It's November..what does that mean?

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

It's a sweeps period, what we'll do and what we won't do.

Sweeping Generalizations

This is November.  It is what the TV industry refers to as a sweeps period or a ratings period.  Ratings are measured in some form in some places every month of the year, but in February, May, July and November they're measured everywhere.  At the network level that means first-run episodes of our favorite shows and a few specials here and there.  It means a few changes in local newsrooms too, but maybe not quite what we've all been told.

I've been in the TV business for just over 20 years...that means this is ratings period number 81 for me.  Most larger cities have a full-time writer at the newspaper who comments daily about TV.  Once or twice a year they all write their version of the same article.  They briefly explain sweeps and then warn all of us to look out for shouting anchors, shouting promotions, shouting reporters and over-hyped stories.  I have worked at a stations or two around the country at which that assessment wasn't too far off.

The Gazette has a new guy who blogs about TV.  Paul Kavanaugh used to work here at KKTV as a weatherman so he knows more about the inner workings of a TV newsroom than most people who write about it.  I don't know him, but I do remember seeing him on the air when I would visit the Springs on vacation while I lived out of state.  He did a nice job and I hear he's a nice guy. 

He's doing a nice job now with his blog, and I hope he writes it for a long time to come.  Paul recently wrote his version of that annual article I mentioned.  In it he made some fair points and gave some good examples of what has changed recently at local stations, including the new graphics and the switch to 16 x 9 here at KKTV.  He also warned that Southern Colorado viewers can expect, ' more “breaking news” than you can shake a microphone at.' 

Fair enough Paul, a clever turn of phrase, and as much of a generalization as my point that TV critics always do the same "be afraid of sweeps" article!

At KKTV we will bring you breaking news...when it happens, but there won't be any more or any less breaking news than is warranted. 

At KKTV 11 News either a story is breaking news or it is not, no matter what month it is. 

I can only speak for my station, the others will have to speak (or shout) for themselves.  As long as I'm at the anchor desk, and I still work for the people I work for now, we won't try to scare you into watching. or trick you into thinking we have a better story than we have. 

We will have a few special reports, stories that aren't news from that particular day, but which have some importance for our community.   They may go a bit more in-depth than a typical report.  We've got one airing this Tuesday.  It's about a female soldier who also happens to be a Chaplain.  She also happens to have the very difficult job of notifying family members, in person, when a soldier has been killed at war.  She also happens to have a son who is about to deploy to Afghanistan.  It's an emotional story that is so relevant to our community right now with so many of our neighbors in the war zones.

You won't see "Is your dry cleaning killing you?" or the other silly over-hyped nonsense that the newspaper guys love to pick apart in their columns.  You will see a strong, professional newscast with important and interesting stories that have an impact on all of us.  We do the good news too, not just doom and gloom.  It's our mission to do all of that year-round. 

This sweeps period ends the night before Thanksgiving.  We're not going to give you a reason to be thankful that it's over.

We'll talk again soon.

Don

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