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Replacements headed to Ch.4; UB tourney loss scores locally, not nationally

Catching up on the headlines after a week on the beach:

Channel 4 Turning Orange: The local CBS affiliate has hired three new reporters who have a couple of things in common.

They are all young females and they all graduated from Syracuse University.

News Director Scott Levy confirmed the trio that is expected to make their debuts here in April are:

Callan Gray, who arrives from a small station in Bristol, Va. and previously freelanced at a Binghamton station. She has morning anchor experience.

Marissa Perlman, who arrives after being at WETM in Elmira for three years. She has been an evening anchor there.

Katie Alexander, who arrives after two years at KWQC in Davenport, Iowa. The station has the same owner as Channel 4. She also worked at a Watertown, N.Y. station for three years.

“The recent hires each have a connection to Upstate New York and have expressed their excitement to return and stay here,” wrote Levy in a text.

The trio joins Channel 4 newcomers Jenn Schanz and Dave Greber. Schanz previously worked in Nebraska and Greber had been an anchor in Binghamton.

If you are keeping score, the five new reporting hires are the replacements for Diana Fairbanks, Elysia Rodriguez, Lou Raguse, Emily Guggenmos and Joe Melillo.

The hiring of four females and one male by Levy leaves the reporting staff – not including anchors, meteorologists and sports anchors -- with five males and five females.

However, there is a noticeable difference in experience. Four of the five male reporters are long-time veterans here – Rich Newberg, Luke Moretti, Al Vaughters and George Richert.

Brittni Smallwood, who arrived at Channel 4 in 2012, will be the longest-tenured female reporter here on the staff when the three new female hires arrive.

“While the nationwide search took place, I spoke with many males who decided to take opportunities in bigger markets,” wrote Levy.

Levy said he hasn’t decided yet on who will replace Raguse as the station’s weekend anchor. Teresa Weakley and Nalina Shapiro, who have heavy weekday schedules, anchored last weekend.

UB Hoops is a Local Hit: The University at Buffalo’s basketball team’s loss to West Virginia in a second round game of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament scored big local numbers on cable’s TNT on Friday afternoon, March 20. It averaged an 11.1 rating here, hitting a high of a 16.4 rating in the final minutes of the loss. That is an extremely high local number for college basketball here and it didn’t count all the people who packed establishments to watch the game together.

To put the rating in perspective, the UB game had a much higher rating here than the two Sunday games carried by CBS that determined two of the Final Four participants – Michigan State and Duke. Michigan State's overtime win over Louisville had a 7.2 rating and Duke’s win over Gonzaga had an 8.2 rating.

However, the UB game might not have been as big a national recruiting tool as hoped. The game was one of the lower-rated second round tournament games nationally, attracting 1,296,000 viewers and a 0.5 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, according to a national website that tracts such things.

Channel 2 Wins Big in Demos: While we are on the subject of demographics, Channel 2 News was a huge winner among viewers ages 18-49 and ages 25-54 during the February sweeps in all but one news time period. That includes at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., time periods that Channel 4 wins in households. The only time period that Channel 4 won was at 5 a.m. It won with viewers 18-49 and with men 25-54 at that hour. The demos probably don’t mean much to most readers or viewers. But it means a lot to advertisers who buy commercial time. While the key demo nationally is age 18-49, the key demo for local stations is 25-54.

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