Annual survey: TV stations now airing about 5 hours of local news per weekday

The average TV station added 12 minutes of weekday news in the last year, says a Radio Television Digital News Association/Hofstra University survey.

Study author Bob Papper notes how close the average and median numbers are:

What that means is that it’s not simply a matter of a few stations bringing up the average; the typical TV station is running five hours of local news per weekday.

Seventy-one percent of news directors told Papper they were seeing audience growth in the morning.

Perhaps not coincidentally, morning is also the time of day when more newscasts are being added.

Overall, the newscast expansion winner was weekday mornings between 5 am – 9 am, with 28% of the stations that added news expanding in that time. That barely edged out 4:30 am at 20% … which wasn’t far ahead of late afternoon (4 pm – 5 pm) at 16%.

Part I of Papper’s survey, released last week, said TV stations were adding staff. In an interview with AP’s David Bauder, Papper said, “What it tells you is the local TV business, for the most part, sees local news as more and more of its future.”

Poynter’s Steve Myers wrote about the survey and noted that headcounts in print newsrooms are at their lowest point since 1978. “Still, the newspaper industry had 40,600 newsroom employees at the last count, many more than television stations,” he wrote.

Related: TV station newsrooms staffed up in 2011, as print newsrooms shrank

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  • Anonymous

    one local tv station i watch has 3 primary weekday newscasts: 5-5:30 p.m., 6-6:30 p.m. and 10-10:30 p.m. (CDT).  (i am not including early morning happy-talk “newscasts.”) appears to be a whole lot of local news, right? wrong. it is very, VERY repititious. so to survey only the amount of time local tv allocates to news is easy enough to do but greatly misleading. a researcher would have to go much deeper to produce any meaningful analysis of local tv news.