With the exception of 11 p.m., television viewership in and around Lexington was up during newscast time slots in July, leading to increased news ratings for many of the city's stations.
All stations saw growth at a majority of time periods, according to the recently released ratings analysis by Nielsen of a 40-county viewing area in Central and south-central Kentucky.
NBC affiliate WLEX (Channel 18) won five of the eight competitive time slots based on household ratings, while CBS affiliate WKYT (Channel 27) won three.
"We had growth, WKYT had growth. ... It's good for the market," said WLEX News Director Bruce Carter. "It means more people are watching more local television news, and that's a good thing."
WLEX saw growth among all three of its early evenings newscasts — 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. The station did, however, see drops during some other time slots, including noon and 12:30 p.m. Carter attributed that to the station airing infomercials in the hour leading into the newscast.
"We got no lead-in boost," he said.
The infomercials were necessary, Carter said, because of some programming shuffling that the station did earlier this month when it launched a 4 p.m. newscast. It had intended to launch the latest newscast earlier, but when the station leadership decided to not start until September, it made more sense to air infomercials than purchase syndicated programming for such a short period of time, he said.
Even though ratings information wasn't available for the 4 p.m. newscast or the 7 p.m. newscast that WLEX launched Aug. 2, Carter said feedback has been good for both.
At rival WKYT, the station saw household ratings growth at all time periods except 11 p.m., a time slot during which all Lexington stations saw lower newscast viewership.
WKYT News Director Robert Thomas said some of the boost may have been because some viewers struggled to watch last July, as that was right after the nationwide switch to digital television. He noted that WKYT recently upgraded its signal again, and that could boost viewership further.
"We'll be able to tell in November," he said.
Distant third-place ABC affiliate WTVQ (Channel 36) saw viewership gains at almost all time slots with dramatic increases at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Its household ratings increased more than 80 percent at 5:30 p.m. and more than 40 percent at 6 p.m.
"We were pleased," said General Manager Chris Aldridge. "It's small steps. It's one brick at a time in building a home."
At Fox affiliate WDKY (Channel 56), the station's 10 p.m. newscast grew slightly year-over-year, while its morning newscast dropped slightly.