Saturday, February 28, 2015

L.A. February TV Ratings: On the Weekdays, Everyone's A Winner

As usual, KABC took the local February sweeps crown in households, winning what the station says is its 124th consecutive non-Olympic survey period among households. And in the key Monday to Sunday 11 p.m. news race among adults 25-54, KABC was tops (1.3 rating) over KNBC (1.1) and KCBS (1.0).

But on the weekdays, this may be the oddest February sweeps in local Los Angeles TV ever. In the key adult 25-54 demographic at 11 p.m., rivals KABC, KNBC and KCBS all tied for No. 1 on the weekdays, with a 1.1 rating. (In total viewers, KABC remained champ, although was down from November.)

Going back to at least 1989, this is the first time insiders say they've ever seen KCBS, KNBC and KABC tie for #1 in weekday late news during a major sweep in adults 25-54 – the primary demo for news.

But that's not all: Adding to the unusual month, the three major stations with news at 10 p.m. (KTLA, KTTV and KCAL) also all virtually tied, with a 1.0 rating each.

I always preface these ratings by reminding you that sweeps really shouldn't matter in Los Angeles any more -- the local market is now measured every day via personal people meters. But old habits die hard, and the local stations compete heavily in November, February and May as if it still mattered.

It's also hard to do apples-to-apples comparisons with last February, since the Winter Olympics skews those totals. So instead, this time I'll compare the ratings to the last major sweeps period in November 2014.

Beyond the ties, it was a strange month. KABC saw huge gains at 6 p.m., yet a big drop at 11 p.m. -- despite the fact that it won primetime for the month. KTLA Morning News regained the crown as the most-watched morning show, and "CBS This Morning" on KCBS narrowly edged out "Today" on KNBC.

Here are the February total viewers weekday ratings for the Los Angeles market, Monday through Friday in key news timeslots (as well as Monday through Sunday in primetime).

4:30 am
KABC 74,000 (in November 93,800)
KTLA 43,000 (in November 41,500)
KNBC 37,000 (in November 23,600)
KCBS 26,000 (in November 16,400)
KTTV 9,000 (in November 10,400)

KABC 98,000 (in November 135,000)
KTLA 87,000 (in November 93,100)
KNBC 46,000 (in November 37,800)
KTTV 39,000 (in November 36,800)
KCBS 35,000 (in November 27,300)

KABC 181,000 (in November 192,700)
KTLA 165,000 (in November 182,400)
KTTV 76,000 (in November 72,800)
KNBC 75,000 (in November 66,400)
KCBS 53,000 (in November 46,600)

KTLA/Morning News 208,900 (in November 208,000)
KABC/Good Morning America 206,000 (in November 213,500)
KCBS/CBS This Morning 88,000 (in November 74,700)
KNBC/Today 86,000 (in November 95,900)
KTTV/Good Day LA 81,000 (in November 67,600)

KABC 246,000 (in November 245,600)
KNBC 143,000 (in November 139,600)
KCBS 115,000 (in November 108,900)
KTTV 49,000 (in November 48,200)

KABC 328,000 (in November 277,500)
KNBC 145,000 (in November 147,200)
KCBS 102,000 (in November 97,200)
KTLA 79,000 (in November 58,900)

Primetime (Monday through Sunday)
KABC/ABC 367,000
KCBS/CBS 366,000
KNBC/NBC 239,000
KTTV/Fox 200,000

KCAL 167,000 (in November 156,100)
KTLA 136,000 (in November 126,500)
KTTV 116,000 (in November 76,900)

KABC 250,000 (in November 335,900)
KCBS 211,000 (in November 215,000)
KNBC 177,000 (in November 159,000)
KTLA 80,000 (in November 83,000)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

MIKE ON KCRW: How the Oscars Fell Flat

On Monday's Press Play with Madeleine Brand, NPR's Linda Holmes and I discussed the Oscars and more:
Several of the winners at last night’s Oscars injected politics into their speeches, getting mixed reactions. The losers, on the other hand, included not only snubbed films but also the audience. The show itself was kind of a stinker. We talk about the highs, the lows, and other small screen news from the week in our weekly television roundup.

Listen below:


THE SPIN-OFF: Interview with Rick Ludwin, the Dean of Late Night (Listen Now!)

If you're at all a student of TV -- especially the world of late night -- I hope you'll check out the latest edition of our monthly TV podcast on KCRW, The Spin-Off! In this episode, Joe and I are sit down with Rick Ludwin, who ran NBC late night from 1980 to 2012, and was there for all the big moments -- Carson, Letterman, Leno, Conan, Fallon, Meyers. With the late night world undergoing another big transition, there's a lot to talk about:
We pick his brain about Saturday Night Live, famous late night transitions and reflect on the one-year anniversary of Jimmy Fallon as the host of The Tonight Show. We also look ahead in late night, and ask who could possibly replace Jon Stewart and why there's such a severe shortage of women late night hosts. And we talk about the way late night has evolved as television viewing habits has changed. Fortunately, Ludwin thinks late night still has a long future ahead of it, even if it doesn't look the same as it does now.

Listen by clicking below!


Friday, February 20, 2015

End of an Era: Lisa May, "Doc on the Roq" Depart KROQ After More Than Two Decades

Lisa May

Radio isn't known for its longevity -- it's a tough business, particularly for on-air talent. Even the best ones frequently find themselves hopping from market to market. So it's all the more amazing that the Kevin & Bean Show is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

But change is in the air: After 24 years, longtime "Kevin & Bean" traffic reporter Lisa May (that's her, above with me at the KROQ studios in 2012) has left the show. Ditto Boyd R. Britton, a.k.a. "Doc on the Roq," who had been at KROQ for 27 years, and produced news capsules for the morning show. KROQ is doing away with both traffic and news in the morning, and more changes are to come.

Lisa May's past gigs include working as a DJ at a country station in the Valley, while Britton has been in the market for years, working for KKDJ, KIIS, KTNQ, KWST, KHTZ and KNWZ, according to

Kevin & Bean announced the change this morning. The duo, plus Ralph Garman and Lisa also addressed it on Twitter:





Good luck to Lisa as she moves on to her next adventure!

UPDATE: Meanwhile, K&B has a new female voice: Former KTLA reporter Allie MacKay, who joined the show on Monday. Here's the report from All Access:
CBS RADIO Alternative KROQ/LOS ANGELES has added ALLIE MAC KAY to the cast of the KEVIN AND BEAN show. MAC KAY, who most recently appeared on the KTLA morning show for the last six years, started this morning.

The move comes on the heels of the departures of morning news anchor DOC ON THE ROQ (NET NEWS, 2/19) and traffic reporter LISA MAY (NET NEWS, 2/23) “DOC ON THE ROQ and LISA MAY have both been valuable and long-term members of the KEVIN AND BEAN cast and we appreciate all of their contributions, CBS RADIO VP/Programming and KROQ PD KEVIN WEATHERLY said. “As of today, we have added frequent guest and fill-in ALLIE MAC KAY as a full-time addition to the KEVIN AND BEAN show.”

“Today was my first day as part of the dysfunctional family that is "The KEVIN AND BEAN Show" on KROQ,” she wrote on her FACEBOOK post. “Growing up here in L.A., if you would have told me this was even a possibility, I wouldn't have believed it. At the same time, change isn't easy (for anyone involved) especially when you come after someone so beloved. I'm just there to do my best and hope it makes you happy (for some of you … that will hopefully come in time).”

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

TV GUIDE FLASHBACK: From 1976, An Early Profile of "Saturday Night Live"


Tired of all the "Saturday Night Live" nostalgia? Sorry, but I've got another interesting piece for you: The first-ever TV Guide magazine profile of the show, published in the May 29, 1976 issue. (By the way, what a weird photo -- Lorne Michaels' eyes are closed, and his face is partially cut off!) Of course, Chase would be gone by season two, but here's a snapshot of how SNL was already a force by the end of its first season.



MIKE ON KCRW: 50 Shades of Grey, SNL40, Brian Williams and More

On this Monday's edition of The Business, Kim Masters and I bantered about several topics including:
- Jon Stewart announced his departure from The Daily Show, and he’s leaving Comedy Central with some very big shoes to fill.
- NBC has suspended Brian Williams for six months. A return after that kind of break doesn’t look promising.
- Sony’s Spider-Man will be swinging over to the Marvel universe in a new partnership that’s pushing back the release dates of other superhero movies. Former Sony chairwoman Amy Pascal will be a producer on the new Spider-Man project.
- Fifty Shades of Grey will have a huge opening over Valentine’s Day Weekend. The stars of the film are signed on for two more movies, but it’s unlikely that director Sam Taylor-Johnson will stick around after fighting with author EL James, who was given an unprecedented level of control on set.

Listen by clicking below:

Or here:


On last Thursday's Hollywood Breakdown, Kim Masters and I talked all about the "Fifty Shades of Grey" phenomenon:
Fifty Shades of Grey has already broken records, and it hasn't even opened yet. The film based on EL James' book of the same title has sold the most advance tickets ever for a Valentine's Day Weekend release. James' story originally started as Twilight fan fiction, and after her books became international bestsellers, studios went into an all-out bidding war for the film rights. Universal walked away from that war the winner, and they've given James unprecedented control for an author on a movie set. James and director Sam Taylor-Johnson had frequent clashes creating the film, stemming from James getting the final say on everything from wardrobe to dialogue to the final word of the film's last scene. While stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan have signed on to be in all three Fifty Shades movies, it doesn't look like Taylor-Johnson will be back for the next one.

Listen below:


On Monday's Press Play with Madeleine Brand, NPR's Eric Deggans and I discussed the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special and more:
"Saturday Night Live" celebrated 40 years on the air over the weekend with an elaborate and lengthy special. Wayne and Garth were just two of the characters brought back for the reunion, which featured cast members from every generation of the show. In true SNL fashion, the broadcast was hit-and-miss. We talk about the highlights and the lowlights in our weekly television news roundup.

Listen below:


Lego Brings the Washington Monuments to the Glendale Galleria

Lego monuments

How do you get kids interested in our nation capital's monuments? Lego, of course. The Lego Monuments Roadshow is currently on display throughout the Glendale Galleria mall through February 22. Besides the massive models of the Capitol Building, the White House and other buildings, the roadshow includes a play area (where kids can build racecars) and an area for kids to build a free tiny Capitol building model.

Some pics from the roadshow:

Lego monuments

Lego monuments

Lego monuments

Lego monuments

Lego monuments

Lego monuments

Lego monuments

Friday, February 13, 2015

RIP Stan Chambers, Los Angeles Broadcast Legend

This has been a rough week for journalism. The Brian Williams scandal; Jon Stewart's Daily Show retirement; the death of foreign correspondent Bob Simon; and yesterday, the sad death of the New York Times' David Carr.

Now comes the sad news that local TV legend Stan Chambers has died, at 91. Chambers retired in 2010 after 63 years at KTLA -- hold up, lemme repeat that: 63 YEARS AT KTLA!

Chambers wasn't just a local TV legend -- he was a Los Angeles legend. If you're not up on your Los Angeles history, just Google "Kathy Fiscus." Here's what I wrote about Stan in 2010:

Writes KTLA colleague Eric Spillman: "Stan still comes in just about every day, putting together feature stories on topics that interest him... Don't worry, though, Stan promises you'll still see him on the air from time to time."

My colleague Cynthia Littleton has the details over at Variety:

Chambers said that he felt his birthday marked a "good time" to sign off. He's looking forward to having plenty of freedom to travel, play golf and spend time with his large family -- which includes 11 kids and a large brood of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Grandson Jaime Chambers, a KTLA correspondent, is so far the only one to follow him into the media biz.

KTLA is planning a series of sendoffs for Chambers. A billboard across the street from the station today will salute Chambers on the occasion of his retirement. An hourlong special featuring highlights of Chambers' career will air Aug. 23, and a tribute event at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills is in the works.

As Spillman notes, it's extremely doubtful that anyone else in local TV anywhere has had the run that Stan has. Chambers, of course, is remembered for having put live, on-the-spot TV news coverage on the map thanks to his pioneering marathon coverage in 1949, when 3-year-old Kathy Fiscus fell into an abandoned water well in San Marino.

My Variety colleague Jon Weisman talked to Stan and the late Hal Fishman in 2007, on KTLA's 60th anniversary, about their career highlights. Here's what Stan had to say about the Fiscus story:

I was giving a speech down at the Biltmore Hotel, and while we were there we got a call from my mother saying, "They're trying to get ahold of you," and to go out to San Marino. So it was one of those things where luckily I was near a telephone, because of course we didn't have beepers or cell phones or things like that, and also I didn't drive -- I didn't have a car. So, the lady at the luncheon (asked) her husband, who agreed to take me out to San Marino.

There was this huge rescue operation going, with dozens of people, cameras were getting ready to go, and from the time we started until the time we finished, it was 27½ hours (though the rescuers) had been there like a day before. But the key was Klaus Landsberg, who was our station manager. He was a great engineer -- very creative. ... He had success (once before) taking all these big huge cameras and the big trucks and going out there and finding power and getting 'em all working.

But of course, no one had a television set -- there were just a few hundred.

I have a very vivid memory of maybe 2 o'clock in the morning, sitting in one of the trucks out there, just with (the) question: "Who in the world would be watching this?" ...

We thought there was no one listening, but in reality, the whole city was listening. Everybody knew somebody who had a television set. They were over there. They were sleeping on the floor.

More: Cynthia Littleton talks about her own personal memories of meeting Stan as a young, aspiring journo here.

MIKE ON RADIO: Discussing Jon Stewart's Exit on Kevin & Bean

How will we survive the next election cycle without Jon Stewart? I was on the Kevin & Bean Show last Wednesday to discuss Jon Stewart's surprise announcement that he was departing The Daily Show, and what might be next. Listen by clicking below!

Or if that doesn't work, click the icon below to download the podcast:


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

KCRW's THE SPIN-OFF: February 2015 Edition (Listen Now!)

It's the February edition of our monthly TV podcast on KCRW, The Spin-Off! This month, Joe and I are joined by Mashable's Sandra Gonzalez. Here's what we discuss:
The Spin-off crew has survived TCA, and they're back in their respective home cities watching lots of mid-season premieres of new and returning shows...thinking those shows will probably dominate the TV-related conversation...and then Brian Williams happened. Or, more correctly, Brian Williams didn't happen…to be shot down in Iraq.

We talk about Williams and his possible fate at NBC, and also take a moment to speculate about what the heck is happening to broadcast news in general.

Then we look at some of the shows doing especially well on network TV right now, Empire, Fresh Off the Boat and How to Get Away with Murder among them. The one thing they'll all got in common is that their casts all look a lot more like the real complexion of America -- a lot more than the prime-time shows of eras past. Is TV diversity finally paying off, and this time, is it here to stay?

And what happens when a new spin-off rises, like a Phoenix, from the ashes of a beloved retired show? As excited as we all are about Better Call Saul, will it turn out to be Frasier… or is it the next AfterMash or Joey? Does the party have to ever end, or is there a time when it's best to say goodbye?

Finally, we go around the horn for our Download segment and share the stories or shows that are top of mind this month.

Listen by clicking below!

Spin-Off KCRW

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

MIKE ON KCRW: Amy Pascal, Brian Williams, Grammys and More

Another busy week at KCRW. On this Monday's edition of The Business, Kim Masters and I bantered about several topics including:
- Amy Pascal steps down from her role at Sony.

- Disney has a new heir apparent.

- Brian Williams is in trouble over a "misremembered" experience aboard a helicopter in Iraq.

Listen by clicking below:

Or here:


On last Thursday's Hollywood Breakdown, Kim Masters and I talked all about Amy Pascal's exit from Sony:
Even though Amy Pascal's tenure as top dog at Sony is coming to an end, she'll still be at the studio, working in a new production venture that will include movies like the new all-female Ghostbusters. Pascal has been known as one of the most talent-friendly studio heads, an attribute that sometimes got her in trouble for being overindulgent in her spending. She was also known for her willingness to take on edgy movies like Zero Dark Thirty, but may have gone too far with The Interview. The Seth Rogen comedy about the assassination of Kim Jong-un is the film that led to the devastating hack attack on the studio last November. The question now is who will take Pascal's place. No one has been named yet, but candidates include former studio heads Jeff Robinov and Tom Rothman.

Listen below:


On Monday's Press Play with Madeleine Brand, NPR's Linda Holmes and I discussed the Grammys and more:
Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” won record and song of the year at last night’s Grammy Awards. The song’s title might also have been a meta-statement from the Grammys to viewers, who for the most part seemed unimpressed with last night’s ceremony. Ratings were down compared to last year, and the Twittersphere responded with a big, collective yawn. We talk about why the ceremony was so underwhelming, along with other small screen news, in our weekly TV roundup.

Listen below:


Saturday, February 07, 2015

Scenes from the Natural History Museum's First Fridays Opener

First Fridays

Science, music, booze. There's a lot to like about the Natural History Museum's First Fridays events, which returned on Feb. 6. It was the first First Friday for Maria and I, and we hope to make it to another one.

We got to the museum in time for the music, sponsored by KCRW: Tom Vek performed at 8, followed by Robert DeLong at 9:15. The performances took place in one of the North American mammal halls, which meant stuffed animals looking on as the crowds grooved to the music. In another hall, KCRW's Raul Campos and Guest DJ Mr. Pauer spun grooves. Outside, food trucks were available (although the lines were too long) and inside, beer, wine and cocktails were for sale. (Including a great deal on $4 microbrews.)

Unfortunately, we got there too late to experience the tours and discussions. NHM Citizen Science manager Lila Higgins gave a tour on "Finding LA's Hidden Wildlife One Photo at a Time," and later Sam Droege led the discussion "Taking Control of Your World - Citizen Science Activism."

Still, besides the music, Maria and I toured my favorite exhibit ("Becoming LA," of course!) and walked around some of the second-floor galleries. (No dinosaurs for us this time, we'll save that for the next time we hit the NHM with the boys).

The NHM has become my favorite LA museum, and the kids love it too. But for one First Friday evening, it was the perfect spot for date night.

Some pics:

First Fridays
Outside the NHM, which was sold out for First Fridays. Get your tickets early!

First Fridays
Crowd forms to get in to see Tom Vek and Robert DeLong.

First Fridays
Opener Tom Vek performs

First Fridays
If this were "Night at the Museum," this grizzly would be annoyed by the loud music.

First Fridays
This guy is at the "Becoming LA" exhibit.

First Fridays
DJ Mr. Pauer on the ones and twos.

First Fridays
Robert DeLong wraps up his set...

First Fridays
... and says hello to fans after the show. But there's a hard out: The NHM shuts down at 10 p.m. on First Fridays. Hey, they gotta clean the place up, the museum is back open on Saturday morning, after all!

Friday, February 06, 2015

First Listen: The New "Real 92.3" Takes On Power 106

Real 92.3

Los Angeles' hip-hop radio wars are back. Reminiscent of the old battle between Power 106 and 92.3 The Beat, the two frequencies are once again going face-to-face for listeners with very similar sounds. (Technically, Power is a rhythmic station, while Real is urban contemporary. But the differences are subtle). The new Real 92.3 came out swinging this morning, flipping from oldies Hot 92.3 at 9:23 a.m. and immediately taunting its much larger cross-town rival.

The real battle, however, might we waged in the courtroom, as Big Boy and Power 106 owner Emmis battle over the morning DJ's attempts to join Real for a lot more money.

Here's an early sample of the Real 92.3 playlist:
Try Me -- Dej Loaf
Let Me Know -- Tamar Braxton feat. Future
Pop That -- French Montana
Strip -- Chris Brown feat. Kevin McCall
Climax -- Usher
Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) -- Jay-Z
Not For Long (feat. Trey Songz) -- B.o.B
The Body (feat. Jeremih) -- Wale
0 To 100 / The Catch Up -- Drake
7/11 -- Beyoncé

As you might expect, Hot 92.3 and jammin' oldies fans were not happy with the switch:

Real 92.3

By the way, it's probably no surprise that iHeartMedia/Clear Channel designed the new Real 92.3 logo to look a bit like the old 92.3 The Beat logo we remember from the 1990s:

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