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Thread: Worst Stations and Markets for Local TV

  1. #1

    Worst Stations and Markets for Local TV

    Let's have fun with this one! Can you name some once proud, dominant, successful or at least respectable TV stations that, for one reason or another have fallen from grace? Stations that were once market leaders and are now a shell of their former selves? I'm not totally versed in this but I know some of you are. I can name a couple: KRON-San Francisco and WTKR(fomerly WTAR)-Norfolk Va. but I don't know the "why" behind them.
    Last edited by frankberry; 01-03-2017 at 05:09 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: ONCE GREAT STATIONS THAT HAVE FALLEN FROM GRACE

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Timiter
    Let's have fun with this one! Can you name some once proud, dominant, successful or at least respectable TV stations that, for one reason or another have fallen from grace? Stations that were once market leaders and are now a shell of their former selves? I'm not totally versed in this but I know some of you are. I can name a couple: KRON-San Francisco and WTKR(fomerly WTAR)-Norfolk Va. but I don't know the "why" behind them.
    I'll name KTVK Channel 3 Phoenix, aka "Lifetime Lite" as having gone down the tubes in recent years. Their programming is geared almost 100% to women, including their once-great newscasts. Heavy on Oprah, Dr. Phil, and sponsored (read: Borderline-infomercial) housewife-oriented shows. Their newscasts carry about 10 minutes of news and 50 minutes of female-oriented features per hour.

    Once they dropped sports a couple of years ago, that was it for The Place With More Fluff. Phoenix's other (smaller) indie, KAZT Channel 7, is much better despite being a Class A in the city (full-power in Prescott).
    We have to save the Earth! It's the only planet with football and beer.

  3. #3

    Re: ONCE GREAT STATIONS THAT HAVE FALLEN FROM GRACE

    I think that the epitome of stations that fell from grace, the textbook example, would be Los Angeles' KTLA-5.

    The station that once showed the industry how breaking news should be covered has deteriorated to the point of nausea.

    The station that has employed the great Stan Chambers in it's news department since 1948 now has become a joke among journalists. Mr. Chambers was a guest on the 9am KTLA news just yesterday (4-8), and was on the verge of talking about some very fascinating items, including a News Director KTLA had in the 70s who wanted to fire him, but he couldn't get any sentence finished because co-anchor Chatty Cathy, aka Jessica (Hyper-Barbie Doll) Holmes KEPT INTERRUPTING!! I wish someone would tell Miss Caffeine to SHUT UP!!! She NEVER lets anyone finish a sentence!

    Miss Wind-Up Key is not the only reason for the grace fall. Virtually the entire morning news team, with one or two exceptions, are poor excuses for journalists. The KTLA Morning News is unwatchable because EVERYBODY'S TALKING AT ONCE! It's like a nerd fest over there.

    The station that once beat the local network O&Os handily in local ratings has become a rest stop for syndication, re-runs, and 5th-rate networks.

    Engineering legend Klaus Landsberg, who escaped Nazi Germany and built KTLA in 1947 virtually on used tool box items, chewing gum, and hamsters running on the wheel, must be spinning in his grave at what KTLA has deteriorated into.

    It should also be noted that this past Tuesday (4-7) was the 60th anniversary of KTLA's pioneering live, non-stop 48 hour coverage of the Kathy Fiscus Tragedy, which had the entire region spellbound and glued to their TV sets. Everyone stopped what they were doing to see the coverage of the rescue efforts.

    For the uninitiated, Kathy Fiscus was a 2-year old San Marino, Ca. girl who fell into an open well pipe and got stuck deep down inside, much like the Texas girl named Jessica (I can't remember her last name, my apologies) did a few decades later. Jessica was rescued alive and well. Unfortunately, that was not the case for Kathy Fiscus. When it was announced that Kathy did not survive, grief was widespread throughout Southern California. It was a shared experience made possible by KTLA.

    I'd hate to think of how the present day KTLA would cover this.


    "The sun's not yellow, it's chicken!" - Bob Dylan

  4. #4

    Re: ONCE GREAT STATIONS THAT HAVE FALLEN FROM GRACE

    What a great topic this is! Well, I'll be the first to toss some very low hanging fruit into this one: KRON San Francisco. A long-time number 1 station as an NBC affiliate, it has since fallen apart as an independent under the inept management of Young Broadcasting.

    And, frankly, a lot of the CBS owned and operated affiliates could qualify under this category as well. Stations like WCBS-TV, KCBS-TV, and WBBM went from decades of news leadership to being number 3, 4 or (at times) 5 in their respective markets for news and local programming. Only recently has this trend changed a bit for them - but all are a shadow of their former selves.

  5. #5

    Re: ONCE GREAT STATIONS THAT HAVE FALLEN FROM GRACE

    Was KTLA the one that was owned by Golden West (Gene Autry)?

  6. #6
    FreddyE1977
    Guest

    Re: ONCE GREAT STATIONS THAT HAVE FALLEN FROM GRACE

    WKBD-TV 50 in Detroit. They were once the dominant Independent in the market, and then a successful Fox affiliate as they were launching into their growth phase. They also carried just about every sports team and had a successful ten o'clock news franchise. Since losing the Fox affiliation, the sports and the news have since gone, and they are now just another floundering CW station.

  7. #7

    Re: ONCE GREAT STATIONS THAT HAVE FALLEN FROM GRACE

    WTKR has been through a number of ownership changes
    since the '70s, when the FCC forced Landmark Communications,
    owner of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, to sell the station because
    of crossownership rules. When I lived in Virginia Beach in the
    late '60s it dominated the market, but now I believe WVEC is
    the market leader.

    I would add WFAA/8 Dallas/Ft. Worth. In the late '70s the
    Columbia School of Journalism voted it and WCCO/4 Minneapolis
    the two best news operations in the country. But Ch. 8 hasn't
    come up with a team on a par with Tracy Rowlett, Iola Johnson,
    Troy Dungan, and Verne Lundquist, plus the station seems to
    resound with technical difficulties, which I never remember when
    I lived out there.

    I also thought KTVK was the one affiliate-turned-independent
    that still leads its market.

  8. #8

    Re: ONCE GREAT STATIONS THAT HAVE FALLEN FROM GRACE

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky Marlowe
    Was KTLA the one that was owned by Golden West (Gene Autry)?
    Yes it was. In fact, it was Mr. Autry who overruled the news director who wanted to fire Stan Chambers.
    "The sun's not yellow, it's chicken!" - Bob Dylan

  9. #9

    Re: ONCE GREAT STATIONS THAT HAVE FALLEN FROM GRACE

    Great topic. I can name several stations that were big powers in the Carolinas for decades, but are shadows of what they were. One example is WIS/10 Columbia, SC. They were a pioneering station in the state, the first VHF TV station in the Columbia area, and it led the way with great local programming like "Mr. Knozit" with Joe Pinner, available in almost every county of the state (even on Charlotte and Augusta cable systems). During some newscasts back in the 70's and early 80s, they had 60% and 70% shares for their newscasts.

    One time, they were off the air for 3 days during a rating period, and the 2 UHF stations in town couldn't even beat them!

    Now, WIS is a shadow of its own self, firing their top talent (like Jim Gandy, who left for rival WLTX), and WLTX (CBS) almost beats them in some newscasts. They no longer are on cable in the Grand Strand (Myrtle Beach area, where they were a fixture for decades), as WMBF (a new NBC) signed on the air. Joe Pinner is still there, the elder statesman of the station, but he is only on one day a week (Friday).

    Another station that has fallen is WBTV Charlotte. They were the top station in the Carolinas, often doubling WSOC's ratings, owned locally, and now, they have trouble staying in 2nd place to WSOC.

  10. #10

    Re: ONCE GREAT STATIONS THAT HAVE FALLEN FROM GRACE

    Since you brought up Carolina stations,
    WFMY no longer completely dominates
    the Triad. Sure, they're number one in
    most timeslots (and as a CBS affiliate,
    why shouldn't they be?) but the gap with
    WGHP and WXII has closed considerably
    in recent years. In fact, just recently
    Ch. 2 flip-flopped "Ellen" and "People's Court,"
    putting "Ellen" at 4 PM and "People's Court"
    at 10 AM, in order to give the 5 PM news a
    stronger lead-in (WXII's is Oprah). And to think
    that at one time WFMY had both Oprah and
    Dr. Phil!

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