Variety Required in Morning News Leads

By Doug Drew 

We’ve trained our viewers to tune in at the top and bottom of the hour in a morning newscast. Viewers are busy in the morning getting ready for work or school. They tend to turn on a newscast, leave it on, and then drift in and out as they prepare for the day.

Unless there is a major breaking story going on, it’s best to select different leads for each half hour. Leading with the same story just shouts out: “IT’S GOING TO BE THE SAME OLD STUFF REPEATED ONCE AGAIN.” As soon as the viewer sees nothing different has happened, they are likely to feel satisfied that they can move away from the television.

One of the most consistent comments in focus groups about television news is: “It’s all the same stuff just repeated over and over again.” Repetition is one of the most significant reasons viewers tune out. Once they think that it’s just going to be the same repeated material they are less likely to stick with you.


Don’t let the old line about “viewers only watch about 15 minutes in the mornings” get you into a trap. Produce a newscast that simply repeats news, weather, traffic every 15 minutes, and what will you get? You’ll get a newscast that viewers will only watch for 15 minutes! Is that really what you want? What you want is to get viewers to watch longer, and they will, if you produce your morning show with fresh content that is constantly being updated. Once they feel it’s just the same old stuff, then off to work they go!

Doug Drew is a morning news specialist with 602 Communications. He can be reached at Follow Doug on facebook and on twitter at