May TV ratings: KXAN wins in most news time periods

KXAN's newscasts were No. 1 at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. in May.
KXAN’s newscasts were No. 1 at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. in May.

The ratings tug-of-war between Austin’s top two TV news stations ended with KXAN claiming victory over KVUE in most weekday time slots during the May “sweeps” period.

NBC affiliate KXAN placed first at 6 a.m., midday, 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., according to Nielsen, while ABC affiliate KVUE ranked No. 1 at 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.

The results appear to signal a fairly significant shift in local viewing habits. While KXAN has dominated at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for several years now, the 6 a.m., midday and 10 p.m. wins are relatively new for the station. Last May, KVUE was tops in all three of those time periods.

At 6 a.m., the race for first went down to the wire, with KXAN eking out a win on the final day of May sweeps – one of four months each year when ratings are used to set TV advertising rates.

Middays, ratings for KXAN were up more than 40 percent year over year, continuing a trend that dates back to fall. KVUE was down slightly compared to 2014.

And at 10 p.m., KXAN grew its audience by about 25 percent, allowing it to overtake KVUE, which was essentially flat. At least some of those new KXAN viewers appear to have come from third-place KEYE.

Also worth noting:

  • Among network news broadcasts, ABC’s “Good Morning America” is the top-rated morning show, while “NBC Nightly News” rules the 5:30 p.m. time slot.
  • The 9 p.m. newscast on CW affiliate KNVA managed to more than double its audience, although Fox-owned KTBC continues to lead that time slot.
  • Ratings for David Letterman’s final month on the air were up substantially, giving KEYE a nice late-night boost. “The Late Show” was No. 1 at 10:35 p.m., unseating “The Tonight Show” on KXAN.

May Nielsen ratings                                                  

Each ratings point equals 7,293 Central Texas households. The first number is ratings points, the second is share (the percentage of in-use TV sets tuned to a particular channel) and the third is total households.

4:30 a.m.

  • KVUE: .9 / 10.6 / 6,564
  • KTBC: .7 / 8.4 / 5,105
  • KXAN: .4 / 4.9 / 2,917
  • KEYE: .3 / 3.8 / 2,188

5 a.m.

  • KVUE: 1.6 / 13.9 / 11,669
  • KXAN: 1.4 / 12.8 / 10,210
  • KTBC: 1.1 / 9.4 / 8,022
  • KEYE: .5 / 4.8 / 3,647

6 a.m.

  • KXAN: 2.7 / 16.1 / 19,691
  • KVUE: 2.7 / 15.7 / 19,691
  • KTBC: 2.1 / 12.2 / 15,315
  • KEYE: .6 / 3.7 / 4,376

7 a.m.

  • KTBC: 2.1 / 10.2 / 15,315
  • KNVA: .2 / .8 / 1,459

8 a.m.

  • KTBC: 1.6 / 7.6 / 11,669

9 a.m.

  • KTBC: 1.2 / 5.7 / 8,752
  • KEYE: .8 / 3.8 / 5,834 (‘We Are Austin’)

11 a.m.

  • KVUE: 1.8 / 8 / 13,127


  • KXAN: 2 / 8.6 / 14,586
  • KTBC: .8 / 3.3 / 5,834

12:30 p.m.

  • KXAN: 1.1 / 4.5 / 8,022 (‘Studio 512’)

5 p.m.

  • KXAN: 5.2 / 13.9 / 37,924
  • KVUE: 3.2 / 8.5 / 23,338
  • KTBC: 1.8 / 4.7 / 13,127
  • KEYE: 1.5 / 4 / 10,940

6 p.m.

  • KXAN: 5.8 / 14 / 42,299
  • KVUE: 4 / 9.6 / 29,172
  • KEYE: 1.7 / 4.1 / 12,398

9 p.m.

  • KTBC: 2.6 / 5.3 / 18,962
  • KNVA: 1.3 / 2.8 / 9,481

10 p.m.

  • KXAN: 5.1 / 11.7 / 37,194
  • KVUE: 4.9 / 11 / 35,736
  • KEYE: 3.2 / 7.3 / 23,338
  • KTBC: 1.8 / 4.1 / 13,127

‘NBC Nightly News’ to originate from Wimberley tonight

Lester Holt (NBC photo)
Lester Holt (NBC photo)

The devastation in Hays County will be front and center tonight on “NBC Nightly News.”

The broadcast, anchored by Lester Holt, will originate from Wimberley, the network said this afternoon.

Many are still missing after weekend floods hit the area, destroying hundreds of homes.

Other parts of Texas, including Houston, experienced severe weather as well.

“NBC Nightly News” airs at 5:30 p.m. on KXAN.

Cable, Internet being restored in Hays County after flooding

Aftermath from the Blanco River flood in Wimberley (Jay Janner photo/American-Statesman)
Aftermath from the Blanco River flood in Wimberley (Jay Janner photo/American-Statesman)

Weekend storms that hit Hays County left many residents without cable TV, Internet and phone service.

Flooding impacted equipment used by Time Warner Cable and San Marcos-based Grande Communications, the companies said.

Monday, crews continued working to get things back to normal.

Grande, in particular, was hit hard. Two buildings at its San Marcos headquarters were flooded with about three feet of water, forcing customer care and technical support workers to relocate to facilities in Austin.

The company’s San Marcos retail location is temporarily closed.

“Every Grande executive has been standing at post since the moment of the flood,” Grande vice president Matt Rohre said. “The first priority has been the safety of employees, customers and the community in general, as well as the continuity of Grande services in all markets. Continued severe weather may slow some progress since the safety of employees and customers are a priority while we implement repairs.”

Rohre said about 99 percent of the company’s customers had already had their service restored by late Monday afternoon. The remaining outages are primarily commercial, he said, or related to a fiber cable across the Blanco River that must be replaced. That cable primarily serves the Buda area.

“Grande’s network remains in great shape,” Rohre said. “The flood waters at headquarters had little impact on the network itself. Rather some key equipment related to delivering services over the network received water damage. The vast majority of Grande customers continued to receive uninterrupted services throughout this event.”

Time Warner Cable said most of its outages in the San Marcos area were the result of a cable damaged by the weather. Crews had to wait for water to subside before the cable could be fixed.

“We appreciate our customers’ patience as we make these repairs as quickly and safely as possible,” spokeswoman Melissa Sorola said.

KXAN adding classic shows to digital subchannel

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 10.38.58 PMCozi, a broadcast network featuring “Murder, She Wrote,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and countless other classic TV shows, is on its way to Austin.

Look for it to debut on Channel 36.2, one of KXAN’s digital subchannels, on June 1, according to Media General, our local NBC affiliate’s Richmond, Va.-based owner.

Three other Media General stations — located in Albuquerque, N.M.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Tampa, Fla. — will also link up with Cozi next month.

“We look forward to working with Cozi TV through this new agreement and delivering their great programming to viewers in our markets,” Deb McDermott, Media General’s chief operating officer, said in a written statement.

The niche network, which was launched in late 2012, now has 79 affiliates serving 84 million homes in 74 percent of the country after linking up with Media General.

“We are so excited to extend our viewership to these four fantastic markets,” said Meredith McGinn, Cozi’s senior vice president. “We know the viewers are going to really enjoy our comfortable and familiar programming, with iconic shows like ‘Murder, She Wrote,’ ‘Miami Vice’ and ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ we invite them to cozy up on the couch while we reintroduce them to some of their all-time favorites.”

Fox-owned KTBC will also launch a new digital subchannel on June 1. Buzzr TV, which will air classic game shows, will pop up on Channel 7.3. It was announced earlier this year.

Ellen DeGeneres’ new dating show looking for Austin singles

Ellen DeGeneres (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Ellen DeGeneres (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

A new dating show executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres is scouring Austin and other Texas cities in search of sexy singles.

The show, “First Dates,” has been picked up by NBC. A premiere date hasn’t been announced just yet.

If you’re single and ready to mingle, head to to answer a few questions.

The fine print: Contestants must be legal U.S. citizens and can’t have any felony convictions, among other restrictions. Candidates running for office won’t be considered, either.

Producers will review the responses they receive and determine who appears on the first season of “First Dates,” which will feature eight episodes. If it does well in the Nielsen ratings – and with DeGeneres involved that’s pretty much a given – expect it to be back for a second season.

Good luck, guys and gals.


Austin once again has an all-comedy radio station

comedyAfter a two-year absence, round-the-clock comedy radio is back on Austin’s airwaves.

The format, which was dropped from the 102.7 FM frequency in May 2013, has resurfaced on 1260 AM.

Tune in to hear snippets of standup acts from some of the best-known comedians in the business.

The locally based Austin Radio Network owns 1260 AM, which had been home to The Word, a station that played gospel music, for the past year. Before that, it aired sports programming.

Austin Radio Network also operates Classic 105.3, 104.9 The Horn and 98.5/99.3 KOKE-FM.

Programming for the new comedy station comes from the same nationally syndicated feed that was used by 102.7 FM.

Executives with Emmis, the company that owns 102.7 FM, said back in 2013 that they pulled the plug on the comedy format because, even though the station did fairly well in the ratings, it wasn’t bringing in as much revenue as they had hoped.

Austin-based radio show aims to unite parents, children

Bill Childs and his children, Liam and Ella, host 'Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child.'
Bill Childs and his children, Liam and Ella, host ‘Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child.’

When it comes to music, there’s not much parents and their children can agree on.

A nationally syndicated radio show based in Austin aims to change that.

“Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child,” which has been around for about a decade, has joined the lineup on 98.9 KUTX-FM starting this month, airing at 6 p.m. Sundays. Previously, it had been without an affiliate in Austin — its home for the past three years.

“The goal is to be something that families can enjoy together,” said Bill Childs, who co-hosts with his two children, Ella and Liam. “I don’t want people to walk away with the impression it’s only for kids. I want it to be something everyone’s going to dig.”

Music is carefully selected, Childs said, with many of the songs played each week coming from artists who primarily target kids, such as the Boogers. But you’ll hear some (family-friendly) songs geared more towards adults, as well. Carrie Rodriguez, for instance, is set to be a guest May 17.

The show got its start in Northampton, Mass., Childs said.

“I got a brochure from a low-power station that was starting up and looking for volunteer programmers,” he said. “Then, after a couple years, another local station called and said, ‘Would you like to do this on a bigger transmitter and get a little money?’ ”

The answer, of course, was yes.

When Childs and his family moved to Austin, the show entered syndication, with Childs working from a studio inside his Hyde Park home. “Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child” can be heard on a growing number of stations coast to coast, including some in Cincinnati, Ohio; Charlottesville, Va.; and St. Paul, Minn.

Now, Austin joins the list.

“Ever since KUTX came on the air, I’ve been gently nudging them,” Childs said. “That’s the Austin station that, to me, always felt like the best fit.”

Operated by the University of Texas, KUTX debuted about 2½ years ago , placing a priority on music with Austin — or Texas — roots. It’s a sister station to news-focused 90.5 KUT-FM.

“A lot of us at KUTX are parents and we believe it’s never too early to shape your kids’ musical taste,” said Matt Reilly, the station’s program director. “Like us, a significant number of our listeners are parents who want to share their love of music with their young kids. From the Ramones to Carrie Rodriguez to They Might Be Giants, ‘Spare the Rock’ sounds a lot like KUTX and we’re really excited to share this program.”

By aligning with KUTX, Childs said he expects to be able to expand the show’s reach and line up more visits from performers.

“I’m super excited to be on the air here,” Childs said.

‘Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child’

6 p.m. Sundays

98.9 KUTX-FM

Radio host’s mobile app gets $2 million in funding

JB Hager
JB Hager

Hosting the morning show on Classic 105.3 isn’t JB Hager’s only gig these days.

Hager, who has been helping Central Texans wake up for the past 19 years, was part of the team that developed Ferris, a video-sharing app.

He also helped get On-Airstreaming, a mobile recording studio, off the ground. The studio, which is housed in an Airstream trailer, searches out up-and-coming musicians, giving them exposure through a content partnership with Yahoo.

Ferris, created about two years ago right here in Austin and initially backed by a team of angel investors, recently lined up $2 million in funding from Los Angeles-based Upfront Ventures.

“All my friends became the initial angels and advisers who pushed us into really going for it,” Hager said. “I don’t know if we would have gotten our legs without them.”

Hager and pals came up with the idea for Ferris, which the radio host proudly points out currently has a perfect five-star rating in Apple’s iTunes store, after noticing just how many people are shooting video at concerts and other events these days.

“We found ourselves saying, ‘I wish there was a way to pull video content from all these people’s phones,’ ” Hager said. “We knew there had to be a way to make this seamless.”

As work continues to make Ferris bigger and better, much of the development has shifted to California. Hager said he had a chance to tag along, but he wasn’t about to uproot his family and leave his radio gig behind.

“I took a backseat,” he said. “I didn’t want to leave Austin and walk away from this.”

Hager just marked his one-year anniversary at the Austin Radio Network, the locally based owner of Classic 105.3. Before that, he was with Mix 94.7.

When Hager joined the Austin Radio Network team, he helped launch alternative-leaning the Fringe, a station that was replaced by Classic 105.3 in March. While the decision to change to a music playlist featuring hits from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s was unpopular with some, Hager said it’s proving to be a wise move.

“It’s filling a hole for a lot of people,” he said. “There’s a nostalgic feeling that really takes you back.”

Longtime co-host Sandy McIlree opted to depart when the station’s format flipped, and Hager admits it’s been an adjustment.

“I’m not going to lie,” he said. “I had Sandy to play off for two decades.”

Still, Hager said, listeners have been supportive, which has helped make the transition easier – and also reinforced his decision to stay right here in Austin.

“People say they really like the show,” he said. “They’re definitely sticking around. That means a lot.”