Sitting on top of my television is an antenna, used for almost a year, still in excellent condition, but not of much use to me any more now that Nexstar Broadcasting and Cable One have finally reached an agreement.
According to the article in this morning's Joplin Globe, KSNF, the Nexstar station in Joplin, and its sister station, KODE of Mission Broadcasting, returned to Cable One's roster at 2 p.m. Friday. I first discovered the return in time for the 10 p.m. news.
I hadn't spent too much time critiquing the local newscasts recently; one reason being the amount of work I have been putting in to my other endeavors, but the main reason being I didn't want to go to the hassle of hooking up the antenna. I could still see the KOAM News and KSNF came in pretty well on channel 67 so that left KODE out in the cold, though I have made it a point to watch the station's newscasts once or twice a week. It is definitely great to be able to quickly flip through all three newscasts without the aid of an antenna.
As for last night's 10 p.m. newscast, KODE and KOAM led with the return of soldiers to Pittsburg, while KSNF led with a Southeast Kansas crime story. KSNF carried the soldier story later in its newscast.
KODE carried the story about the agreement between Nexstar and Cable One. I did not catch it on KSNF, but KSNF did have the story on its website the previous day, so I assume it was also on its newscast.
One thing I had not missed about KODE is the annoying crawl on the bottom of the screen. I will repeat what I have said before...on local television, the crawl should only be used for emergency-type announcements, such as weather bulletins, school and community closings, etc. When you have a news anchor team that is the third best of the three stations providing 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts, you already have a strike against you without employing the crawl.
With no offense intended to Brian Hamman or Dowe Quick, Jim Jackson is still the comforting voice of authority for the four states, as he has been for more than two decades. Quick is right up there with him. Hamman has a ways to go, but he is young and the other two had to start somewhere.
As far as the women anchors are concerned, Tiffany Alaniz and Rhonda Justice elevate the newscasts at KSNF and KOAM respectively. They not only work seamlessly on-air with their co-anchors, but both of them have earned their spurs by reporting and not just reading the news. (Of course, there is always Live with Gary and Tiffany to consider, but I am not going to start that again at this point.) Tara Brown at KODE has not established her credentials at this point.
As far as the weather and sports are concerned, the weathercasters all provide the same information, but Gary Bandy at KSNF always appears the most comfortable on air and has an established personality in this area from his TV and radio work. I can't say I have paid too much attention to the local sportscasts on any of the stations. My newscast viewing usually ends with the weather forecast.
The newscasts at both KSNF and KOAM are smooth and professional. KODE's newscast is not bad by any means, but the crawl and the banter between the anchors, which seems forced and unnatural, put KODE a step behind its competition. (Of course, I would rather have less banter on all three stations, but that is never going to happen.)
That being said, the growth potential for KODE is far greater than it is for the other two stations, thanks to the Nexstar-Cable One deal. KSNF and KODE each suffered considerable viewership loss in Joplin, Miami, Parsons, and Chanute. No matter what anyone said during the year-long standoff, I doubt seriously that people will stay away from the two stations now that they are back on Cable One.
KODE's ace in the hole is the strength of ABC's prime-time schedule, at least according to national Nielsen ratings. While CBS is still number one overall. ABC has built strong 9 p.m. programming on Sunday, is a strong second to NBC on Tuesdays and to CBS on Fridays, and is in the competitive mix on Wednesdays, as well. CBS appears to have a lock on Monday, Thursday, and Friday nights, but KOAM has already had these viewers, since it has been on Cable One all along.
NBC on the other hand, only has one night, Tuesday, in which it wins the 9 p.m. prime-time battle, thanks to Law and Order SVU. It swaps back and forth with CBS and ABC on Wednesday, but the prime-time schedule is a bit weaker for NBC, otherwise. Of course, those are national and not local Nielsens, but the local Nielsens have been skewed recently due to the absence of KODE and KSNF on Cable One.
If KODE can establish its anchors' identities in the public mind, get rid of the crawl, and have the good sense to rely on solid reporters such as Gretchen Bolander and Shannon Bruffett, who are well established with viewers (probably only Brad Douglas at KSN and Lisa Olliges at KOAM are as well established locally as those two among reporters) the February sweeps could be interesting.
Now how about an offer for that antenna?