Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Even reruns beat politics

Dems contribute to ratings slump

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

If Democrats want to get the attention of Cincinnati's swing voters, maybe they should try CSI: Boston or Who Wants to Marry My Candidate?

Local ratings of the Democratic National Convention Monday were less than half that of the usual Monday-night fare, according to overnight ratings by Nielsen Media Research.

chart Mirroring national trends, the three major network affiliates - all of which aired former President Bill Clinton's speech in Boston Monday night at 10 p.m. - posted a combined 12 rating and a 16 share.

Down sharply from July's 26 rating and 47 share. (Ratings show the percentage of the area's TVs turned on; the share is the percentage of people watching television who are tuned to the program at issue.)

"There's no better orator in the Democratic party than Bill Clinton. If the numbers were this poor with Clinton speaking, that just shows you the conventions are not what they used to be," said Bill Fee, general manager of WCPO (Channel 9), an ABC affiliate.

Democrats said the decline in convention ratings is a long-term trend and doesn't reflect disinterest in the ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards. Kerry will speak Thursday; Edwards will speak tonight.

Local cable ratings were not available, but national ratings showed the cable stations with even less of a reach. Nielsen said about 3.4 percent of households - and 6 percent of those watching television - were tuned in to either CNN (a 3 share), Fox News Channel (a 2 share) or MSNBC (a 1 share) during the 10 p.m. hour.

The hands-down winner in the convention ratings game has been WXIX (Channel 19), the Fox affiliate that airs a 10 p.m. newscast.

The 10 O'clock News - usually third or fourth in its time slot - posted slight gains to lead the market Monday.

With more reporters covering this year's conventions for more media outlets - from Comedy Central's The Daily Show to Internet "bloggers" - campaigns aren't fought on network news anymore.

"People may suffer from a bit of information overload," said Michael Margolis, a University of Cincinnati political science professor.



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