I was recently home in time to watch the 6 p.m. news on one of Phoenix’s top news stations. I got the news of the day, the weather and even sports – all delivered quite professionally.
And then there was a programming transformation. It was as if the respected news operation wanted to be more like a morning drive time radio show than an outlet for the evening news presented by polished, professional reporters and recognized anchors.
The anchors were imploring viewers to watch the 10 o’clock news later that evening to find out if we had won tickets to an upcoming major event. It was almost as if I had heard the contest jingle or catch phrase and they wanted me to be the “fifth caller” to the prize line and I’d win concert tickets and a meet-and-greet with the band. I wasn’t paying enough attention to remember if I needed to text a code to the TV station’s prize line to become eligible for the drawing, but I’m sure that must have been part of the process.
I understand local TV news is under pressure to attract and keep viewers. But trying to incentivize viewership with something more than a balanced news show seems a bit too gimmicky for me. I know there has been a metamorphosis of the media, but this one really caught me off guard.
Congratulations, you’re the fifth caller!!!