Haves or Have-nots of Broadcast News Today

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Jun 022014

havenots_headerBroadcast News television has been with us for years, evolving more than revolutionizing some would say. Cable news television can be called the installment plan inside most households these days, because cable television is expensive.

Nowadays, a husband and wife either have to have minds that run in the same channels or two televisions to each get their own news of the day.

As a result, broadcast news television has made multiple family semi-circles out of the traditional family circle. The latter circle is still fortunately a positive memory trigger for all of us, as we prepare supper for the family at the kitchen table, while watching the evening news of the day.

Some parents even go as far as to say their children who watch television news every night with them will go down in history, not to mention arithmetic, geography, and science.

All we seem to be getting too much of these days on the broadcast news is bad politics — that’s war, and not enough good economics — that’s peace. The off-balance is enough to make a Cronkite, Huntley, Brinkley, Wallace, Reynolds, Robinson, Jennings, or Bradley spirit shake their heads inside their hands and weep.

I ask you now inside the discussion of this humble article where have the forgone magical and riveting historical moments of the broadcast news gone.

How the Haves or Have-nots of broadcast news stack up?

ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” has won its first May sweeps in 7 years among the 25-54 years old demographic. This is the first victory for ABC in any sweeps month in more than 6 years for ABC News — since February 2008.


ABC topped “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” by 42,000 among the highly prized 25-54 demographic age group of viewers. NBC Nightly News broadcast, meanwhile, won the month in total viewers with its biggest May sweep audience and widest lead over “World News” in three years. “CBS News with Scott Pelley” fell to third place with its lowest May sweeps since 1991.

Turning to prime-time cable broadcast news, the survey taken May 28, 2014, also shows Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor maintains its stronghold on the 8 p.m. hour with 2.195 million viewers. The Factor’s lead is nearly eight times CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and HLN’s Nancy Grace viewership, and over four times MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Show viewership, according to the Nielsen Media report of the May sweeps. Similar rating trends can been seen across the prime-time news lineup with Fox’s The Kelly File and Hannity dominating over their corresponding competitor CNN and MSNBC lineups.

It is obviously not a big surprise that Fox News leads the other cable stations by such a wide margin. It is an especially brutal victory when 2nd-run O’Reilly at 11 p.m. is beating everyone’s first-run line-up in prime-time on CNN and MSNBC.

Average prime-time nightly ratings over 8-11 p.m. during the May sweeps shows Fox News leads cable broadcast news with 1.699 million viewers. This is nearly three times the ratings at MSNBC, hauling in an average of 578,000 viewers during May sweeps prime-time. Fox’s lead is also nearly five times the prime-time nightly ratings at CNN, holding onto an average of 255,000 viewers in May.


Considering total prime-time news viewership between 5-10 p.m., Fox’s 9.5 million viewers in May was 61 percent more than the 5.9 million viewers coming to everyone else across all cable broadcast news combined.

The Five’s lead is nearly eight times CNN’s Wolf Blitzer viewership, and over four times MSNBC’s The Ed Show viewership, according to the Nielsen Media report of the May sweeps.

Similar rating trends can been seen across the morning news lineup with Fox & Friends dominating over their corresponding competitor lineups of CNN’s New Day (carrying a quarter of Fox’s viewership), MSNBC’s Morning Joe (holding onto a third of Fox’s viewership), and HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade lineups (bringing in slightly less than a third of Fox’s viewership).

Al Sharpton remarkably carries MSNBC’s evening news at 6 p.m. with 560,000 viewers tuning in during the May sweeps, beating by a factor of two CNN’s Blitzer-Crossfire 6 p.m. evening news lineup.


However, Special Reports with Bret Baier at 6 p.m., featuring its ‘must-see, appointment television’ Fox News All-Stars, featuring Charles Krauthammer, Steve Hayes, and Juan Williams news commentary at 6:30 p.m., continues its dominance as the evening news leader on cable by a factor of three over MSNBC, and by a factor of five over CNN.

What distinguishes the Haves or Have-nots of news broadcasting these days?

These days news is digitally transmitted to millions of homes nightly through television LCDs, personal computers, iPads, wireless-mobile devices, social media, and even cloud-streaming.

As the above ratings reveal, there are distinctive media consumer expectations that the Haves or Have-nots of news broadcasts must cater to. Specifically, they must cater their prime-time offerings to retain viewers over the long-haul of the hyper-competitive prime-time broadcasts in the news industry.


  • The Haves or Have-nots of news broadcasts are conversationalists, who have the best of ability to lead as well as to shape our discussions at the kitchen table.
  • As they provide us with the facts, whence we conclude their substantiations and confirmations are right.
  • When we think of the endowments, which these news broadcasts encompass, we may be impressed by their variety.
  • The Haves or Have-nots of news broadcasts are satirists, who reveal truths by casting a sunbeam of brightness or a laser of bitterness upon them.
  • The Haves or Have-nots of news broadcasts are humorists, whose wit may be as current and original as the talking points and news of the day.
  • The Haves or Have-nots of news broadcasts are ironists, who reveal the inconsistencies between sentimentality and brutality in which the world may at inconvenient times be steeped.
  • The Haves or Have-nots of news broadcasts are dramatists, who crowd into the compactness of talking points a fulfilling narrative, and oftentimes added to it, the surprise ending of a short story or an enduring melodrama.
  • The Haves or Have-nots of news broadcasts are lyrists, whose poetry has rhyme and rhythm, and whose prose has rhythm and blues.
  • The Haves or Have-nots of news broadcasts are biographers, who give to the loneliness of millions the intimacy of neighborhood gossip, community debate, and national discourse.
  • The Haves or Have-nots of news broadcasts are lexicographers, who share even invent new words nightly, which tickled the brain and surprised the eye.
  • The Haves or Have-nots of news broadcasts are philosophers, who disguised their profoundness in slang in order not to appear pretentious.

Photo Credit: NBC Today Show with Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley (1988)

And, when we combine all the gifts of these Haves or Have-nots of news broadcasts — that of the conversationalist, satirist, humorist, ironist, dramatist, lyrist, biographer, lexicographer, philosopher and add to it the real, truth-seeking, thinking, level-headedness, reasonableness, judiciousness, logic, dreams, vision, and prudence of America in her storytelling, then we have a composite picture of what we as Americans have gained or lost nowadays from the value of our nightly evening news.

Some of us will believe anything, if we whisper it to another. This is because we consider the truth often to be unmentionable. This is also the essence of the reality television star’s appeal or the scandal contributor’s fascination. It matters not that millions hear the whisper. Rather, the disguised conveyance conceives the illusion of private information.


The seasons of the most wisest news broadcast’s contributions can be described in terms of the history and life of a news broadcast.

Or, the seasons of a wise news broadcast’s influences can point out the significance of the most wisest news broadcast’s work, without touching upon the sustainable power of a news broadcast agency.

When did we become a country with fewer wise news broadcasts left? We must find them; where ever these great eagles fly. For these wise news broadcasts shape the ideas, ideals, and mission of a wanting nation these days and into our future.

Many are asking where are the “Walters” we could trust — Walter Winchell, Walter Lippmann, Walter Cronkite.

And of course, we all miss Paul Harvey’s “Good Day!”

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