Dominating the ratings

Dominating the ratings

As it has for more than two decades, local CBS affiliate WAFB-TV dominated the Baton Rouge television market during the most recent ratings period, which was held during the month of February. According to results from the Nielsen Co., WAFB's newscasts in every time slot had significantly more viewers than ABC affiliate WBRZ-TV and NBC affiliate WVLA-TV combined; in some cases, twice as many. There were some noteworthy anomalies in the market, however:

• Fewer viewers tuned in to any of the 5 p.m. newscasts this February than last. That may be because of changing lifestyles and the fact that fewer people are at home watching TV at 5 p.m. But WAFB News Director Robb Hays suspects the more likely culprit was several days of severe weather and school closures in early February 2011, which likely drove viewers to their TV sets.

• WVLA saw what appeared to be big improvements in its share of the audience, particularly in its Sunday newscast. That's good news for a station that has been a perennial also-ran in the ratings game since restarting local news broadcasts in 2007. It's important to note, however, that the station's share of the 25- to 54-year-old news viewing audience is still minuscule compared to WAFB's and WBRZ's—3% at 10 p.m., for instance, compared to 15% for WBRZ and 36% for WAFB. Also, NBC carried the Super Bowl this year, which would account for most of WVLA's Sunday night increase.

• While WAFB continues to win the local ratings game, which the station attributes to its strong investigating news team and popular on-air personalities, it doesn't hurt that the local newscasts have strong lead-ins, particularly before the late news. Primetime ratings suggest that almost all of the popular TV shows in Baton Rouge air on CBS. (See below.)


Below is a list of the top 10 prime-time programs viewed in Baton Rouge the week of March 12, according to Rentrak, a new service that measures TV viewership every seven days year-round, as opposed to only during quarterly “ratings sweeps” periods. Unlike Nielsen, which in this market still relies on hand-written diaries filled out by viewers, Rentrak uses electronic data that is transmitted from a box on 13,500 television sets in the Baton Rouge area.

1 CSI: Miami (CBS)
3 American Idol (FOX)
4 The Good Wife (CBS)
5 CSI: Crime Scene Investigator (CBS)
6 NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS)
7 American Idol* (FOX)
8 Missing (ABC)
9 Criminal Minds (CBS)
10 48 Hours Mystery (CBS)

* American Idol appears twice on the list because it is broadcast several nights per week and was among the most-watched shows both nights.

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