KCAL/Channel 9 upped the Yule log ante this Christmas, and it paid off handsomely for the CBS-owned independent station.
KCAL won this year's local TV Yule Log Smackdown, averaging 81,000 viewers from 4:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. -- compared to KTLA/Channel 5's 79,000 viewers during the same time frame.
KCAL perhaps held the edge thanks to its decision this year to get a jump start on KTLA by airing the Yule log beginning at midnight early Christmas morning -- which means the station expanded from four hours last year (6 a.m. to 10 a.m.) to 10 hours this year.
Both stations peaked during the 9:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. quarter hour, with KCAL averaging 153,000 viewers and KTLA bringing in 139,000 viewers. (That means 292,000 Angelenos had one of the two TV Yule Logs crackling in the background.)
According to KCAL, the two stations averaged 181,000 viewers from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. -- down 15% from last year but up 18% from 2009.
The Yule log TV battle was also a proxy for L.A.'s local radio Christmas format war. KCAL played holiday music simulcasted from sister CBS Radio station KTWV The Wave (which went wall-to-wall Christmas for the first time this year), while KTLA continued its partnership with Clear Channel's KOST-FM, long the market Christmas leader. (
KCAL first brought the Yule log tradition to L.A. in 2004, inspired by New York's WPIX. This is the fourth year that KTLA has broadcast a rival Yule log.
Check out our past coverage of TV's Yule log here.
(Corrected to reflect the proper year that KCAL last simulcasted KOST.)