Local News Sucks More
March 11, 2003 5:49 PM   Subscribe

The Clear Channel of TV local news? It's like Fox News, only "live, local and late-breaking".
posted by owillis (7 comments total)
Is it that they can't afford it, or it would be unfeasible to afford it.

To provide an example, currently there are stations carrying all 6 major networks here in Cincinnati, Ohio. Of those 4 have comprehensive news staffs, the WLWT-NBC, WCPO-CBS, WKRC-ABC, and WXIX-Fox affiliates. Currently, the WB affiliate, Sinclair owned WSTR, offers no news; UPN affiliate WBQC repeats WCPO (CBS) affiliates news broadcast, as part of an agreement because the WBQC affiliate uses WCPO's tower to broadcast its signal.

It seems economically unfeasible to add news to a market like this, and many markets are just like this. So instead of redoing the same news stories everyone else is doing, why not not do news, and use syndicated off-network shows to fill your time slot. Typically, they do as-well in the ratings as the news broadcasts. Especially since the market for local news is lessening do to the Internet. Because really, how many people, when they hear, "Did George Bush declare war and cause nuclear apocolyptic doom this afternoon? Find out at 11." think positive thoughts about the news broadcast?
posted by benjh at 6:13 PM on March 11, 2003

I have a very thorough confusion and I'm wondering if anybody can point out where my logical flaw is.

It's my understanding that the networks get access to the airwaves at nominal cost because they're providing a public service. Now, it seems to me that there hasn't been anything which can be referred to as public service on the networks in quite some time. So it would seem to me that they should have their licenses revoked, and given to alternate organizations.

I mean honestly, how much of a service are you doing when you run teasers like "a common household product is deadly! we'll tell you which one at eleven!"

Am I wrong about the theoretical reason that they're granted space on the airwaves? Does the FCC simply feel that the networks are fulfilling their mission with aplomb? Am I just a left-wing nut? Help me out!
posted by mosch at 6:39 PM on March 11, 2003

Looking at the TV station map on their website, I think it's interesting how they put the dot for Charleston, SC roughly in the middle of the state. It sure didn't seem like it was where Columbia is when I went there last month...

And now, back on topic...

I don't think they're quite as bad as Clear Channel. Or at least, they're not quite as ... multifarious. Unlike Clear Channel, they don't own a single TV station within range of me, whereas Clear Channel owns six of the 25 FM stations in my area (and two of the ten AM stations).

mosch: I think the FCC's only requirement is that stations air a certain amount of locally-originated programming, not necessarily that the stations provide any sort of public service. I could be wrong, though; I've only ever looked into the licensing requirements for low-power FM stations (mostly out of idle curiosity), so I don't know what it's like for other kinds of broadcasters.
posted by zztzed at 6:53 PM on March 11, 2003

(and yes, I am using my own little podunk town as a measure of how pervasive a media conglomerate is. I figure if they cover my area in any way, they've already got the metropolises (metropoli?) out of the way, so then they must be infiltrating the smaller towns. :P)
posted by zztzed at 6:59 PM on March 11, 2003

They can get Carson Daly to do the weather.
posted by samuelad at 9:26 PM on March 11, 2003

Welcome to San Antonio, where Infinity and Clear Channel own the radio, and Sinclair and Clear Channel split the local TV.

Oh, and we only have one newspaper too. Did I mention that they're so tightly bound with one of the Sinclair stations that they share a freaking website?

San Antonio: Deregulation at its finest.
posted by Cerebus at 10:17 PM on March 11, 2003

The airwaves are publicly owned, and licensed by the government to private enterprise, which is supposed to "serve the public interest." I wish at times the FCC would more tightly regulate this -- not very likely in the post-Reagan era, however.

Local news sucks. All of it. I thought that when I moved from TV market #29 to market #9, it would get better. Then I visited markets #2 and #3, and it still sucked there. And when I moved to market #1, it still sucks. Sigh.

Actually, I have local TV news to thank for spurring my interest in journalism...I worked at two different TV stations in one market, and seeing how idiotic the news was made me want to do better.
posted by Vidiot at 9:22 AM on March 12, 2003

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