By Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist Published May 22, 2015 at 3:14 PM Photography:

There were plenty of endings this spring on network television. Some of the season, and series, finales may have caused some boost for the 10 p.m. news broadcasts, but overall much of the ratings numbers prove nothing much has changed.

The changes, when looked at from the last sweeps period in February until now, seem slight. While the changes in the numbers year-over-year has been a bit more drastic, comparatively, they did cause a tighter race for the top two news leaders in the city.

"We are honored by the loyalty of our viewers," Jan Wade, president and general manager of WISN-TV Ch. 12, said Thursday. "Strong performances in all of our newscasts highlight the hard work and passion of our newsroom and our entire staff."

The station recorded the most viewers in southeastern Wisconsin in May sweeps going back the past 10 years. WISN finished the month with a 3.3 household rating, followed by WITI-TV Fox 6 with a 2.6, and WTMJ-TV Ch. 4 and WDJT-TV CBS58 tied for a 2.2.

At 10 p.m., WISN and WITI both recorded a 6.3 rating for the half hour broadcast. When this happens, a tie is usually noted, but the truth with the decimals rounded out further than a tenth will determine the true winner. The sweeps just ended on Wednesday night. The adjustments for people who record the news to watch it later still have to be made. Also, the ratings may change because of a technical issue with a recording box, a power outage and the recording of data from the hand-written diaries.

Yes, hand-written viewing results are still being kept and are used in the Milwaukee market. In fact, in other surrounding markets like Madison, Green Bay and Wausau, written diaries are the only records kept to make the ratings.

For a true 10 p.m. winner to emerge, we will not truly know until the demographic information is reported sometime in mid-June. WTMJ was next with a 5.4 and WDJT had a 4.8.

"I am very proud of the station and thankful to our viewers, as we continue to have success in many areas," Chuck Steinmetz, VP and General Manager at WITI, said Thursday.

"Our morning shows continue to be Milwaukee’s favorite, and again in May we were number one at 10 p.m."

A couple of things to consider at 10 p.m. in Milwaukee are that WITI is on the air starting at 9 p.m., which makes the local news its own lead-in for audience. WISN is on the air for an hour, starting at 10 p.m., which people looking for more news stick around longer for.

A winner between the two local stations for the 10 p.m. crown could probably be called  now, however, those numbers are going to keep changing until the reporting of the final adjustments.

Too much time obsessing on the numbers at the 10 p.m. is not worth the effort. There’s plenty more hours of good journalism done each day.

Here’s a rough breakdown of some of the most-watched news broadcasts.


4:30 a.m.: WITI 1.9, WISN 1.5, WTMJ 0.5, WDJT 0.3
5 a.m.: WITI 4.0, WISN 2.5, WTMJ 1.3, WDJT 0.4
6 a.m.: WITI 6.1, WISN 4.9 WTMJ 3.2 WDJT 0.9

5 p.m.: WISN 5.8, WTMJ 4.6, WITI 3.5, WDJT 2.6
5:30 p.m.: WTMJ/NBC News 6.1, WISN/ABC News, WITI 3.6, WDJT/CBS News 3.3
6 p.m.: WISN 6.1, WITI 4.3, WTMJ 4.0, WDJT/Jeopardy 7.3

10 p.m.: WISN 6.3, WITI 6.3, WTMJ 5.4, WDJT 4.8


Note: Not all stations have news broadcasts at the same time.                         

5 a.m.: WISN 2.7
6 a.m.: WISN 4.5, WTMJ 1.5
7 a.m.: WITI 3.5, WTMJ 2.1
8 a.m.: WITI 3.9, WTMJ 2.1


5 p.m.: WISN 3.9, WTMJ 3.5, WDJT 2.9
6 p.m.: WISN 4.8, WTMJ, 4.6, WITI 2.2
10 p.m.: WITI 5.6, WTMJ 4.9, WISN 4.4, WDJT 4.0


5 p.m.: WISN/ABC News 5.3, WTMJ 4.7, WITI 4.0, WDJT/CBS
5:30 p.m.: WTMJ/NBC NEWS 5.5, WISN 5.4, WITI 3.4, WDJT 3.0
10 p.m.: WITI 6.6, WISN 6.0, WTMJ 5.0, WDJT .43

Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist

Media is bombarding us everywhere.

Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.

The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.