Sweeping Up in Chicago

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The strong just keep getting stronger. At least when it comes to late local news in Chicago. Long top-ranked ABC-ownedWLS-Channel 7 extended its lead in the hotly-competitive late local news ratings in the Nielsen May ratings book that ended Wednesday night.

Monday through Friday, Channel 7's 10 pm newscast jumped to a 10.0 rating from a 9.0 rating a year ago to lead the pack by a wide margin. Among other things, the station appears to be benefiting from an aggressive schedule of on-air promotions for its newscast — an initiative instituted by general manager John Idler after his arrival a year ago.

Second-place NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 inched up slightly in the May book to a 5.9 from a 5.7, while CBS-ownedWBBM-Channel 2 plummeted to a 4.8 rating from a 5.7, partly the result, perhaps, of a weaker lead-in audience in May. In the Chicago market, one rating point equals 35,000 households.

At 9 pm, Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9 hour newscast jumped to a 4.5 rating from a 4.0 a year ago, while perennial last-place finisher Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32's 9 pm news inched up to a 2.8 from a 2.5.

Despite heavy new promotion of its early morning newscast, Channel 7 so far hasn't added to its viewership for that program, which notched a 1.5 rating, flat year over year. Channel 5's early morning newscast also was flat with 0.8.

Channel 2's early news showed dropped slightly to a 0.4 from a 0.5 rating. Channel 32's early morning show inched up to a 0.4 from 0.2 rating, while early news competition on Channel 9 also slightly improved its rating to a 0.7 from 0.5 a year ago.

Chicago Business Journal