Philly’s WCAU Rethinks 5:30 P.M.

By Andrew Gauthier 

Broadcasting & Cable

While the media world has been focused of late on NBC’s missteps with Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, another innovative take on a vital Monday-to-Friday time slot within the NBC group has quietly been catching on with viewers.

NBC-owned WCAU Philadelphia retooled its 5:30 p.m. news this season, with each day of the week dedicated to a different topic such as sports, health or consumer issues. In an era when broadcast ratings success stories are hard to come by, the themed newscasts have grown ratings at WCAU when much of the competition has seen decreases.

President/General Manager Dennis Bianchi says the strategy has made the 5:30 news stand out in the crowded content landscape in DMA No. 4. “It has helped differentiate that half-hour news within WCAU’s news block,” he says, “and clearly it’s differentiated us from our competitors.” More…