Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Time for one of my random thoughts about places involving media...

Well, when I think about places across the South, mainly the cities, I always who is the dominant and most reliable outlet of information in that region.  Like in Atlanta, it's a given that its the Cox Media-owned ABC affiliate, WSB-TV "Channel 2", who has been the leader of the region since literally the beginning since its the first TV station to come on air in the South (according to them).  While growing up, I used to think it was so funny that WSB-TV would have all this local programs in an era where local programming was going out of favor because of corporate ownership of media choosing syndicated programs over such.  However, Channel 2 would air "Close-Up with Monica Kaufman", who is legendary in the Atlanta region and those who are familiar with WSB-TV since she is the station's longest serving anchor to-date and one of the nation's longest serving female newscast anchors (35 years).  Also their airing of the nation's largest Independence Day parade on July 4th called "Salute 2 America" along with the "Macy's Great Tree" at Lenox Square shopping mall.

What so sad about the whole situation in Atlanta is the closest competitors, NewsCorp-owned WAGA-TV "FOX5 Atlanta" has half the ratings of anything WSB airs, which I know somebody at NewsCorp and FOX is pissed about consistently in a major market like Atlanta. 

The local NBC-affiliate WXIA-TV, is my personal favorite, but it has been fighting for years to remain #2 in the market with "FOX5 Atlanta".

What's so funny is they had been so dominate with their identity and signature "Action News" product of WSB-TV is that stations in other portions of the South have immolated them like WMC-TV in Memphis with similar logo, news products, and simplification of identity.

The station that has immolated WSB-TV is WMC-TV 5, which is the leading station is arguably the leading news station in Memphis.  The Raycom Media-owned NBC affiliate of the market, which was formerly owned by Atlanta-native, Bert Ellis, who was a huge fan of WSB-TV and used it as a benchmark to create the current look of WMC-TV.

Also Atlanta is one of those dubious markets where the other stations had to shuffle network affiliations due to because WAGA-TV was originally a longtime CBS affiliate until 1994 then it wind up on longtime independent station WGNX, now WGCL-TV.  Since WGNX/WGCL-TV has been hobbling along without a solid identity for years since its days as 'WGNX 46' then owned by Tribune Broadcasting, but now known as "CBS Atlanta" and owned by Meredith Corporation.

When applying that knowledge to here in Birmingham, well there isn't a leader because it is a market where corporatization took away any sense of locality for any of the stations.  The closest station to be "local leading station" was WBRC, but the whole NewsCorp-New World Communications deal back in the 1990s like WAGA-TV in Atlanta, took away that and made it into a FOX-owned station until 2008.  Now its back in the hands of the Alabama-based Raycom Media, but it's just lacking because the station has maintained the "FOX6" name for over a decade.

The other stations here like formerly NBC-Universal-owned NBC affiliate WVTM, which is owned by the god-awful Media General corporation is joke, and WBMA/WJSU/WCFT "ABC 33/40", the combination ABC affiliate is such a small town oriented station.  Whereas, WIAT has resurrected from the decade of ownership by Media General and now owned by New Vision Television, but it is immolating what WBRC and WBMA/WJSU/WCFT have been doing and that is create this "small town mindset" which is so counterproductive to the region as a whole in unification around Birmingham. 

Yeah, even the media here sucks...

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