Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Greensboro publisher takes over Creative Loafing

For the second time in three years, Charlotte’s most prominent alternative weekly has been sold.

Creative Loafing, launched in 1987 and aimed at a young adult audience, was acquired from SouthComm Inc. by Womack Newspapers, which owns Greensboro’s alternative weekly, Yes! Weekly, and other weekly newspapers in North Carolina.

Terms of the sale, which is expected to close this week, were not disclosed. Charles Womack, who launched Yes! Weekly in 2005, said Tuesday he plans to take over as publisher of Creative Loafing on Sept. 1. 

“An apartment there is included in the deal,” said Womack, 49. “I bought my Panther PSLs about six months ago.”

Creative Loading distributes about 47,000 papers weekly. Womack’s Greensboro weekly, Yes!, distributes about 43,000 in the Triad.

Chris Sexson, who joined Creative Loafing as publisher about six months ago, will remain with SouthComm Inc., which will continue to own Creative Loafing papers in Atlanta and Tampa. 

Womack said he plans no other changes in the staff, led by editor Kimberly Lawson and sales manager Amy Mularski.  “My philosophy is to hire good people and get out of the way,” said Womack, whose father published a chain of community newspapers based in Virginia.

Womack operates Womack Newspapers Inc. that publishes Yes!, the Jamestown News, and the Outer Banks Sentinel in Nags Head and is a subsidiary of Womack Publishing Co. of Danville, Va.

Womack said he has long been interested in acquiring Creative Loafing because of its size and because of Charlotte’s growing music and entertainment scene.

SouthComm, based in Nashville, Tenn., bought Creative Loafing in October 2011 and added it to its portfolio of alternative weeklies that included Nashville Scene, The Pitch of Kansas City and LEO Weekly of Louisville, Ky.

SouthComm also launched a Charlotte society magazine NFocus, which folded last summer after 13 issues. SouthComm bought Creative Loafing from the private equity company Atalaya Capital Management LP, which took over when the paper’s parent company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

WSOC morning anchor heading to L.A.

Peter Daut, morning co-anchor on "Channel 9 Eyewitness News Daybreak," will be leaving WSOC in September to return to his native California. Daut will join the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles in an anchor role.

Peter Daut
Daut, who grew up in Orange County, Calif., graduated from the University of Southern California and still has family on the West Coast.

He started at WSOC in 2012 on the morning show beside co-anchor Allison Latos. In addition to his anchoring role, Daut has been active in reporting enterprise stories at WSOC.


"It has always been my dream to cover the news in my hometown, and I look forward to returning to Los Angeles," Daut said Tuesday. "I'm grateful to Charlotte, WSOC and news director Julie Szulczewski for a fantastic few years."

Friday, August 8, 2014

WSOC adds to its sports department

WSOC (Channel 9) said Friday that Lawrence Gilligan would be joining its sports team. He arrives just before the busy high school sports season begins.

Lawrence Gilligan

Gilligan's appointment, effective Sept. 2, represents the first expansion of the Channel 9 sports department in three years. Phil Orban has been the department's sole anchor since arriving this spring. He replaced Tiffany Wright, who handled the sports beat alone after the departure of Bill Voth in 2011. 

Gilligan, a graduate of the University of New Mexico, has spent the last four years at the CBS affiliate in Albuquerque, N.M.  

"He excels in covering local sports and will help us dominate coverage with the professional teams," Julie Szulczewski, WSOC news director, said in a statement. 

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At 10 p.m., WAXN continues to dominate

Charlotte newscasts
Estimated number of viewers reached by key weekday newscasts during the July sweeps and percentage change from last July as measured by Nielsen.
6 A.M.
WSOC 71,700 +13%
WBTV 41,700 +10%
WCNC 17,700 -16%
WCCB 8,000 +16%
MIDDAY
WBTV 71,600 -4%
WSOC 59,500 +3%
WCNC 14,300 +73%
6 P.M.
WSOC 119,900 +7%
WBTV 79,900 +10%
WCNC 37,400 -2%
WJZY 1,700 -68%*
NETWORK NEWSCASTS
ABC 115,000 +6%
CBS 80,600 +9%
NBC 68,600 +21%
10 P.M.
WAXN 49,900 +22%
WCCB 30,300 +40%
WJZY 10,900 -52%
11 P.M.
WSOC 70,800 +1%
WBTV 69,500 -3%
WCNC 26,700 -5%
*In July 2013, WJZY aired reruns of “Rules of Engagement” in this time period. It launched a newscast June 30, 2014.
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WASHBURN’S ANALYSIS: July sweeps are the least important of the year because networks are on reruns or summer programming and viewers are on vacation or otherwise taking advantage of the summer. But this year in Charlotte they are important for what they show at 10 p.m. in news viewing. We have the first full year of CW network programming on WCCB (Channel 18) and Fox programming on WJZY (Channel 46) after the affiliation swap last July and can examine news viewing exclusive of the change in lead-in shows. Overall, there is a 7% increase in the number of news viewers at 10 p.m. and again WAXN (Channel 64) far outpaces its rivals. But WCCB, which has lost about a third of its news audience after the affiliation switch, shows a 40% surge over last year, while the Fox-owned station, WJZY, lost half its news viewers over last year in the time slot, when it aired a newscast supplied by WBTV (Channel 3). In January, WJZY began producing its own 10 p.m. newscast, an experimental show that challenged the traditional news structure. So far it hasn’t found traction in the ratings. A key to judging its effectiveness will come after January 2015 when year-to-year results on the Fox newscast are available. In the advertiser-preferred age demographic of 25-54, WAXN dominates, followed by WCCB, then WJZY. At 10 p.m., WCCB doubles its audience from the CW prime-time lead-in for its newscast; WJZY loses two-thirds of its audience from the Fox prime-time. WAXN’s audience increases its audience by nearly three-fourths at 10 p.m.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

On radio, it's the summer of "Lake"


While country stations often top the charts in Charlotte, it is rare to see a lineup like the overall August rankings released this week in which WKKT-FM and WSOC-FM come out so far ahead of the city’s two urban powerhouses, WPEG-FM and WBAV-FM.

Though the country stations have been near the top of the rankings and both have showed growth since the beginning of summer (WKKT-FM surged 37% and WSOC-FM was up 13%), urban music still dominated overall. By market share, the country stations had about 16% of the audience while urbans claimed about 19%. Christian and gospel formats attracted about 9%.

Charlotte’s news stations lost listeners during the summer, as is common in the slower news cycle. WBT-AM is off 22% and WFAE-FM is down 19% since summer began. They tend to rebound in the fall each year, though WBT’s summer sag is bigger than normal. Radio One’s WOSF-FM and WPZS-FM land in the top 10 once again, continuing their strong showings since their parent company began providing them more resources. 

But it is Clear Channel’s WLKO-FM that is the big story on the dial since its format change last summer from adult contemporary (it used to be called “Lite”) to a “we play anything” rotation. It is No. 4 in town now and up 52% in share since the beginning of the summer.

WLKO is the most successful launch of a Charlotte station in a quarter century – since the 1988 debut of WCKZ-FM, which was nicknamed “Kiss 102” (Yes, it was the city’s original “Kiss”). It had an edgy blend of urban contemporary and top 40 that shot it near the top of the rankings. 

Old-timers will remember the morning team of Chuck “Boo” Baron and Mike Beach. Before that, you have to go back to the 1960s when “Big Ways” burst on the scene, which remains the most successful start-up station in Charlotte history since WBT-AM took to the airwaves in the 1920s.


Radio Rankings
Here are the latest rankings of leading Charlotte-area radio stations by share of audience from Nielsen. Some stations, like WXRC-FM (“The Ride” 95.7) and WGIV-FM (103.3), do not subscribe to Nielsen and are not ranked.
1. WKKT-FM  Country, “Kat” 96.9 8.1%
2. WRFX-FM Rock, “Fox” 99.7 7.8%
3. WSOC-FM Country, 103.7 7.7%
4. WLKO-FM Hits, “Lake” 102.9 7.3%
5. WPEG-FM Urban, “Power 98” 97.9 7.2%
6. WOSF-FM Urban oldies, “Old school” 105.1 5.9%
7. WBAV-FM Urban contemporary, “V” 101.9 5.7%
8. WKQC-FM Contemporary, “K” 104.7 5.4%
9. WPZS-FM Gospel, “Praise” 100.9 5.1%
10. WNKS-FM Pop, “Kiss” 95.1 4.0%
11. WLNK-FM Contemporary, “Link” 107.9 3.9%
12. WHQC-FM Pop, “Channel” 96.1 3.8%
13. WRCM-FM Christian, “New Life” 91.9 2.8%
14. WBT-AM News/Talk, 1110  2.4%
15. WEND-FM Rock, “End” 106.5  2.2%
15. WFAE-FM NPR, 90.7  2.2%
17. WFNZ-AM Sports talk, “Fan” 610 1.0%
18. WDAV-FM Classical, 89.9 0.8%
19. WMIT-FM Christian, “Light” 106.9 0.7%
20. WBCN-AM Sports talk, 1660 0.3%
Source: Nielsen

Monday, August 4, 2014

Woman smacks cameras while leaving courthouse

A relative leaving the arraignment of Sharman Odom lashed out at  two photographers and a reporter on Monday.

Steve Ohnesorge with a cut to his cheekbone. (WBTV)
Darlene Odom, mother of the man accused in the strangulation murder of high school counselor Maggie Daniels, was leaving the Catawba County Courthouse in Newton when WSOC (Channel 9) reporter Sarah Rosario pointed a microphone at her and asked, "Do you have anything to say about the charges?"

She batted Rosario's microphone away, saying "Get out of my face!" She took about eight more paces, then turned and smacked the lens of a Channel 9 camera being operated by photographer Andrew Perdue. Then she charged forward and smacked the camera being held by WBTV's (Channel 3) Steve Ohnesorge.

Perdue wasn't hurt, said WSOC news director Julie Szulczewski, but Ohnesorge, who was adjusting the color balance on his camera when it was hit, suffered a cut to his eye socket.

Ohnesorge has been on five tours of combat zones during his 38-year career at WBTV. "And never a scratch," he said Monday.

He has, however, been run down on the sidelines of high school football games, sustaining injuries more serious than Monday's, he said. Once, a player ran over him while he was shooting and the viewfinder cut him down to the cheek bone. 

"I feel for the mom, and that she felt she had to lash out at me," Ohnesorge said. "She was upset."

Darlene Odom was charged afterward with misdemeanor assault and given a Sept. 10 court date.

Ohnesorge was the second WBTV photographer injured this summer. In June, a young man crept up behind Devin Futrelle as he was raising the mast on a Channel 3 van near Druid Circle in Charlotte and smacked him in the neck, giving him what appeared to be a mild concussion. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Antenna TV moves to WCCB's digital channel

Antenna TV, an oldies channel that was dropped from one of WJZY's (Channel 46) auxiliary digital channels this month, will move to WCCB's (Channel 18) digital lineup on Aug. 15.

Carrying repeats of classic series like "The Flying Nun," "Three's Company," and "Diff'rent Strokes," Antenna TV will be carried on over-the-air channel 18.2, replacing a shopping channel, says Jim White, WCCB's general manager.

WCCB will continue to carry another oldies channel, MeTV, on channel 18.3, White says.