Study: TV Stations Holding Steady on News

Despite the recession, TV stations are not cutting news. In fact, stations are airing a record amount of news during the weekday of 4.6 hours, according to results of the 2009 Radio Television News Directors Association and Hofstra University’s annual survey released Sunday (April 20) in Las Vegas.
So far this year, only three stations stopped originating news, but three stations have announced plans to start local news, keeping the total number of stations broadcasting local news at 770. Compared to last year there are only four fewer stations originating local news; two are running news from another station.
“It’s clear that stations are banking on local news to carry them into the future,” said Bob Papper, director of survey and professor and chair of the department of journalism at Hofstra University. “Television is clearly suffering from the same stress as the entire economy, but stations are by no means giving up on local news,” he said.
As expected, TV stations are doing more with fewer people. TV news shed 1,200 jobs last year, a 4.3 percent decline greater than the 3.8 percent drop in overall U.S. employment. Salaries dropped by 4.4 percent.
Radio staffing stayed the same, but salaries declined 1.8 percent. The amount of news also dropped slightly, the study found.
The RTNDA/Hofstra University survey was conducted during the fourth quarter.