Will WMAQ Be Able to Maintain Ratings Run Without Hockey?

By Kevin Eck 

Chicago’s WMAQ has been having a run of ratings success at 10:00 p.m. lately. Getting to stand in the collective glow of Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks hasn’t hurt the NBC-owned station since it got to air the games.

According to the Chicago Business Journal, WMAQ stayed atop the ratings pile at 10:00 p.m. with a 9.7 rating while ABC-owned WLS played runner-up with an 8.5.

The ratings news to date in the June book was even better for Channel 5 in the key 25 to 54 audience demo that advertisers covet. Channel 5 was the clear frontrunner there with a 5.3 rating, compared to Channel 7’s 4.1. Channel 2 is a very distant third at 0.8.

No doubt the huge success of the Chicago Blackhawks and their long, but ultimately fruitful journey to win the 2015 Stanley Cup Monday night has been a huge boon to Channel 5 and the fortunes of its late local news report. NBC aired a number of Stanley Cup playoff games, and the Channel 5 news team never ceased its Blackhawks coverage from every possible angle as the playoffs progressed.

Now, with the Blackhawks victory rally at Soldier Field ending this afternoon, Blackhawks frenzy that has gripped Chicago is likely to begin to die down pretty fast. Which means Channel 5 will have to rely on its skills as a news organization and those of its new managing editor, Richard Maginn, a recruit from Channel 7, to sustain the ratings momentum of the past several weeks.