WNCN Vs. WRAL: After the Affiliate Switch, the Spin War Begins | News
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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

WNCN Vs. WRAL: After the Affiliate Switch, the Spin War Begins

Posted by on Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 7:38 AM

click to enlarge nbc-cbs-slice.jpg
One week after former NBC affilate WNCN switched with former CBS station WRAL, both stations are claiming victory in the ratings.

Actually, it all started the day after the Leap Day switchover, when WRAL claimed a big win, as reported by TVSpy: 

It was pretty remarkable,” said Steve Hammel, the station’s vp and GM.

Hammel said the station notched the highest ratings for the Today Show in the Raleigh DMA and the highest ratings ever for the Nightly News with Lester Holt in the market.

“It’s just day one, but we remain very optimistic about the change and the future with NBC,” said Hammel.

Oh, it's on.

A week later, WNCN fired back with a press release that was uncritically rewritten by The Fayetteville Observer. Here's most of the text of the original statement:


In the first full week as the newest CBS affiliate, CBS North Carolina’s total household viewership on a total day basis was up 56% and WRAL as the new NBC station is down 27% for the same full week compared to viewership for the same week last year.

CBS North Carolina premiered a 5pm newscast on Monday, February 29. This brand new newscast delivered the week’s highest local news ratings for the station and increased ratings for the time period by 48% compared to the same week last year.

Also, with Judge Judy in the 7 p.m. hour, ratings for the time period were up 46% compared to the same week last year.

For the week, CBS North Carolina had six of the top ten Network shows in the Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville television market and five of the top six which were NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans, 60 Minutes, Madam Secretary and Survivor.

“We are thrilled with the initial results from our affiliation change to CBS and the terrific response from our loyal viewers and the community,” says Doug Hamilton, CBS North Carolina VP and General Manager. “The award-winning network programming, strong local news and sports additions will position us well for continued growth.”

That all sounds dandy. But notice what's there — ratings bumps attributable to popular CBS programming and back-to-back episodes of a very popular syndicated show, starting at 7, to replace a local newscast that aired in the first half-hour of that slot.

Now, notice what's not there: Who's winning among competing local newscasts. Responding to The INDY's request for a statement, Hammel sent this along:

We are VERY pleased with how well the transition is going with NBC joining the WRAL family.

We are grateful to our VERY loyal news viewers.

WRAL News remains #1 in every weekday news time period (tied for #1 with TVD at Noon)

Key News time periods comparisons (virtually beat the two combined in all three):

6AM
WRAL 7.1
WNCN 1.1
WTVD 5.3

6PM WRAL 10.0
WNCN 2.6
WTVD 7.4

11PM
WRAL 6.2
WNCN 2.0
WTVD 4.7

NBC Prime is on the rise and clearly a younger skewing network.

Already excited about the Olympics.

NBC Programming has exploded after moving to WRAL.

NBC Nightly News has catapulted to #1 in Raleigh, up over 200%

March 7th was #1 in the country of the Top 25 markets

TODAY is up over 200% and strong #2

Tonight Show #1 from #3, up 67%

Most Every CBS program down and down substantially

Evening News down nearly 60%

CBS This Morning down nearly 60%

Colbert down 65%

In a phone conversation, Hammel said that "every station has its own perspective. The folks at WNCN are good folks. But the bottom line is, we remain No. 1 in every weekday newscast, and weekday news time period there is."

Your move, WNCN.

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