Anchorman Bruce Lindsay went out a winner in his final KSL newscast. Channel 5 won the late-news battle on the final night of the May sweeps.
It was a singular bright spot for KSL, however, which continued to drop in the ratings while KUTV-Ch. 2 extended its late-news lead and KSTU-Ch. 13 grew stronger in the morning.
In late-news household ratings, Channel 2 opened a 50 percent gap over second-place Channel 5. Compared to May 2011, Channel 2 (12.2 rating) was up 7 percent; Channel 5 (8.1) was down 17 percent; KSTU-Channel 13 (5.8) was down 12 percent; and KTVX-Channel 4 (3.6) was down 14 percent.
“We really feel that Utahns are turning to our station for news,” said Kent Crawford, KUTV’s vice president and general manger. “We have strong people, a strong network and strong Facebooking and social media.”
CBS’ strong prime-time lineup clearly helped KUTV make it seven sweeps in a row in late news. After ending up in a virtual tie with KSL in November 2010, KUTV has been a clear winner — and widened its lead — since then.
“Knock on wood — we’re keeping it rolling,” Crawford said.
Lindsay’s farewell bumped KSL up to a 12.2 on Wednesday, beating KUTV by 2.1 rating points, but that was an anomaly. With the exception of a bump from a 3.6 to a 3.9 at 5 p.m., Channel 5’s news numbers were down across the board from May 2011.
The early results from the April 26-May 3 ratings period are households only. The results from the advertiser-friendly demographics won’t be available for several weeks. And in February, KSL beat KSTU by a similar margin in households but finished in third place behind Channel 13 in demos.
Fox 13’s new HD news set didn’t bump up the 9 p.m. news, but the station saw growth in its early morning and midday newscasts. Channel 2 continues to lead, but its share of the morning audience was down from May 2011.
“We’re actually very happy about this ratings book,” said Tim Ermish, KSTU’s president and general manager. “We think we’re very well positioned.”
The late-afternoon/early evening numbers changed greatly from May 2011, a direct result of Oprah Winfrey’s retirement. KUTV was down about 60 percent with local newscasts in place of “Oprah.” It was in a virtual tie with KTVX at 4 p.m. and held a slight advantage at 4:30 p.m.
Without the “Oprah” lead-in, KUTV also took hits at 5 p.m. (down 26 percent) and 6 p.m. (down 16 percent), although it continues to lead the four-way race at 5 p.m. and the three-way race at 6 p.m.
For KTVX, there were small upticks at 4:30, 5 and 6 p.m., although the 10 p.m. newscast continues to struggle with decreasing ratings.
Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune maintains a news-gathering partnership with KUTV-Ch. 2
Local TV news ratings — May 2012
In the Monday-Friday late-news ratings, KUTV-Ch. 2 averaged approximately 113,500 homes to KSL-Ch. 5’s 75,000. KSTU-Ch. 13 was third with 53,600; KTVX-Ch. 4 averaged 33,700.