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John Lamb, Published March 30 2013

WDAY newscasts top ratings at 5, 6 and 10

FARGO – WDAY-TV’s catchphrase, “the news leader,” is proving true.

According to the latest Nielsen ratings, based on a February survey, the station’s newscasts at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. are the most-watched in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

WDAY’s greatest lead was at 10 p.m., the most lucrative time slot for newscasts, where it garnered a 17 percent rating and a 42 share. That’s up from a 16 percent rating and a 36 percent share in the last ratings survey in November.

“It’s the best we’ve had in a while,” said Jeff Nelson, news director at the ABC affiliate. He estimated the February ratings were the best in more than 10 years. “I’m pleased the viewers see our experience and enjoy watching our product.”

Ratings refer to the percentage of all households in a market that are watching a station, while the share is the percentage of TVs in use at the time watching that station.

KVLY also showed substantial gains over November.

“When you do good work, people are drawn to you. We are continuing a course of excellence at Valley News,” said Ike Walker, KVLY’s news director, referring to the station’s gains. “I think we did well. There are great things to come. I continue to be pleased by the performance of my team.”

KVLY had a 10 percent rating and 25 percent share at 10 p.m., up from a 6 percent rating and a 14 percent share in November.

But its sister station was slumping. On KXJB, which is simulcast with KVLY at 10 p.m. under the Valley News Live banner, the newscast received a 3 percent rating and an 8 percent share, down from 5 percent rating and a 12 percent share in November.

KVLY is an NBC affiliate, while KXJB is CBS. KVRR got a 5 percent rating and an 11 percent share for its 9 p.m. newscast, similar to the 5 percent rating and 12 percent share the Fox affiliate in drew in November.

The metro area consists of Cass, Clay and Barnes Counties.

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

In newscasts at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., WDAY anchor and Forum reporter Robin Huebner is in the same time slot as Valley News Live’s Stephanie Goetz.

They are the key players in a pending federal lawsuit in which Huebner is suing the owner and operator of the Valley News Live stations, claiming she was pushed out of an anchor spot to make way for the younger Goetz. The lawsuit claims age and gender bias.

At 5 and 6 p.m., WDAY tops the ratings.

WDAY’s 5 p.m. newscast received a 10 percent rating and a 33 percent share of metro viewers, up from a 10 percent rating and a 30 percent share in November.

For its 5 p.m. broadcast, KVLY drew 9 percent rating and a 27 percent share, up from a 5 percent rating and a 15 percent share.

At 6 p.m., WDAY showed a 15 percent rating and a 39 percent share compared with November’s 13 percent rating and 32 percent share.

KVLY earned a 9 percent rating and a 24 percent share over an 8 percent rating and a 19 percent share in November.

KVRR slipped from a 2 percent rating and a 5 percent share in November to a 1 percent rating and a 2 percent share.

KVRR doesn’t have a 5 p.m. newscast, and KXJB doesn’t air local newscasts at 5 or 6 p.m.

Walker said it was important to consider overall demographics for February, saying the number of Nielsen participants shrunk, particularly among younger viewers. This would affect all stations, but favor WDAY.

“WDAY traditionally attracts much, much older viewers,” Walker said. “Yeah, WDAY, they’re the king of the old people. So when you look at overall household numbers, their numbers tend to be higher.”

“I think we have a product that appeals to all age groups,” said Nelson in response. “I’m very happy. I went back and looked at our numbers, and it looks like we have equal appeal from audiences of all ages.”


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