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John Lamb, Published December 20 2012

WDAY, Huebner top ratings

FARGO – More people in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area tune in to WDAY-TV news than any other local broadcasts, according to the latest Nielsen ratings.

The November ratings book is the first to fully reflect Robin Huebner’s return to TV, co-anchoring WDAY’s 5 p.m. newscast with T.J. Nelson.

The survey shows WDAY with leads in the metro area in all three local news slots, 5, 6 and 10 p.m., with the biggest lead at 5 p.m., when Huebner anchors.

At that slot, WDAY had a 10 percent rating and a 30 percent share of metro viewers. Rival KVLY had a 5 percent rating and a 15 percent share.

A rating is the percentage of people watching out of a total viewing market area. A share is the percentage of people with TVs on.

Huebner resigned from KVLY in October, 2011, two months after being replaced in the 10 p.m. slot by Stephanie Goetz, who had come over from WDAY. Huebner returned to the news in July. Goetz now anchors the 5 and 10 p.m. KVLY newscasts, the latter simulcast on KXJB. She also anchors the 6:30 p.m. news on KXJB.

“It looks like Robin has helped increase our lead at 5,” said Jeff Nelson, news director at WDAY.

“Whenever you add somebody like Robin, it’s bound to help,” Nelson said. “She has experience and credibility.”

Nelson said the overall results were one of the best in the past four years for the station.

Nelson said WDAY and KVLY have been neck-and-neck for the past few books, which are taken four times a year, with each station winning three of the past six books.

“If you want to talk about the Robin Huebner effect, I would say there is no effect,” said Ike Walker, KVLY’s news director.

“I don’t look at overall metro; I look at (demographics),” Walker said. “I’m not going to comment on the overall metro because again I’m concerned about the demos, I’m concerned about the specific people watching, and in terms of people 25 to 54, that’s who is watching.”

He said KVLY did better in the demographic of 25 to 54-year-old women, with a 5.3 rating and a 27.4 share compared with WDAY/

WDAZ’s (the Grand Forks-based sister station) 4.5 rating and 22.8 share.

Nelson said WDAY/

WDAZ did better with overall viewers of the same age demo and men in the same range.

“Bottom line is, when we look at total people watching our news in the metro area at 5 p.m. in this particular book, we had twice as many people,” Nelson said.

The book from November 2011 showed WDAY with an edge of 8 percent rating and a 26 percent share compared with a 7 percent rating and a 24 percent share for KVLY.

The 6 p.m. broadcasts showed WDAY with a 13 percent rating and a 32 percent share compared with KVLY’s 8 percent rating and 19 percent share. KVRR had a 2 percent rating and a 5 percent share.

WDAY held on strong all night with a 16 percent rating and a 36 percent share compared with KVLY’s 6 percent rating and 14 percent share and the KXJB simulcast’s 5 percent rating and 12 percent share. KVRR’s nightly news, on at 9 p.m., garnered a 5 percent rating and a 12 percent share.

Walker said he was happy with KVLY’s showing.

“We did quite well,” he said, adding that it was the first full book since he took over in September.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the ratings race and continuing our excellence,” Walker said.

WDAY is owned by Forum Communications Co., which also owns The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533