In Indy, WXIN’s Aggressive News Expansion Pays Off with Sweeps Gains

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By Andrew Gauthier Comment

In January, WXIN became the first station in Indianapolis–and one of the first in the country, for that matter–to begin its weekday sign-on at 4:00 a.m. The Fox-affiliate’s aggressive expansion of its morning news programming, which now includes six hours from 4-10 a.m., appears to have paid off, with the station seeing big increases during the February sweeps period.

After expanding to 4:30 a.m. in 2009, WXIN saw its morning newscasts gain on NBC’s “Today” and now, with the new 4:00 a.m. start time, the station inches even closer to NBC-affiliate WTHR during the 7-10 a.m. hours.

In February, WXIN was up 18.1% from 7-9 a.m. and a whopping 48.1% in the 9:00 hour, compared to the 2010 sweeps period.

While WXIN’s early morning newscasts themselves didn’t display strong gains last month, it’s apparent that they served as a solid lead-in. The station’s 6:00 a.m. hour was up 36.3% following two full hours of local news.

WXIN news director Lee Rosenthal attributes his station’s ratings growth to, among other things, the amount of local news that they currently offer. “We’ve become a station of every time you turn around, we’re on,” he told TVSpy.