April 3, 2009
WWL-TV WINS MARCH SWEEPS , IRE & PEABODY AWARDS
During the March ratings period, WWL-TV, Channel 4 has again won the sign-on to sign-off battle according to Nielsen Media Research. This continues a winning streak that has lasted over 30 years and 135 sweeps. The station was also recently honored with two national awards the IRE medal and broadcasting's highest honor, a George Foster Peabody Award.
Channel 4 Executive News Director Chris Slaughter said: "We feel very passionate about what we do as both journalists and citizens of our community. It is the day-in and day-out stories that keep viewers faithful to WWL. On those days when our stories help move the recovery along, we feel an extra sense of satisfaction."
WWL-TV received both the IRE medal and Peabody Award for its series of investigative reports on the questionable practices of the city agency, New Orleans Affordable Homeownership (NOAH). WWL reporter Lee Zurik's more than 50 stories uncovered corruption in the city-run nonprofit that was responsible for administering repairs of homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Eyewitness News continued its award-winning "4 Investigates" reports throughout the March sweeps. WWL-TV dug for facts involving a Gentilly landfill and exposed environmental and economic concerns. Channel 4 journalists uncovered millions of dollars - money that was supposed to help with housing and rebuilding playgrounds going unspent; the reports prompted U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu to ask for more accountability from City Hall.
Other features revealed roadblocks to business development in New Orleans, possible contractor fraud, online drug trafficking, and a lack of progress in building safe houses at critical flood pumping stations.
Another notable story actually involved WWL-TV. During March, a civil court judge ruled in favor of the station in its lawsuit against Mayor Ray Nagin and other city administrators. Accused of failing to release public documents in a timely fashion, the judge called the officials' actions a "flagrant violation of the law". In addition, the judge found Nagin personally liable for attorney's fees, damages and financial penalties.
"Taking Mayor Nagin and his administration to court was not an easy decision. We discussed it long and hard before filing the suit. Ultimately, we felt it was extremely important to all citizens to try and have true transparency in government. It is what journalists are supposed to do," said Slaughter.
During the ratings period, Channel 4's "Early Edition" with anchor Rob Nelson, earned a 6.6 rating; this 5AM program ranked higher than any of the other New Orleans stations' 5PM newscasts. Channel 4's "Eyewitness Morning News" from 7-8AM, co-anchored by veterans Sally-Ann Roberts and Eric Paulsen, earned a 10.7 rating. Paulsen also commanded mid-day, with a 15.6 rating, over one-third of the audience in WWL-TV's DMA.
Co-anchors Angela Hill and Dennis Woltering's "Eyewitness News at Five" achieved a 13.5 rating, earning a 24% share of all households. Their audience was larger than the audience of all of the market's other 5PM newscasts - combined. Hill and Woltering also lead at 6PM, where Channel 4 earned a 13.8 rating. At 10PM, anchors Mike Hoss and Lucy Bustamante won the market's late news crown with a 15.1 rating for "Eyewitness News Nightwatch", an increase over the previous year's rating periods.
With exclusive award-wining investigative reports and a dedication to covering events in more detail each day, WWL-TV continues to earn the title of "Louisiana's News Leader".
Source: Nielsen New Orleans overnights, rolling averages (March 5, 2009 to April 1, 2009)
About Belo Corp.
WWL-TV is part of Belo Corp. (BLC), one of the nation's largest pure-play, publicly-traded television companies, with 2008 annual revenue of $733 million. The Company owns and operates 20 television stations (nine in the top 25 markets) and their associated Web sites. Belo stations, which include affiliations with ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW and MyNetwork TV, reach more than 14 percent of U.S. television households in 15 highly-attractive markets. Nearly all Belo stations rank first or second in their local market. Additional information is available at www.belo.com or by contacting Paul Fry, vice president/Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, at 214-977-6835.