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The Slow Death of Local News

Many stations had a personality which drew in the crowds. It was something to look forward to and something I wish they still had today.

There are specific memories from your childhood that you do not forget. As a young kid, after the end of a meal (and the dining room is cleared), there was a family activity which occurred Monday through Friday at seven PM: time for the news. When I was at home, we would watch the local news at five o'clock PM. The local news was, and is, the staple program of network television. I always remember after the eleven o'clock news there was a half-hour sports show called "The Sports Machine" by George Michael (1) or even flipping over a few stations to Arch Campbell and his movie reviews on the "Arch Campbell Show"(2). The local news had personalities much like what was displayed in the Will Ferrell Anchorman movies. It was a different time. Before the rise of cable news, the Internet, and even CGI.

Today's News Consumption

Today, between social media, new radio, newspapers, and the Internet: shows like the local news no longer have the same importance as it used to. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts: "Americans are relying less on television for their news. Just 50% of U.S. adults now get news regularly from television, down from 57% a year prior in early 2016. But that audience drain varies across the three television sectors: local, network and cable. Local TV has experienced the greatest decline but still garners the largest audience of the three, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis."

The study discussed has the following highlights:
  • Just 8% of those ages 18 to 29 often get news from network TV, compared with 49% of those 65 and older.
  • Among adults who have completed college, 26% often get news from local TV and 21% from network TV
  • About four-in-ten nonwhites (41%) regularly get news from local TV, compared with 35% of whites. 
  • Women are also more likely than men (41% vs. 33%) to often get news from local TV. 
  • The shares of nonwhites and whites and of men and women who often get news from cable and network TV are roughly the same.
Also, this is a partisan issue: "Three-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents often get news from network TV, compared with 21% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. The pattern is reversed for cable, though: 26% of Democrats and Democratic leaners often get news from cable TV, compared with 32% of Republicans and Republican leaners. There were no differences by the party in local TV news use (36% of Democrats/Democratic leaners said they often get news there, while 38% of Republicans/Republican leaners said this)." (5)

There was a time, before cable, Fox, UPN, or the WB networks (if you don't remember some of these networks, I understand) when there was real independent programming on TV. On one station, they would have old Tarzan, Blondie, and other black and white movies. There was a station that the person who did the children's programming (Captian 20) was the person who also introduced the Horror movies (Count Gore DeVol) (4). Many stations had a personality which drew in the crowds. Regionally, it was something to look forward to and something I wish they still had today. Cable shows attract a national audience, but I like it better when we had local personalities on-the-air showcasing local talent. Thank you for reading this blog! I do appreciate it. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please let me know.



This post first appeared on Nick Stockton: Be The, please read the originial post: here

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The Slow Death of Local News


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