Experts say Buchman's move to WTHR could lift station's ratings

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

WTHR-TV Channel 13’s hiring of meteorologist Angela Buchman from rival WISH-TV Channel 8 could give the station’s evening newscasts a ratings bump among the 25-54 audience, which is abandoning local TV news in alarming numbers.

Ratings for the May sweeps period for the demographic most coveted by advertisers were released by New York-based Nielsen Media Research on Wednesday, and the results indicate trouble for the four major local stations.

WTHR again retained its position during the period as the most-watched station for news in central Indiana among the 25-54 audience. But its ratings from last May fell 34.3 percent at 5 p.m., 16.3 percent at 6 p.m. and 17.8 percent at 11 p.m.

Its ratings slide at 5 p.m. can be directly attributed to the loss of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which aired from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. before going off the air in May 2011. Year-over-year, WTHR’s audience for the 4 p.m. slot—now occupied by “The Dr. Oz Show"—plummeted 58 percent.

Despite WTHR’s challenges, the station’s newscast at 5 p.m. earned a 2.3 rating, topping WISH’s 1.4 rating, WXIN-TV Channel 59’s 1.3 and WRTV-TV Channel 6’s 0.9 rating. Each rating point equals 10,720 central Indiana households.

WTHR, an NBC affiliate, also won the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. timeslots by wide margins.

Still, the stations should be concerned about the loss of viewers younger than 54, said Rick Doyle, media director of Indianapolis-based MZD Advertising.

“I think it’s been fairly common knowledge that the networks are fighting more and more over diminishing audiences,” he said. “Even television stations are now offering apps for the phone. In some ways they’re their own worst enemy, because everyone wants to be the primary news source.”

Although Buchman’s imminent move to WTHR won’t have a huge impact on ratings, experts say, it should provide some relief from further slides.

IBJ reported the move on Wednesday. John Cardenas, WTHR’s vice president and general manager, declined to comment on Buchman’s pending arrival. WISH General Manager Jeff White did not return calls seeking comment.

Sources say Buchman’s contract at WISH expires this summer. A non-compete clause likely would keep her from appearing on-air for another station in the Indianapolis market for one year from the date of the contract’s expiration. Such clauses are typical for the industry, but it wasn't immediately clear whether this was the case fror Buchman and WISH.

The wait for the popular weatherwoman could be worth it for WTHR, said Bill Perkins, president of Indianapolis-based media-buying firm Perkins Nichols Media.

“If the news is the same, it’s a question of the personalities,” he said. “And the weatherperson is one of the personalities that affect viewers’ attitudes.”

Luring Buchman away from WISH won’t be cheap, however. Industry experts said the offer would have been in the neighborhood of $400,000 to get her to make the jump. Stations typically pay new hires with non-compete clauses during the time they’re not working, too.

“When you talk about the anchor, sports and weather, that’s the big three,” said Bruce Bryant, founder of Indianapolis-based Promotus Advertising. “A good, popular weather talent certainly can help your ratings.”

At 11 p.m., WTHR’s newscast earned a 3.7 rating among the 25-54 audience, besting WISH’s 2.5 and WRTV’s 1.7. WTHR’s 17.8 percent slide at 11 p.m. was lower than both WISH’s and WRTV’s decrease of 34.2 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

Fox59’s 10 p.m. news had a 3.9 rating, a fall off from last May of just 2.5 percent.

WTHR also won the 6 p.m. timeslot, with a 3.6 rating, topping WISH’s 1.3 and WRTV’s 1.2 in the 25-54 demographic.

WISH’s rating at 5 p.m. dropped 17.6 percent and 40.9 percent at 6 p.m. year-over year, while WRTV experienced a ratings decrease of 18.2 percent at 5 p.m. and 41.7 percent at 6 p.m.

Nielsen has sweeps periods in February, May, July and November, and ratings during those periods set television advertising rates. Advertising during local TV newscasts make up 40 percent to 60 percent of a local station’s revenue.

Overall, Perkins said, the stations’ ratings for the May sweeps among the key demographic were “just awful.”

“Channel 13 is doing a better job than the other guys, but it’s nothing like it used to be,” he said. “It seems to be a general problem.”

Fox59 earned a 0.7 rating, a year-over-year decrease of 41.7 percent, for its 4 p.m. news and a 1.3 at 5 p.m., a drop of 27.8 percent.

Fox59 was particularly strong in the mornings. The audience for its 4:30 a.m. news increased 66.7 percent year-over-year and 44.4 percent at 5 a.m., leading its three competitors at that hour with a 1.3 rating. Fox59 dropped 12 percent at 7 a.m. and 17.6 percent at 9 a.m., however.

WTHR led at 6 a.m., with a 3 rating, followed by Fox59’s 2.7, WISH’s 1.9 and WRTV’s 1.3. WRTV’s rating represented an 18.2 percent increase year-over-year.


  • chris wright
    what happened to chris wright.
  • Weather when it counts!
    While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I couldnot disagree more more with people who put down Angela Buchman. She is absolutely gorgeous, true, but she is intelligent as well. She knows the weather formulas forwards and backwards. If a particular forecast was off a little bit I would be more inclined to look at equipment ort staff support issues. I've watched them all for years including her since she first started. She is the only one who seemed to care how accurate her forecasts are everytime. Now before any fool thinks they can lecture me, I should know because as a construction contractor, I make my living outside for the last 20 years. Angela is the only one who has ever spoken to us directly and she does it on a regular basis. If that's not enough, WISH8 didn't start cutting during the mid-day broadcasts to actually follow a storm until after she came on board! WTHR13 took awhile to catch on. She also caters her presentation of the weather to include family activities and mentions the key info for making decisions regarding weather conditions on the less obvious days. Whoever got her was astutely paying attention. I wish they all were so good at their job!
  • Chikaga
    I have watched channel 13 since I was a teenager which has been a long time. I cannot stand to watch Chikaga (sp). I have never seen such an irritating delivery, smile and who names their child something like this? I think channel 13 had Parella too. I just don't care for her at all and watch Channel 6. Fox 59 is like the land of the misfit toys and channel 8 is not far behind!
  • What?
    So, WTHR steals someone from a station with low rating to boost their low rating, using low ratings people. Wouldn't it be best to go out of market? Or maybe actually report news instead of advertising for companies in their stories and calling it news. Angela is great to look at, but the news is still too late at night for people that work and have to get up. That is why I watch 59.
  • Not the best???
    Angela's delivery is irritating? I'm sure you're saying this tongue-in-cheek. She has the most atriculate, smoothest delivery in TV, bar none.
  • Shes just pretty
    Anyone can say, Hey it might rain but not sure. Would love a gig like that for 400 k. Won't watch just cuz her. To liberal for me. Enjoy your debt channel 13
    • Because it is
      It is news because many are interested that Angela Buchman is changing stations. I am interested because she was the only reason I watched WISH news at all.
    • Big Loss
      The biggest loss I will have is not being able to watch Angela all day long on the local weather station (Channel 251 on Comcast). WTHR has a weather channel but you won't find the personalities on there much. They would be smart to put her face on that when she moves over.
    • Buchman leaving!
      Who Cares? I would be more upset if Randy Ollis left the 5:00 AM News!
    • channel 13
      I have watched channel 13 forever and love all the people involved. I am aware of Angela and feel she will be a major asset to 13. After 13 goes off in the A.M. I switch to 59 which is fun to watch. With Ann Curry gone from the Today Show I will get ALL my info from local stations
    • Indy News
      I travel a lot and Indy news and personalities are much better than anybody here gives them credit. There are some stations (especially in the South) that are absolutely clusters (if you get my drift). Younger generations do not watch the news. In Indy, it is the 40 and over demo that tunes in nightly. For that group, the news here is fine.
    • Hot Chicks and Geeks
      Channel 59 cracks me up in the early mornings and Jenny is the bomb! They feel like family!
      Morehead and Stehr have caused me to switch channels..then I come back at 6:00 and watch Scott and Anna Marie, they are great!
    • Not the best
      Good luck to her, but her delivery is as irritating as that of Chris Wright. Brian Wilkes and Kevin gregory are the two best weather readers in town (subjective statement).
    • Terrible
      The local news in Indianapolis is horrible. Like others have said, most broadcasts lead off with either weather or sports and not the actual news. I've never seen such blatant sensationalism of the weather in other cities. Second, the quality of local coverage has also gone down greatly, as too many of the stories are taking place outside of the metro area. No one cares about what's happening in rural Indiana because no one lives there. Finally, the station branding is awful as well--too much emphasis on hokey Hoosier culture at all of the stations. Kind of makes the city look like a backwater, but whatever. In any event, local news is dying like newspapers because more and more people use other sources to get news instantly (cell phones, laptops, etc).
    • Not Surprised
      I'm not really surprised by the move. The news market in indy seems pretty slow for it's size. WTHR does stand out due to better branding in my honest opinion,and I wouldn't be surprised if one the stations combined with another one witinh ten years. I'm wish's fallen ratings will have them axing more anchors. You dont really need two sets of on-air talent for every half hour,that'll bite them in the bite in the long run. Most places usually stick with one or two hosts or anchors for their evening news,too much over head.
    • So what
      Why is this news?
      • Tonight it will be dark
        All last week we were warned about about large amount of rain on Saturday. Saturday arrives....maybe 3-4 drops. Reminds me of comments made by forecaster in Chicago some years ago...they hate long-range forecasts but TV stations pressure them to make 'predictions'.
      • This just in..it's sunny
        The lead story on Indy tv news is not usually sports, it's weather. Even if there is absolutely nothing going on in the weather department, they'll be "tracking" some rain showers 250 miles from the city, or they'll be "tracking" heat to the west.
      • Better Idea
        I have a better idea. Move Angela to news anchor and bring back Dave Letterman to do the weather. This combo would move the ratings needle!
      • Fox 59
        She should go to Fox 59...don't get rid of Brian, he's cool...but 59 seems to care the most about giving local coverage...plus, she would add to the hottness over there. Ganote, Anchando, Pilgrim, etc etc etc...wow!
      • Price Way Off
        There is no way any station in this market is paying 400,000 for one person. While Buchman will command a hefty 6-figure salary, we're likely talking about half of what was quoted. Another angle that's not being discussed is work hours. Ms. Buchman has two school-aged children, and working evenings is not ideal for a mom with small children at home. WTHR could be simply offering a better schedule.
      • Local news is joke
        Angela does a good job on WISH. I'd rather watch her than Windler or Wright. How many weather people do these stations need anyway? They already have too many. If they would spend more time telling us important information instead of telling us what they plan to tell us later, I may consider watching it more often. My vote is for less fluff and more content
      • $400K!
        I think I'll go back to school and become a weather woman ... uh, wait ... maybe I need surgery. $400k seems a lot but it's all about advertising $ ... at face value, I'd say she's worth it ... what happens to Chris Wright? He's good. Sexism?
      • No gnews is good gnews
        Only after moving from Indy to Chicago did i realize how poor the news is on Indy TV. Tom Skilling has forgotten more about weather than most Indy weathermen/woman will ever know. Indy leads off with weather too much as well. Angela is a class act, have met her before at an event. She will prosper in her new endevour.
      • Just 'cus she's hot
        What did you say, honey, I was watchin' the ... uh ... uh ... what did you say, honey?
      • My fav
        I'd add Chuck Lofton to that list. He's my all-time favorite. Paul Poteet was my second but WRTV axed him for some reason.
      • Just 'cus she's hot
        This is such a disgrace to true journalist and related people in the profession. 400K? What a joke. They news and radio stations are horrible in this town. I am sure men don't even know what she is saying when watching.
      • What News?
        Maybe if they stop filling up so much of the 'news' segment with sports-related stories the news would be more watchable. Not everyone lives or dies for every tidbit of Colts 'news'! Also they act as though the weather forecast is unobtainable anywhere but the nightly news program.
      • The Best
        Brian Wilkes, hands down the best!
      • Spot On, Greg
        Indy is the 12th largest city in the US and the lead story on most news broadcasts is more often than not sports related. That's either lazy reporting or pandering to an unintelligent audience.
      • $400K.....
        $400K to read the weather?? I wish I could be wrong as often as a TV weatherman and get paid that much
      • News
        I've lived in a few other cities, Indy's news is the worst. Too much effort to entertain, and not to inform.
      • Not the best
        Good luck to her, but her delivery is as irritating as that of Chris Wright. Brian Wilkes and Kevin gregory are the two best weather readers in town (subjective statement).

        Post a comment to this story

        We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
        You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
        Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
        No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
        We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

        Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

        Sponsored by

        facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
        Subscribe to IBJ