winning Noon (not a fair comparison), 10pm (also not entirely fair) and 11pm.

  2. Tina says:

    Has anyone else noticed that Mike Cejka has basically been bumped out of the Channel 4 Weather spots/promos? It’s Don and Amelia, pretty sad don’t you think? Mike should start looking for a job where he might be appreciated.

    • Channel 7′s looking for a weekend weatherman, probably come January. It’s the same level of weekend work, but if they’re going to make a ratings splash, they ought to bring him onboard now that they have their whole labor and finance issues straightened out.

      • Tina says:

        I agree, they should hire Mike and replace Joanna Pasceri, who has absolutely no personality or on air charisma at all. They need to start fresh and then they might be able to add some viewers.

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