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Buffalo provides more evidence of being NBC's hockey heaven

By Alan Pergament

This is what I am thinking -- and hearing:

I am hearing that the New York Times might be planning a story about the popularity of televised hockey in Western New York.

More evidence was available after the Los Angeles' Kings' 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals carried by Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate.

My prediction that the rating in the Buffalo market for the finals would be higher than it is in NYC or LA didn't come true. But it was close.

New York was No.1 with a record local rating of 10.1. Buffalo was No.2 with an 8.5 rating and Los Angeles was No.3 with a 7.1 rating. The rest of the Top 10 markets were Boston, Providence, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Denver, Detroit and Las Vegas.

NBC reports the game had a 3.0 rating nationally and it was the second-most watched Game 1 final ever and the second-most watched Game 1 overall in 15 years. Even better, it won the age 18-49 demographic that is so important to advertisers by a big margin.

Of course, those are percentages of households watching in each city and many more households were watching in both big markets than were watching here.

The 10.1 rating in the No.1 TV market of NYC translates to about 750,000 households. The 7.1 rating in the No.2 TV market of Los Angeles translates into about 400,000 households. The 8.5 rating in the No.52 market of Buffalo translates into about 54,000 households.

By the way, I heard about the Times article from the reporter writing it. He asked me to help explain the popularity of TV hockey here.

It is sort of like the popularity of chicken wings. It is in the area's blood.

Inquiring minds want to know: When Channel 4 practiced restraint on Wednesday and ignored the racist viral video story and Channel 2 practiced overkill with Team Coverage of the story, which station won the ratings battle?

Channel 4 won the combined ratings for the 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts by a narrow margin, 23.7-23.5. Channel 2 won that time block overall in the May sweeps by a 25.3-22.4 margin, which suggests its Team Coverage was a loser Wednesday.

I've never been a fan of the Buffalo Excellence in Media Awards or BEMAs and the departure of Channel 4 meteorologist Bryan Shaw further illustrates how much credibility they have. Shaw, whose contract wasn't renewed after three years, won a BEMA a few months ago for Best Use of Social Media.  

I was wrong when I said Channel 4 News Director Joe Schlaerth didn't send out an email to the staff about Shaw's departure. I'm told that he sent out a succinct one-line message that Shaw no longer works at the station. 

Shaw wasn't the smoothest weathercaster on the air, which is most likely why he wasn't retained. His forecasts were clearer on Twitter and Facebook than on the air. But I'm told that he was a well-liked, hard worker and that some staffers weren't happy about the demeaning way he was treated when he left. He was escorted out of Channel 4 on Monday.

A few days later, Channel 4 management held one of its occasional staff meetings and treated workers to ice cream in an effort to help morale. The ice cream treat apparently was unrelated to Shaw's departure. At a previous meeting, cupcakes were given out. But the timing certainly was odd.





Sports | Sports on TV | Television | TV news
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About Talkin' TV

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament has continued to blog about television topics since retiring in 2010 as The News' television writer after 28 years on the beat. From local on-air personalities to ratings to the latest on network and cable programming, he keeps you informed.

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