Spotlight on local news: many pros in the conn market.
Hartford-New Haven, Connecticut, has long enjoyed its location, about halfway between Boston and New York. Urban bookends offer more than metropolitan proximity. As the country emerges from the pandemic, the Connecticut market is seeing more and more people moving to major cities.
“We see a lot of people from New York coming,” said Rich Graziano, vice president and general manager of WTNH-WCTX. “People realize that with their work-life balance, they don’t have to go five days a week. There are mountains and trails, lakes and golf, and you can go to the ocean.
The market fell from #32 to #33 between 2020 and 2021.
Nexstar Media Group owns the ABC-MyNetworkTV, WTNH-WCTX pair. Gray Television acquired CBS affiliate WFSB late last year. NBCUniversal owns WVIT and Telemundo station WRDM. Tegna has WTIC-WCCT, a Fox-The CW duopoly. Entravision owns the Univision-aligned WUVN.
Comcast is the main cable operator in Hartford-New Haven.
Stations are returning to relative normal after a few years affected by COVID-19. WTNH restarted its CT-style lifestyle show, which had been shelved when an audience was not allowed in the studio. It restarts on April 22. Natasha Lubczenko is the anchor and Griffin Pierson is the lifestyle reporter.
In addition to new graphics, CT-style offers a new mix of content. “People’s taste and interest in the market is changing,” Graziano said.
WFSB launches newscast at 7 p.m. May 2, running in place of cancellation People (the TV show!). The WFSB had a 7 p.m. news amid the pandemic and is making it a regular thing in a few weeks. Stephanie Simoni anchor.
“Part of our goal, and a big part of Gray Television, is to do as much local as possible,” said Dana Neves, WFSB Regional Vice President and General Manager. She mentioned that the 7 p.m. news was a “big hit” when it aired last year.
Last summer, WVIT created a 7 p.m. newscast. He enjoyed offering the only local news in this niche, although that is changing soon. Diane Hannes, President and CEO, WVIT-WRDM, described a non-traditional newscast with deeper stories. “He found a local audience,” she said.
Humberto Hormaza was named president and general manager of WTIC-WCCT in March, following a stint as senior vice president and general manager at Entravision. He has not commented on this article.
Based out of Hartford, WFSB is a ratings powerhouse. In March, the station won the homes and viewers race 25-54 at 6-7am. WTNH was in the lead in the homes from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., while WFSB narrowly beat WTNH in the race 25-54. At 6 p.m., WTNH won a tight family race, with WFSB in first place in the demo.
Last I heard, WFSB did a 3.15 household rating and a 1.00 25-54 rating. WTNH scored 2.63/0.40, WVIT 2.32/0.95, and WTIC a housekeeping score of 1.18 at 11 p.m. and 0.57 at 25-54.
Neves cited “product consistency” as the key to WFSB’s success. “We have long-term trusted people in front and equally important behind the camera,” she said.
She also mentioned the market’s only live Doppler radar as “a huge plus.” Our job is to keep people safe. »
Chuck Carter became WTNH’s news director in late 2018, following a run as executive news producer at WTXF Philadelphia. Graziano said Nexstar stations offer the most local news in DMA No. 32, about 63.5 hours a week. This includes three hours of primetime news on WCTX, which began in 2020, with MyNetworkTV prime moving to 11:30 p.m.
Graziano mentioned a “nice group of experienced and seasoned anchors”, including Ann Nyberg and Dennis House. “We believe in longevity, trust and experience.”
Nyberg is the longest-serving full-time anchor/reporter in Connecticut television history, according to her biography. She hosts the news at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. and hosts the lifestyle show Nyberg also.
House co-presents the 6 p.m. newscast and hosts This Week in Connecticut with Dennis House.
Telemundo station WRDM is a partnership between NBC Connecticut and NBC’s Boston setup, which includes NBC and Telemundo television stations, NBC Sports Boston, and New England Channel News. There are 10 WRDM employees in Hartford, and the station broadcasts two hours of local news daily, at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
The news can spread. “I think we’re still thinking about it,” Hannes said. “Nothing is on the table.”
WVIT launched an OTT newscast called The connection in October 2021. “We are content creators, so we follow the audience,” Hannes said. “If the public wants to see local news on these platforms, we give it to them.”
Hartford-New Haven offers a mix of city and country, with historic sites, culture, and upscale dining in urban areas, and hiking and water recreation in the countryside. Graziano said New Haven has a New York feel, with art, history and upscale food, while Hartford is “the epitome of New England.”
“There are cities, small towns, the coast and the mountains,” Hannes said. “And you get in your car and you’re in New York or Boston in no time.”
Market proximity between major cities also means great pizza, including Sally’s Apizza in New Haven and Pepe’s franchises across the state. Graziano grew up in Boston and was the General Manager of WPIX New York. “Pizza is legit,” he said of the local cuisine. ■