When plotting out the November calendar of "things to do," many of us may consider what items to stock up on for the Thanksgiving Day meal, or when to get the fallen leaves to the terrace for pick up.
The managers at local TV stations started working months ago on the November calendar, planning what things to do on what night to get the most people to watch. In November, it is even more important because this is the fall sweeps, when ratings will determine the rates to charge advertisers for commercial air time.
I’ve been in those planning meetings, with pencils, pens, calendars, notes describing the stories that reporters have been working on, and the list of programming coming from the network. You weed through it all, knowing your strengths and weakness of your competition. Then you plan each day.
But, once in a while you get a free day. And all the local stations have had it work out for them at one time or another – a Packers game in sweeps.
On Monday night, WISN-TV Ch. 12 will have live coverage of the Bears and Packers showdown beginning at 6:30 p.m. Big 12 Sports Director Dan Needles will be live from Green Bay with a "Big 12 Sports Countdown to Kickoff" pre-game special, followed by the game at 7:30 p.m.
Needles and 540 ESPN Radio personality Drew Olson will field-anchor the pre-game special from the 540 ESPN house outside Lambeau Field. The one-hour program will include some of the team’s past players talking about the rivalry with the Bears and former stars tell Big 12 Sports Reporter Trey Daerr what makes the matchup so special.
WISN’s Stephanie Sutton will be live at Lambeau during the "Countdown to Kickoff" and will share her conversation with Donald Driver after his appearance on "Good Morning America" on ABC last week.
PROGRAMMING NOTES: Because of the local coverage of the Packers game, "Dancing With The Stars" will air later that evening at 1:30 a.m. and "Castle" will air on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m. The Packers and Bears matchup will also air on ESPN with its "Monday Night Football" coverage.
SPEAKING OF SWEEPS: October is also a sweeps month for area stations, although, its smaller in scale and smaller on the impact on the bottom line.
WISN-TV was the ratings winner for weeknights at 10 p.m., with the No. 1 newscast in the market. The ABC affiliate held a 7.3 household rating, followed by WTMJ-TV with a 6.5, WDJT-TV CBS 58 at 6.2 and WITI-TV Fox 5.4.
"We are very pleased to have earned the trust of our viewers, and to know they depend on us for important local coverage," said Jan Wade, president and general manager of WISN.
"Our over-arching goal is to deliver relevant news and to offer viewers the very latest information that affects their lives. That is what we promise and that is what we do."
In the Milwaukee market, a ratings point is equivalent to about 9,100 homes.
The four local stations swapped position rankings at different newscasts throughout the week:
4:30 a.m. weekdays: WISN lead with a 2.3, WITI was second at 1.6, WTMJ had a 0.9 and WDJT 0.3.
5 a.m.: WITI 3.3, WISN 3.1, WTMJ 2.0, WDJT 0.7
6 a.m.: WISN 4.7, WITI 4.4, WTMJ 3.3, WDJT 1.0
4-5 p.m.: WISN "Ellen" 4.1, WTMJ 3.6, WITI "Studio A" 2.4, WDJT "Dr. Phil" 2.0
5 p.m.: WTMJ 5.8, WISN 5.8, WITI 3.8, WDJT 2.5.
5:30 p.m.: WTMJ "NBC News" 7.4, WISN "ABC News" 6.6, WITI 4.0, WDJT "CBS News" 3.4
6 p.m.: WDJT "Jeopardy" 6.5, WISN 6.2, WTMJ 5.4, WITI 4.3
6:30 p.m.: WDJT "Wheel of Fortune" 8.0, WISN "Entertainment Tonight" 5.6, WITI "TMZ" 4.1, WTMJ "Wisconsin Tonight" 2.6, WMLW "Modern Family" 1.6, WCGV "Family Guy" 1.4, WVTV "Family Feud" 1.4
10:30 p.m.: WISN 5.1, WTMJ "Tonight Show" 3.6, WITI "Seinfeld" 3.6, WDJT "Late Show" 1.9, WVTV "King of Queens" 1.0, WCGV "Family Guy" 0.8, WMLW "Modern Family" 0.6
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.