UPDATE: Our story today has been updated with a response form WDBJ President Jeffrey Marks. A sample: “[W]e have no concerns about the long-term here at the station … The market has gotten competitive between WSET and us. Three or four years ago, it had gotten competitive between us and WSLS. Things change.”
My fellow features writer Ralph Berrier Jr. has a story today about the latest local Nielsen ratings, which show that WSET (Channel 13) surpassed WDBJ (Channel 7) in viewership during the 6 o’clock news time slot for the first time in at least 40 years.
For the first time in at least two generations, WDBJ-TV (Channel 7) does not have the most-watched 6 p.m. newscast in the region.
WSET-TV (Channel 13) overtook WDBJ in total number of viewers in July, according to the most recent figures released by The Nielsen Co.
WSET attracted an average of 64,000 viewers, ages 18 and older, for its “ABC 13 News at Six” broadcast, ahead of the 58,000 viewers that watched “News 7 at Six.” The totals include all viewers who watch the newscasts, even those who live outside the 26-county Roanoke-Lynchburg designated market area.
WDBJ’s numbers are a stunning drop from the 90,000 viewers who watched the newscast during the May ratings period, a 35.5 percent decline in viewership.
The July ratings period was the first for Channel 7 without longtime anchor Keith Humphry, who retired in May. He was succeeded by 23-year-old Chris Hurst, who co-anchors with Jean Jadhon at 6 p.m.
What do you think is going on? Do you think Keith Humprhy’s retirement ended WDBJ&’s reign at #1? Let us know in the comments.