Coffee with the Candidates: #ARElections Day on Today’s THV This Morning

Your Vote 2010

Your Vote 2010

We’ve got what’s shaping up to be an unpredictable — but fun! — Tuesday morning on “Today’s THV This Morning” tomorrow, Election Day.

Hosts Alyson Courtney and Tom Brannon will be live at Community Bakery in downtown Little Rock throughout the show. I’ll be there too, and we’ll chat with some of the state’s candidates for Congressional and state offices, as well as give some final info on all the races and what to watch for on Election Night.

So who exactly’s gonna show up early? “Today’s THV This Morning” Producer Matthew Carroll says he’s called just about everybody — particularly in the U.S. House and Senate races, along with those for the state’s Constitutional offices — and most have agreed to pop in for a final informal chat over some hot coffee and pastries. Elections and eclairs! Should be hoot.

Check it out tomorrow starting at 5 a.m. on Today’s THV to see who shows.

#ARElections: Let’s Try This Again, Shall We? Join Us for Coverage on Today’s THV Tonight

It’s deja vu all over again!

Once again, Arkansas Business Publisher Jeff Hankins and I will be on Today’s THV tonight, part of the CBS affiliate’s local election coverage.

You can catch coverage during the 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts, the latter featuring a segment with Hankins. We’ll both be aboard starting at 9 p.m. on THV’s regular network channel and its second digital channel, THV2. And of course, there will be coverage at 10 p.m. during the regular nightly newscast.

And you’ll be able to watch online. And Jeff and I will tweeting and updating ArkansasBusiness.com with analysis and news throughout the night.

We’re on Twitter at:

@JeffHankins

@LT

Hankins will be offering his analysis of the returns as they come in after polls close at 7:30 p.m., and I’ll be monitoring the online buzz and offering additional commentary. And THV reporters will be at crucial watch parties. Join us tonight and let’s get this thing over with, already.

Join Jeff Hankins and Me on Today’s THV Tuesday Night for Local Election Coverage

Arkansas Business Publisher Jeff Hankins and I will be on Today’s THV starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, part of the CBS affiliate’s local election coverage.

You can catch nonstop coverage starting at 7 p.m. on THV’s second digital channel, THV2. The affiliate will also be cutting into networking programming throughout the night — but not interrupting your favorite CBS shows, we’re told. And of course, there will be coverage at 10 p.m. during the regular nightly newscast.

You’ll be able to watch online. And Jeff and I will tweeting and updating ArkansasBusiness.com with analysis and news throughout the night.

We’re on Twitter at:

@JeffHankins

@LT

Hankins will be offering his analysis of the returns as they come in after polls close at 7 p.m., and I’ll be monitoring the online buzz and offering additional commentary. And THV reporters will be fanned out across the state for reaction at crucial watch parties. It looks to be one for the books on Tuesday night, and we’re excited to be a part of it.

Jay Leno in Little Rock: Not Bad for KARK at 10 pm

Jay Leno

The Leno Effect: Not terrible in Little Rock

The big media news today is no doubt the disaster that has been NBC’s “The Jay Leno Show,” which seems to be coming to head in the least surprising way possible. The bottom line: NBC’s experiment with Leno in primetime is a spectacular failure, forcing the third-place network to contemplate putting the former late-night king back in late night while somehow honoring its commitments with new “Tonight Show” host Conan O’Brien, himself a ratings disappointment.

Good luck with all of that.

But why all the wailing and gnashing of teeth? Leno’s primetime numbers are performing about where NBC expected — only about 5 million viewers per night. But a large audience wasn’t necessarily part of NBC’s plan. The plan was to produce a cheap nightly show that would draw a guaranteed audience, one that could easily be sold around and bring profits to the network.

The fatal flaw? Local affiliates need a strong ratings lead-in to their late local news, which in many cases is the most significant source of revenue those affiliates have. Leno’s low ratings, they complained, were driving viewers to other networks — or cable — where they were less likely to come back to the NBC affiliate’s late news.

In larger, metered TV markets — markets where the previous night’s ratings are delivered to affiliates the next morning — affiliate station general managers were watching their late news ratings drop like a brick. And many began complaining to NBC. Consider the scene in Baltimore a few months ago:

Baltimore may be called Charm City, but for WBAL — the local television station that carries NBC’s “The Jay Leno Show” — there isn’t much to smile about lately.

Usually, WBAL is in a neck-and-neck race for viewers against arch rival WJZ. But since NBC debuted “The Jay Leno Show” in prime time five weeks ago, the station’s 11 p.m. newscast — where silver-haired Rod Daniels’ 25-year run as anchor is the longest in Baltimore history — has been shellacked in the ratings. Now WBAL is a distant second.

And there was this from an NBC affiliate owner in Detroit:

Alan Frank, who runs two NBC stations including the affiliate in Detroit, told the trade publication Broadcasting & Cable over the weekend: “The handwriting is on the wall. The only question is what [NBC] is going to do about it.”

Here in Little Rock, NBC affiliate KARK-TV, Channel 4, has been running third place among most daily newscasts, including at 10 p.m. What’s the Leno Effect been like for the Nexstar Broadcasting-owned station? Advance numbers from latest November ratings book, which came out in late December, might surprise you.

It shows KARK, while still in third place, gaining audience at 10 p.m., going from a household rating/share of 5/11 in November 2008 to 6/14 last November. In fact, KARK logged bigger share gains at 10 p.m. than any of its local competitors, which each saw about a 1-point bump. Some demographic numbers (men and women 25-54) were also up slightly, as were all but one competitor.

In fact, this last November ratings period almost returned KARK to its November 2007 10 p.m. ratings level of about 6/13.

And there was another surprise looking at estimates for NBC primetime (7-10 p.m.) performance locally. Those numbers were up slightly as well, going from a 4/7 in November 2008 to 5/8 last November.

No doubt both NBC in prime and KARK at 10 p.m. have have seen stronger ratings in the past. And there are myriad factors that go into ratings, not to mention that these numbers are estimates based on paper surveys of only a sampling of the local TV audience. Still, it’s the best evidence we have, and it suggests that the Leno Effect might not be such a bad thing in Little Rock.

More on November Ratings in Little Rock

KATV, KTHV Still Tops in Latest News Ratings

More on NBC, Leno and Conan

Blame Jay Leno – Gawker

Late-Night Shift Sinking, NBC Wants Leno Back in Old Slot – New York Times

An Open Letter to NBC – Videogum

(Disclosure: I appear regularly on KTHV-TV, Channel 11, a Gannett-owned CBS affiliate that is a direct competitor to KARK and other local TV affiliates in the Little Rock market.)

Salary Cuts at Gannett Hit KTHV

Ugh. It’s another challenging day for Gannett Co.-owned CBS affiliate KTHV-TV, Channel 11.

Arkansas Business’ Mark Hengel has the local angle on Gannett’s latest cost-cutting measures, which you might have noted brewing for several days now on the Gannett Blog:

The company that owns Little Rock’s CBS affiliate is imposing permanent wage cuts of up to 6 percent on employees, according to a memo leaked Tuesday to a blogger. The cuts will take affect July 1.

The cuts are the latest in a rash that has affected several media companies since the economy began to struggle. The company imposed furloughs in January.

The Gannett Blog obtained two memos sent to employees of Gannett Co.’s broadcast division – including KTHV-TV, Channel 11 – that outlines the cuts. The cuts result from a “permanent reset of the American economy on the other side of the economic storm,” division president Dave Lougee wrote.

The cuts will not affect employees making less than $30,000.

Hengel has more details on the cuts and how they break down, as well as comments from Larry Audas, KTHV’s president and general manager, here.

The Gannett Blog has more on today’s moves here, including word on possible cuts in Gannett’s newspaper division, which includes giants like USA Today — and the Baxter Bulletin in north Arkansas.

* Disclosure: Arkansas Business and THV have a news sharing partnership, and I appear on THV news programs to deliver business news headlines.

Pondering Arkansas’ Puzzling Jobs Picture

Earlier this afternoon, I did a quick interview with KFSM-TV, Channel 5, in northwest Arkansas, the local CBS affiliate, on the region’s jobs outlook and the puzzlement over some metropolitan unemployment numbers ArkansasBusiness.com and others reported on Tuesday.

According to the unemployment story, by ArkansasBusiness.com reporter Mark Hengel

Arkansas’ six metropolitan areas once again have shown better year-over-year employment statistics than the rest of the nation.

For the second month in a row, Jonesboro’s unemployment rate fell more than any area in the nation.

The city’s unemployment rate in October clocked in at 4.3 percent, compared with 4.9 percent for the same period a year ago. In all, five of Arkansas’ metropolitan areas fell in October when compared with the October 2007 numbers, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data (PDF).

This raised eyebrows among many, considering all we’re hearing about recession and job cuts (particularly the loss of 350,000 jobs nationwide coming Friday). It seems especially unbelievable in Fort Smith, which has been rocked by numerous layoff announcements, including two today.

The biggest of those has been Whirlpool, which announced in September that it will lay off 700 of its 2,100 workers beginning in November. Others announcing layoffs include Riverside Furniture (250 by January) and Jarden Process Solutions (93 also by January).

So why these numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that show sunny times in Arkansas? We think it over after the jump.

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Tonight: Our Election Night Coverage on THV2.com

Jeff Hankins and I are joining Today’s THV tonight for live local election coverage on THV’s broadcast channel at 7 p.m., and for three hours live on THV2.com and Comcast Ch. 233. After the jump, more places to watch throughout the state.

Also: Send us you comments and tips via Twitter. I’ll be updating my Twitter feed with news and analysis all night here. Today’s THV’s feed is here.

And in the Arkansas blogosphere, Blake Rutherford has Operation Think Tank up and running here. And here’s hoping David Kinkade updates tonight here at the Arkansas Project.

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