Market Eye: Pitt Crews
Pittsburgh news outlets are hard-pressed
to match the national and global news that occurred in the market last year.
The Steelers won the 2009 Super Bowl, the Penguins hoisted the Stanley Cup, and
the likes of President Obama, Russia President Dmitry Medvedev and U.K. Prime
Minister Gordon Brown were among the world leaders turning up for the G-20
summit in September.
Pittsburgh has long seen itself
as a world-class city, and events like the G-20 showed that it has successfully
moved beyond its steel-town past. "It showed the positive transition Pittsburgh
has made," says KDKA VP/General Manager Chris Pike, "from manufacturing to a
The new year may not see numerous world leaders visit, but political races
shaping up for Pennsylvania's
governor and senator should keep both the newsrooms and the sales staffs busy.
"Political will be a significant factor in 2010," says WTAE President/General
Manager Rick Henry.
Pittsburgh launched Local People
Meters last summer. DMA No. 23 offers a top-notch local news scene, with CBS
O&O KDKA, Cox NBC affiliate WPXI and Hearst's ABC outlet WTAE fighting hard
for the news titles. KDKA took total day ratings in November, along with
primetime, evening and late news, its 10.1 household rating/18 share at 11 p.m. eclipsing WTAE's 6.1/11.
Mornings are a different story, with WTAE grabbing the title in November.
KDKA brought former anchor Jennifer Antkowiak back to the morning desk, while
WPXI added former WUSA Washington anchor Todd McDermott in January. "Numbers
have been terrific with him in the chair," says WPXI VP/General Manager Ray
WPXI's Peggy Finnegan and David Johnson recently marked 20 years as an
anchor pair. Rounding out the market are Sinclair's Fox-MyNetworkTV duopoly
WPGH/WPMY (WPXI produces a 10 p.m.
news for WPGH), CBS' CW outlet WPCW and Cornerstone TV's independent WPCB,
where receptionists greet callers with a hearty "Jesus Loves You!"
Home of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
has a lively high-tech scene. Google and Microsoft have a presence there, eager
to tap the local populace's brainpower.
The stations are eager to reach the local populace, too. WPXI has "the
little cable station that could," according to Ray Carter, in PCNC. WTAE has a
new news director in Alex Bongiorno and This TV in place of a weather channel
on its digital tier. "People are tuning in to a two-hour movie instead of five
minutes of weather," Henry says.
KDKA has a new iPhone app and is working closer with sibling radio
properties in the market. "We have terrific content that people want," Pike
says. "We look to make it available however consumers want to consume it."
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.