About The May Sweeps

We are in May. In TV it’s a sweeps month. Breathless over-the-top reporting dominates the promotion cycle as stations try for every possible eyeball.

That’s offense, trying the grow the audience. I have nothing against that.

Stations play defense too.

On nights they expect to do poorly (i.e. in past years opposite the American Idol finale) stations find ways to remove individual newscasts from the monthly average. Sounds sneaky and it is. Often the difference to the viewer is minimal. But if you subtract a bad day the rest of your average goes up.

If a station promotes a special 10-15 minute segment in its newscast, like a weather or sports special, they’ll claim it’s not really the newscast that normally runs at 11. It doesn’t count in the average. Problem solved.

The longer I was in Connecticut the more I saw it being done. It’s not limited to one or two stations. It’s business as usual.

This is like Volkswagen and emissions. The ratings are accurate on paper. In reality the refs have been played.

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