WTAP-TV, the Gray Television Group television station serving the Mid-Ohio Valley, is the most-watched NBC affiliate in America, according to numbers released this week by the A.C. Nielsen organization.
Nielsen conducts viewership surveys of TV stations all over the U.S. four times a year. And in the February 2005 surveys, WTAP turned up in first place in four separate categories.
Those categories are:
Highest audience share (28%) from sign-on to sign-off, Sunday through Saturday, of any NBC affiliate. The term “share” means that of the TV sets that are turned on in homes in Wood, Washington and Pleasants counties, 28% of them are tuned to WTAP-TV at any given moment. That number is much higher during local newscasts and the more popular NBC and syndicated programs. (Tie with WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, VA.)
- #1 Noon newscast, regardless of network affiliation, with an audience share of 57%.
- #1 6pm (Monday-Friday) newscast, regardless of network affiliation, with a 65% share.
- #1 ranked 11pm (Monday-Friday) newscast, regardless of network affiliation, with a 66% share.
“We’ve had the top ranked Noon newscast in the U.S. before,” said Roger Sheppard, Vice-President and General Manager of WTAP, “but I don’t think any station has ever swept all four of these categories in a single ratings period.”
The 65% and 66% shares for WTAP News at Six and Eleven, respectively, mean that roughly 2 out of every 3 households in the Mid-Ohio Valley that are watching TV during those times of the day, are tuned to WTAP.
Sheppard says that these surveys are naturally skewed in favor of smaller market TV stations. But there are many small-market TV stations, serving communities about the same size as the Parkersburg-Marietta area or somewhat larger. WTAP’s ratings exceeded all of them in these categories.
“As gratifying as it is to see these numbers,” Sheppard said, “it just reinforces the idea that our job is to serve the people and the businesses of the entire Mid-Ohio Valley. And we’re glad that the people are watching in such large numbers.
“With all of the other choices out there on cable and satellite, people still want local news, weather and sports, and want to see the best syndicated programs anywhere, like Oprah, Dr. Phil, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and others. WTAP has all of them, plus the award-winning NBC line-up.”
Sheppard concluded by saying “I want to thank the people who choose to ‘Come Home to WTAP’ every morning, noon and night, and if you can't be near a TV set during those newscasts, you can read or watch excerpts of them right here on wtap.com!"