The Summer HUT Heat

Summer is here and it’s time to get outside and enjoy the good weather. Our viewers will be doing the same thing. HUT levels go down during warm weather. Couple that with repeats of network shows and you’ve got very low viewership for your newscasts.
News departments can try some things in the summer that they never would in the cold weather months, when more people are watching.
I remember when I was growing up, I watched Irv Weinstein and Don Postles deliver the news. It’s very rare to see two male anchors anymore. It is also rare to see two females anchoring as well. Although I would bet that there are more female anchor teams then there are male anchor teams.
Years ago, some consultant came up with the idea that there must be a male and a female anchoring the news. I am not sure why...but that’s the way it is in 99% of the newsrooms today.
I think this summer stations should put an all-female team on the air and see how they do. They could also try an all-male team and see what happens.
Don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit—summer is the best time to bring in a new anchor and get them on the air. While the main anchors take off for vacation, why not let a reporter with some anchoring experience sit in the chair for a night? You never know, they could be the next great anchor.
How about letting the photogs do more nat-sound stories? I’m not talking about a photo essay of kids at the pool. Send them to a city council meeting and let them create something.
Send your weather guy all over the market to do weather from different places. If the people aren’t watching the news, go to where the people are and let them at least see you doing the news.
Tell the sports people to quit doing just major league baseball scores and send them out to cover the scores of local golf tournaments going on in your area.
Many of your viewers play golf, yet the sports people ignore it unless there’s a major or Tiger Woods is playing.
You may not have many viewers in the summer, but you can gain viewers for the fall.
TV news is losing viewers at an alarming rate; now is the time to try some different things and see if you can change that.
It’s time for people to stop doing cookie cutter news and—dare I say it?—think outside the box (I have always hated that phrase and now I’ve used it).