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In Collins coverage, Channel 4 does right thing Saturday in ditching Fair setting

Weekend update:

I criticized WIVB-TV (Channel 4) last week for not dropping its plans to have Jacquie Walker and Don Postles co-anchor the 6 p.m. Wednesday newscast from the Erie County Fair on the night of the Chris Collins indictment. The Collins coverage that night was anchored by Dave Greber in the studio, where Walker and Postles belonged.

So I have come to praise it for essentially admitting the mistake Saturday night.

On the night that Collins suspended his reelection campaign, Channel 4 ditched its Fair plans at 6 p.m. and brought in Walker and Greber to co-anchor the hour-long newscast that aired on its little-watched sister station WNLO-TV (CW23).

Erica Brecher, the new weekend anchor, reported on the Collins story and returned to the anchor desk at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.

The 6 p.m. newscast aired on CW 23 because Channel 4 was carrying the third round of the PGA championship.

Naturally, the change in stations resulted in lower ratings. The Saturday newscast had only a 1.5 rating on CW 23 despite the strong work by Channel 4’s staff on the Collins story in the first 18 minutes of the hour program. Channel 2 won the 6 p.m. news competition Saturday with a 5.6 rating, with Channel 7 getting a 3.7 rating. Those newscasts were 30 minutes long.

Channel 4 had extensive coverage of Collins’ announcement that included interviews with local Republican chairman Nick Langworthy, potential candidate Stefan Mychajliw and the Democratic candidate, Nate McMurray, who is running for Collins’ seat in the 27th District.

I did find it a little odd that Channel 4 thanked them all for coming in since they were promoting their brand.

Of course, all three local broadcast network affiliates aired extensive coverage of the Collins story again Saturday.

Mychajliw, who announced his candidacy minutes after Collins’ announcement, was everywhere promoting himself.

I was somewhat amused Sunday night when Channel 7 reporter Nikki Dementri reported that “at least four Western New Yorkers” announced their candidacy. The other stations, as well as this newspaper, have reported there are 15 or more candidates interested.

I was shocked by one comment made by Carl Paladino, one of the 15 or more candidates, in a one-on-one interview Sunday with Channel 2 reporter Claudine Ewing. But he appears to have been the victim of a bad edit.

Paladino appeared to verbally convict Collins by telling Ewing “Chris was committed and pledged to do the right thing and then he had a bad day, really bad day. He did something not right.”

The quote ended there on Channel 2 Sunday night, but the station ran a longer version Monday in which  Paladino added “apparently or allegedly.”

Without those words, the quote had a different meaning.

Channel 4 had a very good day Sunday thanks to Tiger Woods, who was in the hunt in the final round of the PGA before falling two shots behind eventual champion Brooks Koepka.

Channel 4 had a 6.1 rating for the more than five hours of coverage, but the rating spiked to a 9.3 for the last 75 minutes and hit a high of 10.2 at the end.

Those are much higher numbers than anything on any of the channels in prime time Sunday.


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