It has come to this for third-rated 7 News. Now that the November sweeps are in full swing, the station is giving away an iPod Touch near the end of its 11 p.m. newscast.
Of course, such promotional giveaways designed to increase viewership are nothing new, but they still seem rather tacky for a news organization. That said, 7 News is at least doing it in a way that minimizes any embarrassment its anchor team may have. It promotes the giveaway that goes to the 7th caller during a commercial break without involving a member of the on-air staff. However, the anchor team announces the winner at show's end.
After Keith Radford announced Tuesday's winner on Election Night, co-anchor Joanna Pasceri chimed in: "I bet she never realized she'd win on Election Night."
It is unclear if the giveaway will help ratings much, but it won't hurt. On Monday, 7 News had a third-place 6.0 rating for the first half of the half hour and a 6.0 rating in the second half. Channel 2's second place rating grew .6 to an 8.2 in the second 15 minutes and first-place Channel 4's rating slipped from a 16.2 in the first 15 minutes to a 13.1 in the second 15 minutes.
For an assessment of the performance of 7 News these days, you can catch the third-part of my series on the local news departments in Thursday's Buffalo News. Sorry, you can't win an iPod Touch for reading it.
-- Alan Pergament