At the end of January, I reported what looked like it might be a new order shaping up in Baltimore TV news: Instead of WJZ and WBAL neck and neck, and everyone else trailing, it appeared that WJZ was pulling away from WBAL and taking control of the market in a post-Oprah world.
I cautioned about not making too much out of one month's of ratings.
But now comes the news this morning that the new order has held though February sweeps with WJZ winning every head-to-head newscast against WBAL both in households and the key advertising demographic of viewers 25 to 54 years of age.
That means WJZ is winning in the morning block from 5 to 7 a.m. before the network shows come on. Then, it wins again in the early evening local news block where the flow from "Oprah" used to drive WBAL's ratings.
And WJZ is winning at 11 p.m., the newscast from which Marianne Banister was dropped by WBAL last summer. Donna Hamilton was put in her place alongside Rod Daniels during February sweeps.
This is dominance by WJZ. On the flip side, the threat grows for WBAL becoming just another station chasing the news leader in town. After decades of fiercely contested top-dog status in Baltimore TV news, that would be big change.
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