Sounds Like Housing Is Still A Maddening Disaster

Does Kentucky’s new Religious Freedom Act really protect religion, or does it potentially cause discrimination? The issue is still raging weeks after the bill became law. Hint for WDRB: No, the debate isn’t still raging. There’s no additional religious protection but there is the ability to discriminate, thanks to the bill. [WDRB]

The city and the University of Louisville will put about dozen historic makers at one-time protest sites on and near Fourth Street to commemorate the 50th anniversary of passage of the local public accommodations law. [C-J/AKN]

A Floyd County woman accused of murdering a man to cover up an affair is arraigned [yesterday]. New details continue to emerge about the suspect and the relationship that authorities say ended in murder. [WHAS11]

A Franklin Circuit Court judge has given the state 30 days to tell the state’s two largest newspapers why it redacted and took out information from more than 140 case files of children who have been killed or nearly killed from abuse or neglect. [Bluegrass Politics]

The Louisville Metro Housing Authority is spending thousands of dollars every month to file eviction actions. In some cases, the agency is going after tenants who owe very little in back rent. [WLKY]

Still wondering what’s wrong with Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville? You shouldn’t be. This is par for the course. [The ‘Ville Voice]

A drunken joyride in a upscale Oldham County subdivision landed two teens behind bars and facing some very serious charges. [WAVE3]

Rand Paul has introduced three amendments to a bill before the Senate that environmental groups say would gut protections for the environment. [WFPL]

The Greater Clark County Schools will participate in the Summer Food Service program, Monday through Friday, May 28 through July 19. [News & Tribune]

This year’s telecast of the Kentucky Derby drew the second-highest viewership since 1989. A total of 16.2 million people watched the Derby on NBC-TV on Saturday. [Business First]

The Kentucky State Fair begins August 15. Have you started entering your goodies yet? [Click the Clicky]

Republicans started hitting Alison Grimes pretty hard with a new ad last night. And she’s not even a candidate for U.S. Senate. [Page One]

Some Fancy Rumors (Good Ones) About WAVE3

We hear through the gayvine that WAVE3, after wallowing in fourth place in the ratings, may be trying to bring some old favorites back into play.

They’ve resurrected John Belski’s blog, which says to us they’re trying to bring back a familiar face.

And we hear Jackie Hays has been spotted at the station this week, causing rumors of management trying to bring her back to spread like wildfire.

Something tells us no one in Louisville could or would complain about either, as they’re both beloved.

Louie Needs Some Friends

Wondering what’s up with Louie FM?

Me, too. But no one at the station’s talking about the big format change. The station let two on-air personalities go yesterday — J.J. Jackson (from the morning show) and J.J. Duling, the last of a dying species of what used to be known as disc jockeys.

Here’s what you hear right now between music breaks:

“Something new coming to this frequency. Set all radios to this station. Tomorrow at 5.”

Admittedly, I’m not a Louie FM listener, but it’s too bad that a couple more local radio jobs are disappearing. If you didn’t know, 100.5 is one of Clear Channel’s stations, and has been running “Real Music Variety” for a while now as Louie FM.

As for the station, Clear Channel’s Kelly Carls isn’t talking about the new format, saying only that there will be an announcement soon.

For one thing, you can bet that if it’s a new music format, it will be pumped in from somewhere else.

Soon let’s speculate, shall we? One message board suggested that Clear Channel would simulcast the signal from WHAS Radio. What else could it be? Country? Talk? Sports?

What do you think?

Bigger Than Memphis AND New Orleans

The Neilsen ratings service has released its new rankings of local TV markets and it’s good news for those in the local TV industry.

That’s because Louisville moved up a spot t0 #49, compared with last year. What’s more, we passed up our favorite metro nemesis, Memphis, which dropped two spots to #51. This news is important because some advertising buys focus on the top 50 markets, and TV execs in several markets bunched around #50 get pretty anxious over this kind of thing.

Here’s the new rankings of interest here, with TV households number and movement on the list to the right:

#48  Austin, Texas     678,730  (+1)
#49  Louisville, Ky.    668,310  (+1)
#50  Memphis, Tenn. 667, 660 (-2)
#51  New Orleans, La. 633,930 (+2)
#52 Buffalo, N.Y.        633,220 (-1)

What’s a little bit interesting about this list is that in Memphis and New Orleans, we’re now ahead of the two cities to whom we lost out on NBA franchises in the early 2000s.

LPM Boasts About Numbers

Louisville Public Media says it’s continuing to set records for attracting audience on its three public radio stations. A news release sent today claims the stations (WFPL, WFPK, and WUOL) increased their audience 38 percent from Spring 2008 to 2009, accumulating its largest audience ever.

“Now, more than ever, people are looking for quality, independent journalism, and we’re working harder than ever to fulfill that need.  We’re also excited to see continued growth for our music stations, which are committed to supporting the local cultural scene,” said Todd Mundt, LPM’s VP.

The release added that its last five membership campaigns have set records, saying it is bucking the national trend of declining audience and revenue.

Lost in the Flood

Everybody needs a do-over for yesterday. If you were scheduled in court, a press conference, your U of L class, orientation at a middle school (like me), you were more likely hoping your car was on high ground. Hit hardest were Churchill Downs, U of L and the downtown library.

The Day After: Here comes the bill. Convenient that Steve Beshear was around yesterday (in town for a press conference, later canceled, on the arena) to traipse around to Jerry Abramson’s press conferences. Who’s gonna pay for all those cars, for all those library books, for all those manhole covers? Beshear volnteered some state assistance. Looks like we’ll get to see the Steve and Jerry show in action.

Blown Call: Why did no local forecaster warn us that we were going to get 6.5 inches dumped on us Tuesday morning?  Kevin Harned said yesterday on WHAS Radio it was a unique weather phenomena that no one could have predicted. That’s his excuse. Sounds a lot like the windstorm excuse last year. Even the Mayor chided local weather geeks.

Bias? We Don’t Need No Stinking Bias: If you want to get a C-J reporter all hot and bothered, accuse one of being influenced in news stories by the left-leaning bias of the paper’s editorials. John David Dyche, responding to Arnold Garson’s Sunday essay, states the obvious — that it’s the placement, editing and choice of stories made by news editors that reveals the paper’s liberal bias in news. He suggests more transparency in political reporting, like telling readers of reporters’ party affiliation. [Courier]

Under the Radar, Next to Arena: In the absense of a planned announcement yesterday about the arena, the C-J picked up the story about Galt House’s announced plans to spend up to $16 million on the look of Third Street near the Arena, including building a new facade along the east side of the Waterfront Plaza on Third. The Galt House is also building an 860-space parking garage that will serve the new arena. I’m sure you’ll be able to afford to park in there. [Courier]

Top Guns: Say what you want about radio ratings, but these numbers show that WHAS and WAMZ still dominate local radio listening. There’s just not much competition for local news and talk on WHAS. And really, did anyone know that country music is still the dominant music format? [Ratings]

Review The Poo: And not the kind spewing out of the city’s streets yesterday. Only three days of Golden Poo categories are left. Go back and vote for your not-so-favorites. [Golden Poo]

All The Golden Poo You Want to Know

Two Words — Golden Poo: Who do you think is most likely to run afoul of the law? Just look at the possibilities. [Golden Poo]

And to Think They Want to Play a Media Team in Hoops: Check out this photo of the Metro Council contingent touring the arena site. David Tandy told me this morning the Councilcritters are gearing up for a little basketball game against media types next month. We’re not intimidated. [Metro Council]

Pants Up!: At tonight’s Metro Council meeting, Judy Green’s baggy pants ordinance comes up for a vote. Republicans, and me, think it’s a pretty silly thing to spend time on. Word is the measure may go back to committee, wasting more time. I predict a Golden Poo category for this kind of thing. If it does come to a vote, expect some Republicans to vote Present.

The Big Item: Two measures on bridges come up tonight, and they seem to be mutually exclusive. One supports the creation of a bi-state authority for bridges, the other calls for more community discussion of bridges. Vicki Welch is a sponsor of both. ???  The Tandy-Kramer ordinance, with 17 sponsors, is more likely to pass, much to the disappointment of the 8664 crowd.

New Favorite Column: We’re loving LEO’s weekly Jerry’s Kids column, where we learned that Dem. Caucus Director Kenya Magruder got herself suspended for a week for some secret screw-up.  And no one’s saying why, so all us media types get to speculate. Was it incompetence, as the column suggests? [LEO]

All About Timing: Republican council members took exception to another aspect of the LEO column — its assertion that Kevin Kramer dominated a recent 45-minute meeting on the bridge thing. So Steve Haag of the GOP caucus got a tape and timed the remarks, which showed that Tina Ward-Pugh spoke longer that Kramer in the meeting.

Ratings Debate: In response to today’s post about news ratings, we got some feedback, as usual.  While everything in our post was true, there’s more to the story. Like the fact that most stations’ overall viewership is down in most time periods, with the exception of WDRB. And year-to-year, every station is down in late news numbers. Fact is, the ratings gap between the four stations is narrowing, it seems, in every book.

Restaurant Town or Not?: Check the Eats reaction to whether we should really care about Anthony Bourdain. [Eats]

Today’s Unconfirmed Rumor: Tomorrow is Tom Wills’ last day at WAVE, and the station is set to introduce a new female weathercaster on WAVE Sunrise. The mystery woman will debut at the end of the show. No, it’s NOT Ken Schulz.

Summer Ratings Sunny for WLKY, WHAS

Today staffers at WLKY got a congratulatory memo from GM Glenn Haygood.

The big news — WLKY is declaring a victory in the July ratings sweeps. Haygood’s memo notes that in all competitive time periods for local programming, WLKY and WHAS won every one. So WAVE doesn’t win a single time period, nor does WDRB.

So let’s try to figure out why this keeps happening, outside of the possibility that more people enjoy the WLKY and WHAS local news product.

WLKY’s dominance in late night is easy to explain. The CBS primetime lineup has delivered dominating numbers both during the week and on weekends. But WLKY has won late-nights for the last six years, according to Haygood, and it’s hard to give all that credit to the CBS lead-in.  WHAS loses some of its 11 p.m. audience to its 10 p.m. broadcast on WBKI, and when you combine those two ratings numbers, more people watch WHAS late nights.

But this is an argument waged between WHAS and WLKY every sweeps period.

And the numbers also point to another TV watching fact — where the competition is between local news programming and almost anything else, viewers go for anything else.  How else to explain how WLKY’s afternoon soap, The Young and Restless, delivers an audiene nearly a third larger than Fox’s 4 p.m. news or even Oprah. That helps explain the WLKY 5 p.m. news victory, which wins the time period before falling behind WHAS at 5:30.

Then there’s the 7-8 p.m. hour, where viewers in droves turn to Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy over WAVE’s news and the syndicated Extra. WHAS airs ET and Inside Edition, both of which finish second. Sitcom reruns on WDRB finish fourth.

One of the most competitive time periods, and one that has little to do with lead-ins, is the 6-7 a.m. weekday hour. WHAS wins that one, followed by WAVE, WLKY and WDRB. At 7, when the top three networks go to national broadcasts, NBC’s Today show takes over the top spot, and Fox41, with the only local program at that hour, slides ahead of WHAS and WLKY.

Haygood’s WLKY memo points out that the station’s programming in prime time, fringe and prime access time periods were dominant. So other than improving newscasts, other stations might want to find something to beat The Young and the Restless, Jeopardy and shows like CSI and Big Brother.

Talk Radio Station on the Way??

Here’s some good news for WHAS late-night radio listeners — your days of enduring Michael Savage are about to come to an end.

WHAS Operations Director Kelly Carls released a statement today saying that Savage will be replaced Monday, July 6 by Mark Levin, who he described as “mainstream conservative and funny.” Levin has been a guest host for Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, and his book “Liberty and Tyranny” is a best-seller. Not as appealing as Joe Elliott, but an improvement over the obnoxious Savage.

But the change involving Savage isn’t the only talk radio change coming to Louisville. The AM station in New Albany, 1570-AM, is losing both Laura Ingraham and Glenn Beck. Station GM David Smith said the producers of the shows notified him that the shows were moving. He said he hasn’t decided what to program in place of the shows.

Neither Smith nor Carls seem to know where in Louisville the three talk shows are headed, but consider this. In San Antonio, a hip-hop station was flipped to an all-talk format after Christmas, featuring Savage, Ingraham and other conservatives. That’s not the only market in which a music station has switched to a talk format.

The logic is that music stations that are not doing well can make more money by switching to an all-syndicated talk format using these Talk Radio Network hosts. No staffing required, a potential improvement in ratings and a potential boost to local ad sales.

Is there a struggling FM station playing music in the Louisville market? Let’s see.

Last October, WLRS-FM fired its entire on-air staff, including DJ Rocky Knight. The station is owned by Main Line Broadcasting, which operates five local FM stations, all operating various music formats. But at the time of the eight firings last fall, blame was placed on a drop in advertising sales.

Main Line laid off six more staffers, including Leesa Mitchell of Magic 101.3, in January.

So it looks like the secret negotiations causing the ripple effect in local talk will result in a change at LRS.

Sweeping TV News from May

With all that effort from local news stations to boost ratings during the four sweeps months every year, the amazing thing about the Louisville market is that things rarely change, and that no station is ever able to claim any real commanding dominance.

So the news from May’s sweeps is that nothing much changed.

WHAS-TV was the ratings leader during 5:30 and 6, both in the a.m. and p.m.; WLKY was first at 5:00 a.m., Noon, 5:00 p.m. and 11. WAVE-TV finished second in several time periods, third in others. Fox41’s morning newscast has gotten improved ratings in the last year, but remains in fourth place in the a.m. time periods in which it competes with the big three.

The margins of victory in every time period were slim. I don’t know whether stations will use these numbers to pump up their chests in promo, but they shouldn’t.