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Top 10 Suggestions for Local GMs

After looking at the results of the November ratings period, I have some advice for the local network affiliates.

The general managers of the stations should feel free to ignore it, as I expect they will.

But here is my Top 10 list of things to consider as I play general manager for the day.

  1. Channel 2 Should Move Its Midday News to Noon:  It is time. Noon is one of the few places that Channel 4 News dominates because it is only in a two-way battle with Channel 7. Channel 2 runs its midday news at 11 a.m., where it gets half the viewership of Channel 4’s news at noon. Channel 2 runs it there because for decades it didn’t feel it could compete at noon. With Channel 7 weakened and Channel 4 vulnerable, now is the time for Channel 2 to take a risk and move the news to noon. It might not take too long for Channel 2 to be competitive there if it can find something to run at 11 a.m. as  a plausible lead-in.
  2. Channel 2 Should Abandon 10 at 10 ASAP:I know I’ve been beating a dead horse and writing about how spectacularly stupid the format is that presents news in reverse order of its importance. But November provided more concrete evidence of the stupidity. “10 at 10” on WNYO is the only Channel 2 newscast that had an audience decline from a year ago. It would even be better if Channel 2 convinced Sinclair, which owns WNYO and Fox affiliate WUTV, that now is the time to allow it to air the news on the Fox affiliate at 10 p.m. The stronger station would help make Channel 2  more competitive with Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock News, which is on a stronger sister station WNLO-TV.
  3. Channel 2 Should Start a 10 P.M. News on Weekends: Channel 4 owns 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday as the only game in town. It might take some convincing and a big check written to Sinclair. However, a weekend version of the 10 p.m. news now makes sense for Channel 2 even if it has to air on WNYO because of Fox’s college and pro football schedule on WUTV. Channel 2 could have especially used a 10 p.m. weekend newscast during the NFL season since its Sunday newscast on Channel 2 often doesn’t air until midnight because of NBC’s Sunday Night Football.  
  4. Channel 2 Should Name Jodi Johnston’s Replacement Soon: The “Daybreak” franchise will need to heavily promote the new female co-anchor because Channel 4 is likely to heavily promote its new morning co-anchor Jordan Williams. The hiring of Williams will enable Channel 4 to get some sampling in the morning, which Channel 2 would want to minimize.
  5. Channel 2 Should Give Up on the Healthy Zone: Shockingly, the land of beef on weck, the chicken wing and Ted’s hot dogs isn’t buying “The Healthy Zone.” It didn’t even average a 1 rating at 2 p.m. I love the idea of the well-meaning show, but people don’t need a 30-minute daily diet of guilt when all they want is to experience a guilty pleasure once in a while.
  6. Channel 4 Should Hire a Third Sports Person:I feel sorry for Lauren Brill, the new sportscaster that Channel 4 News Director Joe Schlaerth hired to face a tough audience of viewers who think they know everything about sports. Schlaerth isn’t about to admit he made a mistake and Brill is a hard worker who deserves time to grow. But she needs to do so in the background as a third sports staffer rather than subject viewers to her on-the-job training. Channel 4 needs a third on-air sports staffer anyway — Channel 2 has four — so why not hire one and reduce the pressure on Brill.

    Lauren Brill: Give Her Some Help

  7. 7. Channel 4 Should Bring Mike Cejka Back to “Wake Up!” Whatever the reason was that made Schlaerth replace Cejka with young attractive meteorologist Amelia Segal, it hasn’t worked. Bring Cejka back and then morning viewers will be reminded that Channel 4 has some veterans on its staff.
  8. 8. Channel 4 Should Hire Some Fashion Consultants: My friends probably will laugh at this one because I’m not exactly Don Draper in the wardrobe department. But even I can see how much help some of the younger station staffers need dressing themselves for TV success. I’m not naming names, though my readers probably will in the comment section.
  9. 9. Channel 7 Should Move “General Hospital” to 3 p.m.: It might need ABC’s approval. But the veteran soap is the one afternoon program on Channel 7 that gets a decent-sized audience. The move might even get Katie Couric’s popular national talk show a local audience at 4 p.m. This is a no-brainer as is dropping Ricki Lake’s talk show, which gets anemic “Healthy Zone”-type ratings at 3 p.m.
  10. Channel 7 News Should Hire Some People: I had to laugh at a statement made by a Buffalo News reporter in a story last week about Channel 7’s new news director Polly Van Duren wanting “to restore the legacy of Channel 7 – one person at a time.” The only way she has a chance of doing that is if the hedge fund managing company that owns the station allows her to hire about five new on-air staffers at a time. Channel 7 News is so short-staffed that Van Duren’s predecessor used to have to shoot stories on weekends because he didn’t have staffers to do it. Of all my suggestions, I’m betting this one has the least chance of being accepted. pergament@msn.com
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14 responses to "Top 10 Suggestions for Local GMs"

  1. JFH says:

    It’s not how they dress but how they all manage to mispronounce words – how about Nalina reading the Little Tykes Daycare Center – as the little Ticks Daycare center- and thats just the tip of the iceberg~!

  2. anonymous says:

    #10 on your list might be coming true considering they are currently looking for a Weekend Meteorologist / MMJ according to their website. I don’t think anyone is leaving considering they just hired Autumn?

    • Really? Wow. Of course, channel 7 is known not to update their Web site for long periods of time, so that may be the one from before Autumn… otherwise I’d have put my name in the mix long ago.

  3. Tina says:

    Channel 4 may own the Saturday and Sunday 10 p.m. but spot but Lou Raguse is as dull as dust and he should be thanking his lucky stars that he doesn’t have any real competition at that time. The only real reprieve from the boredom is Mike Cejka’s very bubbly and happy nature. I also think he should be moved back to the weekday morning spot.

  4. Bill J. says:

    11. Get some chairs for those Ch 4 anchors, it has to be very uncomfortable standing doing the news, plus they look idiotic

    • Rob says:

      Great point Bill! Every time I watch Ch. 4 I keep thinking back to that Seinfeld episode when George wants to get the security guard a chair.

  5. Steve says:

    Thoughts while wondering what happened to my riding chaps…

    -Get used to young faces on local TV. Corporate America will stop paying for mature talent
    -Does the fact that Channel 2 didn’t immeadiately name Melissa to Daybreak make you think they aren’t confident with her ability?
    -How do you expect thes kids to dress when they are being paid just above minimum wage?

  6. Ron Murphy says:

    I agree that Mike Cejka needs to come back to the Channel 4 morning show. Right now, the “talent” lineup looks like a college TV station. Given the demographics of this area and the high percentage of older viewers, the audience may feel more comfortable with an experienced lineup. Regarding “Winging It Buffalo Style”, Amelia Seagal is a talented and beautiful young women, but she needs a casual,chatty sidekick.

  7. Tom W. says:

    I absolutely agree with moving Ch 2′s newscasts to Fox 29. The lead-ins are much better. MyNetwork TV doesn’t have strong programming at all.

    Having Ch 2 do weekend shows would provide much needed competition. Don’t get me wrong- Lou Raguse is an upgrade over Nalina Shapiro. But, I find him really dull compared to Ron Plants on the weekends.

    I am hoping that Melissa Holmes gets the Daybreak gig. Mary Friona is ok, but she doesn’t bring the same level of talent to the anchor chair. That was proven this morning.

    As for Channel 4- get Nalina Shapiro off the anchor desk ASAP! Mike Cejka should have never been moved off mornings.

  8. Jerry says:

    I believe the Healthy Zone is bought and paid for by Blue Cross Blue Shield; paid programming.

  9. Joe says:

    Alan I agree with all your suggestions (though for selfish reason I like having Mike Cejka on on weekends since Lou Raguse is dull and Lauren Brill unwatchable and there are no alternatives at 10). Not to beat a dead horse about Lauren Brill but it is an instant channel change when she comes on (and she seems to be on all the time). I have never understood why Channel 2 has ceded weekends to Channel 4 or the noon hour news weekdays but they are in position now to make major strides there.

  10. Bruce says:

    Channel 7 will not listen … IMHO, Channel 2 is the best around and I used to be a loyal Channel 4 viewer…I think Melissa Holmes would be the hands-down best choice for Jodi’s replacement…I would like to see more of Mike Cejka!

  11. Ray says:

    I think Pete Gallivan should come back to Daybreak and move John Beard to the 5pm newscast

  12. Ian says:

    Would love to see Ginger Geoffrey jump over to Channel 4 in the mornings…she’s a solid anchor and would fit in well over there.
    Also, I’m probably in the minority but I’d like to see Mary Friona get the Daybreak gig.

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