No TV market has had a quiet news cycle in 2020, and the Cincinnati stations have been all over the pandemic and civil rights protests, finding the local angles and serving them up to viewers, with all the stations justling to get ahead.
TV viewing is up, advertising revenues are down, but no layoffs — those are some takeaways from interviews with general managers Debbie Bush, WXIX; Branden Frantz, WLWT; Jeff Brogan, WCPO; and Jon Lawhead, WKRC-WSTR.
WCPOCinccinnati’s Evan Millward: “If you told me three weeks ago that I would soon be anchoring a newscast from my living room, I would have laughed. Maybe rolled my eyes. Said, you clearly don’t understand how my job gets done. Well … joke’s on me.”
Kevin Necessary isn’t the kind of reporter you typically find in a TV newsroom, but WCPO’s resident cartoonist sure knows how to tell a story. Necessary was already freelancing for the Scripps ABC affiliate in Cincinnati when he was hired full time in 2016 as part of the station’s digital push, which then included a separate digital newsroom.
Scripps-owned ABC affiliate WCPO Cincinnati has a full-time “comics journalist” on staff. He illustrates serious stories that others might avoid, stories that are difficult to photograph because the subjects are too vulnerable.
Scripps’ Cincinnati ABC affiliate leads a tight social media race among its local competitors according to Shareablee data. Its edge comes from lots of native video, its website’s editor-in-chief says, including experiments in live music and weather-inspired stunts.
Scripps moves the news veteran from a corporate post to oversee the newsroom at its Cincinnati ABC affiliate.
The TV ratings “sweeps” period started Oct. 27 and there is still no WCPO news director after eight months, and no WKRC chief meteorologist to replace Tim Hedrick who died six months ago. What’s up?
Anna Clark goes in-depth on WCPO, the Scripps-owned CBS affiliate in Cincinnati that several executives described as a “petri dish” of digital experimentation. The idea, Clark writes, “is less to demonstrate an entire model that can be replicated elsewhere than to test a variety of editorial, technological, and marketing strategies.”
The Scripps-owned Cincinnati ABC affiliate’s aggressive new marketing campaign exhorting consumers to #DropThePaper – that paper being Gannett’s Enquirer – is drawing backlash. The campaign positions the newspaper as an outmoded delivery mechanism for their news.
Make it four for four. When WCPO Cincinnati News Director Alex Bongiorno announced Tuesday she would be leaving the Scripps-owned ABC affiliate in early March, she’ll be the fourth of the market’s four TV newsroom bosses to step down in eight months.
The E.W. Scripps-owned WCPO.com is moving in on Cincinnati.com’s turf, though both outlets ultimately see the competition as driving richer, deeper journalism for the city and the greater Cincinnati region.