#ARElections: Blanche Lincoln Votes and Other Scenes From Election Day in Arkansas

Above: Jason Tolbert Flipcam video of Blanche Lincoln talking to reporters outside her polling place, having just cast a provisional ballot for herself in the Democratic primary of U.S. Senate.

Above: The Gilbert Baker for U.S. Senate campaign releases this snippet of Baker’s interview, earlier today, with KATV-TV, Channel 7. Baker is battling for the No. 2 spot among a crowded field of Republicans seeking the U.S. Senate nomination. Republican voter turnout will be key for Baker in central Arkansas, particularly in his home county, Faulkner County.

Bill Halter at the polls on Election Day

Bill Halter at the polls on Election Day in North Little Rock. Photo by Gwen Moritz.

Right: Bill Halter, seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, votes early Tuesday in North Little Rock. Halter has consistently trailed Lincoln in polls, behind anywhere from 9-12 points. He’ll need to move a big batch of undecided voters into his column and hope third candidate D.C. Morrison pulls a substantial vote in order to force a runoff with incumbent Lincoln. A runoff would follow in three weeks.

12:30 p.m. Tuesday, not pictured: House Speaker Robbie Wills makes a final push in downtown Little Rock, stopping to shake hands at Your Mama’s restaurant, trailed by KARK-TV, Channel 4 cameras. Wills could be in a runoff for the Democratic nomination for the 2nd District congressional seat with state Sen. Joyce Elliott or David Boling.

Kim Hendren: Will Work for Votes

Kim Hendren, in this grainy Twitpic image by GOP operative Clint Reed. The sign says, "Will Work for Votes."

Right: Kim Hendren, also campaigning today for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination, in this Twitpic photo by GOP operative Clint Reed. The sign says “Will Work For Votes.”

Below: Rick Crawford, in a Twitpic photo by Today’s THV reporter Faith Abubey, campaigning today in his race for the GOP nomination for the District 1 congressional seat. Crawford faces Princella Smith, a twenty-something in her first campaign. Smith received an endorsement from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday. Even still, Crawford is the favorite to win outright in this race.

Rick Crawford

Rick Crawford campaigning today for the GOP nomination for District 1. Photo by Faith Abubey.

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Bill Halter on the Attack, Blanche Lincoln Holds Firm at #ARSenDebate

That (above) was the scene just before tonight’s Democratic U.S. Senate debate at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, carried live on KATV-TV, Channel 7; C-SPAN; KUAR-FM, 89.1; and Politico.com.

Blanche Lincoln supporters rallied for the TV cameras just minutes before the incumbent took the stage to face two challengers, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and businessman D.C. Morrison. One of them was entertaining!

The other two? Well, let’s just say there were few surprises, as Lincoln and Halter stuck mainly to their respective scripts. Lincoln: “One tough lady” who has cast the tough votes and worked hard for the working men and women of Arkansas, her allegiance to them higher than to her own party. Halter: The optimist who says Washington is broken, missing Arkansas values and besieged by special interests and politicians who are bought and paid for.

After the jump, some quick analysis and links to related coverage, including KATV video.

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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.)

The Long Goodbye: BJ Sams Says Farewell on Friday

BJ Sams and Tom Brannon say goodbye ahead of Sams' final morning broadcast on Friday. Click for video.

BJ Sams and Tom Brannon say goodbye ahead of Sams' final morning broadcast on Friday. Click for video.

After more than 50 years in broadcasting (“Fifty-six,” he’ll remind you), BJ Sams is signing off tomorrow. His final broadcast of “Today’s THV This Morning” happens Friday.

This morning, before tomorrow’s busy farewell, he spent some final moments with his long-time “This Morning” co-host and sparring partner Tom Brannon, who commissioned a special “long-distance dedication” for his pal. Click here to see video of the segment, and be sure to check out tomorrow’s show for BJ’s final moments on air in Arkansas.

More Video

It’s been a month of tributes. Click for video of BJ with:

Alyson Courtney | Former co-host Robyn Richardson and her surprise | Chris Olsen | The Peabody Hotel | Leslie Heizman | Former co-host Beth Ward | Derrick Rose | Liz Massey | Dawn Scott | His Top 11 Quotes | Arkansas Children’s Hospital | Mark Pryor | KARK | Capital Hotel | Alyson, BJ & Tom at 6:30 p.m

See more on the Official Retirement Page

Previously

BJ Sams to retire

BJ Sams honored at Media Fellowship luncheon

Charles Crowson to co-host

Remembering Andree Roaf, A Surprise at KLRT & Dillard’s In This Week’s Arkansas Business

Hope your Fourth was a good one. Now it’s back to business. The new Arkansas Business is out now. Among the highlights:

Gwen Moritz on Andree Roaf, the former Arkansas Supreme Court judge who died last week, and “the triumph of law.”

Mark Friedman examines derivative lawsuits and Dillard’s, which has face two of them since May as shareholders seek more influence of the direction of the department store chain.

A Rogers startup called Silicon Solar Solutions is using photovoltaics — the use of solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity — in attempt to make a splash in the alternative energy market.

Yep. That was former KARK-TV, Channel 4 meterologist Brett Cummins you saw doing weather on KLRT-TV, Channel 16 a few weeks ago. But he’s not making it a habit.

RFP alert! The Department of Health is seeking agencies that can manage its $500,000 annual Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Program targeting minorities.

I think we all agree that what this world needs is another marketing firm.

Arkansas Business and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal won some national awards.

Everything’s Gone Green in This Week’s Arkansas Business

We’re back! And so’s this week’s Arkansas Business, available online now. Among our stories and columns:

KTHV-TV, Channel 11, will begin its search in about a week for someone to fill retiring morning show host B.J. Sams‘ slot. Meanwhile, KARK-TV, Channel 4, is getting along without a general manager just fine, thank you very much.

You know us inky wretches. After all that hellfire and brimstone, at the end of the day, we’ll take your money!

The Batesville Daily Guard locks down online editorial content — and increases its subscriber base.

An $18.5 million deal is transforming the old Dillard’s headquarters on Capitol Avenue into a shining new LEED-certified office building.

Examining the federal stimulus package for building renovations funds and other “green” initiatives.

A Little Rock-based startup takes an idea honed at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and creates BeneVia, a juice-based adult nutrition beverage that’s about to go national.

William Clark’s New Construction Firm and More in This Week’s ‘Arkansas Business’

The new Arkansas Business is out now. See all of this week’s content here. Among the stories in our annual Construction issue:

William Clark, son of CDI Contractors’ late founder Bill Clark, talks to Gwen Moritz about his new company, Clark Contractors. After a long two years, the 40-year-old Clark starts over. Meanwhile, a look at CDI’s effects on Dillard’s bottom line.

After 14 months on the market and a 45 percent markdown, former Acxiom CEO Charles Morgan’s 10,000-square-foot Little Rock home sells for $1.5 million.

KARK-TV, Channel 4’s general manager, Gayle Kiger, leaves the NBC affiliate for a new job in Waco, Texas. Media writer Mark Hengel is already on the trail of a possible replacement.

Will the advertising budget for the new Arkansas lottery be a cash cow, or will it dwindle over time? Hengel looks a Missiouri’s budget for clues.

It’s a wrap! Mark Carter’s final look at the 87th General Assembly.

Publisher Jeff Hankins weighs in on the session. Kudos all around.

Alice Walton’s Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville is the state’s No. 1 construction project.