KELO Thumps KSFY, KDLT in News Ratings

KELO-TV posts the Nielsen ratings for local news programs in February 2015 to show its dominance of KSFY and KDLT:

News Program Households Reached
1. KELOLAND News at 10 (M-F) 48,300
2. KELOLAND News at 6 (M-F) 48,000
3. KELOLAND News at 10 (Sunday) 39,400
4. KELOLAND News at 10 (Saturday) 35,200
5. KELOLAND News at 5 (M-F) 35,100
6. Midday in KELOLAND (M-F) 31,500
7. KELOLAND News at 6 (Saturday) 24,800
8. KSFY 6 pm news 22,400
9. Inside KELOLAND 21,500
10. KELOLAND This Morning (Sunday) 19,400

Given that there are about 323,000 households in South Dakota, you candidates buying airtime on the Big News at Ten are reaching only 15% of South Dakota households. Expand your buy to include KSFY and mostly ignored KDLT, and you reach just about a quarter of South Dakota.*

KELO says it has led the news market since it began broadcasting in 1953. I’m curious: what goes into 62 years of market dominance (hint: it’s not synergy with network success, since CBS News has been trailing NBC’s and ABC’s evening products for several years). And recognizing that nothing is permanent, what would it take for an enterprising news manager to draw more eyeballs to a different TV news channel?

*Update 2015.04.03 18:14 CDT: The KELO newsroom sends me a clarification on these ratings. The numbers above look only at the Sioux Falls Designated Market Area rating numbers. They do not include Rapid City. The 10 p.m. news reaches 18% of Sioux Falls-area households and 43% of the households in that area watching television.

28 Responses to KELO Thumps KSFY, KDLT in News Ratings

  1. Could it have anything to do with the fact that KELO is broadcast in both Sioux Falls and Rapid City? KDLT and KSFY are pretty much limited to eastern SD but KELO covers most of the state.

  2. Scratch that. I just read the source link and realized they were only discussing news stations in the Sioux Falls DMA.

  3. What would it take? Lots of dollars, probably – and long-term commitment. KELO is the only station in SD that makes even a token attempt at covering news statewide. Add to that weather coverage. Our local W River folks usually do quite well with that. But a few years ago when a severe thunderstorm hit the Hills area with large, damaging hail, winds, and flooding, it was KELO that stayed on the air and tracked the storm with detailed real-time maps showing its path. The local stations were showing syndicated re-runs of Wheel of Fortune and the like.

  4. Bill Dithmer

    It would be interesting to know how digital technology has changed market shares for the stations in SD. From 53, when we got our first tv, until about 20 years ago, we still used our antenna to get local stations. The year that everyone was forced to go digital all that changed. Even installing digital equipment, we couldnt get any stations.

    Fortunately, we’ve had some kind of dish since 78 but for a big segment of the population in the middle of the state,it was like going back in time. It was PBS or nothing because they didnt have to play by the same rules as commercial stations, at first. From the Wy border to points east, a long damn ways east, it was AM radio or nothing you could count on if you lived in the country and didnt have a dish.

    At the same time the craze for the net started and a lot of that news content could be found there. More cell towers 2g 3g and now 4g service in the damn car in most places had to take some shares.

    Its funny in a way. Golden West raised rates for everyone so they could put cable service in all the little towns around us but couldnt get dsl service to us until four years ago. And that was on copper wire. They will finally see fiber optics this year but there doesnt seem to be any plans to bring cable to the country.

    The same thing is happening here in Mo. But the difference here is that we will be able to get rid of Dish. We will bundle unlimited high speed net, phone, and the same package of programming we now get from Dish for less then our Dish package is now.

    Once when I was arguing with a Dish rep about a pay per view program from NY I asked him why we couldnt get that program. He didnt say anything for a while and then kind of quiet like he says, “it looks like your in a geographically illiterate part of the country.” No truer words were never spoken.

    The Blindman

  5. From what I hear, low wages at the other stations kill talent and the good reporters move on to greener pastures.

    The low wages come at a big price though as KSFY and KDLT lose market share…penny wise and pound foolish. But hey, that’s the South Dakota way.

  6. Kelo is statewide, there isn’t a separate CBS West River affiliate like there is for KDLT and KSFY west river.

    Now at the same time, Kelo does a much better job at the news, at graffics and everything else.

  7. Blindman,

    I do really enjoy the jingle and commercials that Golden West have being posted on youtube.

  8. Sorry everyone but my interpretation of Keloland is nothing but a constant infomercial disguised as news. It’s always about Sanford, Avera, The Denny Sanford Center and/or Lawrence & Schiller plus the lack of real hard hitting investigave journalism and poor moderation performance in the past debates.

    KDLT and KSFY provide more diversified news coverage at least in my opinion but that industry has been so hard hit along with the newspaper industry. Many of these stations are just stepping stones for kids out of school getting experience with low pay and high student loan debt.

  9. Jana is partially correct. KDLT is know as a ‘training’ station. A place for new reporters to cut their teeth. Their equipment was only recently updated for HD. they are slow to invest.

    KELO also invested early in Capt. 11 While this has nothing to do with news it does translate in to viewers. They have also decided to champion Children’s Miracle Network and Sanford.

    They are also heavily invested in Weather Reporting. I should point out that in smaller markets the weather folks are the highest paid.

  10. Joe, I’d be curious to see how KELO stacks up in the RC market. Is statewide better for quality of news?

  11. Cory, KELO has Kevin Woster working the Rapid City area. He is one of the very best. I’m sure how well he fairs over the other stations

  12. Joan Brown

    I haven’t watched the KELO news for years because I can’t stand the current long time employees. I think it really hurt them when Steve Hemmingson and Doug Lund retired. I watch KSFY most of the time and sometimes KDLT. I watch the NBC news because I like their people better. As far as long time employees go, Phil Schreck has been at KSFY for more than 20 years. Nancy Naeve has been there for more than 20 years and will be leaving in May because she has a significant other in the area of her home town. The last I heard she didn’t have a replacement job yet. When the weather is bad, nobody in their right mind should need constant coverage. If there is a change in what is happening interrupt the program that is on, but to make two to four hour program out of the weather is ridiculous. What did people do before there was all this coverage. I’m old enough to figure that we used common sense.

  13. Captain 11. Now there was a man.

  14. Mr. H, here when the news is on it is usually insisted that it be KEVN.

  15. Virtually all of these stations still think they are swimming with the current and by the time they realize what’s happening it will be too late.

    “Traditional” media is dying at an increasing rate, being replaced by the Smartphone. Of course, they all have an Internet presence, but not one of them have figured out how to really engage people.

    The Internet is literally the democratization of information today and people flock there. The numbers are staggering. So here’s my question:

    Who cares? The new way works better for almost everyone because there is no time or space limit on the Internet. The Traditionals still live under that premise and they will go down clinging to it.

    Long live Context!

  16. Cling to the old premise of very little time or space.

  17. Douglas Wiken

    KELO seems to get news readers with pleasant voices and faces even if not ravishingly beautiful or handsome. KELO does so load news with ads and ads for their own news that it becomes tiresome to watch at times. Their weather news for SC SDak is not real great. It can be snowing or raining here and they are oblivious to it. If they predict weather that never occurs, they fail to report the weather that does occur.

    In any case, KELO seems to provide significantly better SD news coverage than the other channels. It may be the other channels provide more Minn and Iowa news however. Rapid City stations ignore weather in Winner, SD even though a lot of people from here move to Rapid or shop in Rapid. They seem to do a lot of weather for Wyoming and Nebraska however.

    It may just be my getting older that influences my perspective on news coverage, but it seems that many in the news business now don’t have any long-term experience necessary to put current news into a relevant context.

  18. Dithmer, I grieve the schill NPR these days, clearly republican managed, full of commercials and right wing programming. Kye Rysdell, Market Place for example. BBC for me.

    Wooster too seems to be a republican schill though I am no expert, I rarely hear him but brown-nosing our three stooges as he seems to do is pretty irritating and unprofessional , imo.

  19. KABY (KSFY in Aberdeen) isn’t even broadcasting over the air at this time. Their tower failed an inspection and they had to take it down in January. People in the NE part of the state can only get the 2 KELO channels and 3 PBS channels. According to their last statement, KSFY isn’t even promising that they will put another tower up. You will need a satellite dish or cable to get their programming along with KDLT.–Please-click-here-288085461.html

  20. Deb Geelsdottir

    Here is something really odd about MN weather broadcasters. They make them stand outside! All the time! In any weather! Every station has an outdoor area the meteorologist stands in to give the forecast. In pouring rain they’re standing there under a giant umbrella. In a -20° blizzard they’re out there in a coat, hat, scarf, etc. It’s the craziest thing. I’ve never seen that anywhere else.

    Maybe the SD also-ran stations ought to put their weather people outside. They could put the business reporter on a construction site. Get creative, do crazy things. What have they got to lose?

  21. mike from iowa

    Ms Deb-for legal/liability reasons it would seem unlikely a business reporter would be allowed on site in construction zones,unless a law enforcement investigation was under way. I may be wrong. It seems sensible to alleviate insurance risks and keep busybodies away.

  22. KELO at one time even sponsored a plot of farm land to show their support for farmers. From time to time the weather folks would do the weather from it.

    However I have seen weather people do amazing stupid things. Like Stand on the side of the road as they are plowing, stand on the beach as the waves are coming in, report from a turkey farm wearing heels, it goes down hill from there.

  23. Wade Brandis

    Lately, I haven’t been watching local news that much, but when I do I always put it on KDLT. I like how more dialed down the overall presentation is. The stories featured are more or less the same as the other two IMO, but even so they seem to cover smaller stories that the others initially ignore. I think KDLT was the first TV station in the area to mention the “Save Spook Road” campaign on a newscast. The other two picked it up a day later. I also find it interesting how KDLT advertises their news shows and mobile apps at Casey’s General Stores, even here in Winner despite having no over-the-air access to KDLT.

    One station that could have news, but doesn’t, is KTTW Fox 7, but that station just feels…. cheap to put it lightly. They aren’t in full HD yet. KEVN “Black Hills Fox” in Rapid City actually has news… at 9pm too!

    In terms of national news on TV, it’s Al Jazeera America, a sadly underrated cable news network that is nowhere near as sensationalized as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc. While CNN was harping on and on about MH370 last year, AJAM continued to report world events and domestic issues as a news channel should do. I was going to get Golden West Cable TV once I move to town, but it appears they dropped the channel from their lineup recently.

  24. Douglas Wiken

    I think reporters standing outdoors with a camera on them serve no good purpose. It is phony and silly. It makes no difference if network or local. It is a waste of time and attention.

  25. Interesting, Wade: Maybe if Al-Jazeera America has its business model in order, it should create a local news office in each state.

  26. KELO sends an update on the numbers that I have included above: The numbers above look only at the Sioux Falls Designated Market Area rating numbers. They do not include Rapid City. The 10 p.m. news reaches 18% of Sioux Falls-area households and 43% of the households in that area watching television.

  27. Wade Brandis

    I don’t really mind on-location reporting if it is done well, respectful of others privacy, and not intended to boost ratings. I have seen a couple nicely done location reports on Al Jazeera America during domestic coverage and they didn’t really feel phony to me. It’s the same with KDLT, in my view.

  28. Deb Geelsdottir

    Just to clarify, the Minneapolis meteorologists stand outside to do each regular newscasts while the anchors are right inside at their cozy desks.

    While there is no real value in having a reporter stand in front of a store that was robbed 6 hours earlier, watching 2 immobile people sitting behind a desk gets more boring.