KGMB tops KHON at 10 p.m.
KHON dominates the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. local news, but has been slipping at 10 p.m. for a few years
Hawaii's new 10 p.m. news leader is KGMB-TV, which topped KHON-TV in that time slot, according to the Nielsen ratings for May.
"I'm enormously proud of the men and women in the newsroom," said Rick Blangiardi, senior vice president and general manager of KGMB.
KGMB's news also won Saturdays and Sundays -- although in all other weekday newscasts, KHON-TV still has by far the top-rated local news.
"We're pretty excited. We felt like we had a very good (ratings) book, right from the morning on," said Joe McNamara, KHON's president and general manager.
The morning news audience at KHON has 50 percent to 80 percent more audience than its closest competitor, he said. "That's just a record."
McNamara said he believes Honolulu may be the only market in the nation where the local news "beats the three major network news and entertainment (shows) in the morning."
Asked about the slippage to No. 2 at 10 p.m., McNamara said: "At 5, 5:30 and 6 we own the audience. We're the lead station there."
KHON's 5:30 p.m. world news show anchored by Joe Moore beats the network newscasts that are on at the same time, "So Joe Moore has continued to be the star, here," McNamara said. At 6 p.m., "our closest competitor doesn't have half the audience."
Until the 1980s, KGMB's news had topped the market for decades, led by legendary anchor Bob Sevey. But then Moore, once a KGMB sports anchor, toppled Sevey and has dominated local news ratings wars ever since.
KHON's 10 p.m. slide, allowing KGMB to regain the top slot, has been under way for a few years. The KHON show got a 15 rating in May 2004, an 11 last year and a 10 this year.
The station's 6 p.m. news, while remaining on top, has been losing rating points going from a 17 in 2004, to 16 last year and a 15 this year.
Meanwhile, KHNL also has lost some viewers as well in the past year, "but we held our own in the demos," said John Fink, vice president and general manager, referring to the demographics, or audience mix watching the shows.
"We are obviously looking at changes," Fink said. News Director Dan Dennison joined the station "about 10 days before the ratings book began and he needs time to assess things."
A bright spot for Fink was the rise in viewership for the KFVE-TV news at 9 p.m. When the new show was announced there were naysayers, but the show has increased to a 4 rating and a 7 share, up from a 3 rating and a 5 share last May.
The top five prime-time shows, aired between 7 and 10 p.m., were "American Idol" on Fox, carried by KHON; the original "CSI" on CBS, carried by KGMB; "House" on Fox; and "Grey's Anatomy" and "Desperate Housewives" on ABC, carried by KITV.
"Idol" on Tuesdays garnered a 29 rating and 50 share in the four-week rating period, but it had a 35 rating, 56 share last May. The Wednesday numbers were down as well.
KGMB's competitors pointed out that the late news has a strong lead-in with CBS shows such as "CSI," "CSI: Miami" and "CSI: NY"
From 9 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, CBS had an 11 rating and a 22 share, compared to second-place ABC, with a 6 rating, 12 share.
That ABC's "Lost," which has spurred blogs and Internet chatter among fans trying to deconstruct the show's mysteries, was not in the top 10 was not that surprising to Bill Gaeth, vice president of sales for KITV.
"It ran opposite 'Idol' on Wednesday nights. It is a top-10 show, still, running against 'Idol' it did very well," Gaeth said.
The very last night of ratings, during the finale of both "American Idol" and "Lost," Oceanic Time Warner Cable equipment in Kalama Valley failed, causing an outage for some 95,000 customers in Kalama Valley, on Maui and the Big Island.
"It is too early to tell" if there was impact on local ratings for the two shows, Gaeth said.
The May rating period is crucial for television stations in that it has a longer shelf life than the February or November ratings, as far as advertising sales are concerned. In years like this one, the Nielsen survey is also the backbone for political advertising sales.
With "American Idol" ratings diminished but still strong numbers, KHON has great ratings to show advertisers, but the show is no longer on.
"Fox will offer some other shows out there for summer," said McNamara, citing, "So You Think You Can Dance?" and "Hell's Kitchen."
The shows won't do "Idol" numbers but McNamara expects respectable prime-time viewership over the summer. The station has compiled a sales piece comparing KHON's local audience delivery to the Fox network nationally, versus other local stations' local performance compared to their networks.
Television industry publications have long noted that broadcast TV is losing viewers to cable and the Internet. However, the May 2006 Nielsens show only 2,000 fewer viewers of prime-time broadcast programming in Hawaii versus the same period last year -- a drop of less than 1 percent of the Nielsen universe of 239,000.