Staying The Course at WHAS

For those of you tuned in to the Ken Schulz Show . . .er, I mean the WHAS-TV newscast. . . on Tuesday, not only did you miss an episode of Jeopardy, but an ABC News story about the effect of the troop surge in Baghdad. There was also an interesting piece of news on a MySpace executive’s speech in Kentucky, and of course new rumors on the UK coaching search. And yes, there was a new, exclusive-to-WHAS poll on the Governor’s Race that never got a moment on the weather…newscast.

WHAS-TV seems so determined to be the weather leader that it’s losing sight of its audience. Consultants have advised the station to win in weather at all costs, and to chase fires, so they’re “staying the course” as ratings fall. The station sent two reporters for live shots at a condo fire this week in which there were no fatalities.

President Bush, in the face of mounting criticism of his Iraq policy and evidence that it’s not working, vows to “stay the course” when the American public tells him to change direction. Likewise, lame-duck WHAS-TV management continues to devote its prime time viewing hours to “weather” while its ratings continue to slide and viewers opt for competitors.

On Tuesday, the area experienced a pretty typical spring storm. There were some moderate warnings, and it rained really hard. The station sent Mark Hebert out in the street outside the studio, where he confirmed on-air that it was, indeed, raining. Some folks lost power, and we were reminded over and over again that 5,000 LG&E customers were without it. Schulz, the meteorologist, waxed on and on in front of his weather map. For about two hours.

Enough already. The station sent a video crew around town, and showed several fallen trees and signs. It had people calling in reports of the rain, and put them on air, and later even encouraged viewers to send in photos. Seemed to me the on-air personnel were struggling to keep from laughing out loud about actually reporting, in a newscast, how hard it’s raining.

As usual, the other stations afforded the storm a reasonable level of coverage, but managed to squeeze in actual news.

It makes you wonder if WHAS managers are paying any attention at all. Like our President, the station continues to “stay the course” while viewers turn away in droves.

12 thoughts on “Staying The Course at WHAS

  1. Well,

    The station is reaping its just desserts. Hint! Take a look at talent drain in the last 2 years alone.

    5Live coming at you!

  2. The station is in shambles, news director and his assistant are about to be fired, mass changes on the way. You’d think they’d change something just to save their jobs!

  3. The problems are more fundamental: shortsighted management, consultant overload, weak news leadership, aging anchors, no meaningful capital improvements recently, miserable web site, and last but not least, a series of GM’s & News Directors who were in over their collective heads.

    WLKY has come of age and is kicking ass! Other than that, things are fine.

  4. Perhaps if the Station had not spent hundreds of thousands, if not more on strategic planning sessions – – that amounted to well – – pretty much what you see on the air right now and retained some of the talent that jumped ship they would not be where they are today.
    Its sad to see how far the station has slipped. Only a few years ago it was still regarded as one of the best Newsrooms in the country and had the ratings to back it up.
    The station made huge mistakes that are now starting to show up where it hurts most.

  5. What “talent jumped ship?” How specifically has the station “slipped.?” (clearly it has,,,,but, what do you think pushed it?)

  6. Over the last few years, they’ve lost Drew Deener, Chloe Friedman, Carol Minn, Eric Zager, and Tony Hyatt. The way they treated Tony Hyatt on the way out was obscene — the news director and his assistant should be ashamed to be that cruel to someone whos’ worked as long (and hard) as Tony did in this business. The news director refused to even say goodbye to Carol Minn, and when Drew Deener said he was leaving, the news director didn’t respond, only pulled out his contract and said “Well, looks like you owe us $1000 for you’re moving fee”.

    If your boss can’t act like a human being to you, do you really wanna go to the wall for him? Same goes for his assistant. The GM was very outgoing and friendly to staff, but screwed with too many people’s lives/contracts/opportunities.

    When you’re cruel and inhuman, don’t expect good things from your workers! Lesson learned, WHAS!

  7. Wow! That says lots! Don’t they now have new people: GM, News Director, etc…so, are they on the way back or mired in 2nd pl. What will it take tyo regain market leadership?

  8. They have an interim GM, same ND and the rest of the staff. WHAS still won the 5, 530 and 6 this past ratings book, but barely. Who knows what will get them back to number one.

  9. This discourse just disolved…rather quickly – making me thing it was intened to be anti WHAS. The author may have been a disgruntled employee or a relative of same. What I’ve read her is thin, no real facts, just opinions, one sidsed at that.

    Let’s hear some facts. Was the General Manager a failure? Was ther News Director a failure? Maybe the anchors are getting old and tired!

  10. So what is the l;atest in the ratiungs wars in the River city? Heard some rumblings that WAVE is getting beat, WHAS is on the bend and WLKY is just a UHF’er.

  11. Nothing of substance here. Sounds like wishful thinking. WHAS still has Melissa Swan and Doug Profitt.

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