Three decades ago, nearly half of America could recognize who then “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather was. Fast-forward to today, and just 27% correctly identified “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams, according to a Pew Research Center online survey.
The drop in awareness coincides with a steep decline in viewership. When the Rather in-person survey was done in 1985, an average of 48 million Americans watched one of the evening newscasts. In 2013, that number dwindled down to 24.5 million, according to Nielsen.
Unsurprisingly, it’s older viewers who recognized Williams at the highest rate today: 34% compared to just 15% for ages 18-29 (Williams still leads the pack in terms of eyeballs watching news at night.)