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Local viewers have less interest this year in Oscars, State of the Union speech

It takes a few days to get ratings these days, but the local figures for Sunday’s telecast of the Oscars have arrived. The 3 hour, 32 minute show had a 12.9 rating on WKBW, the local ABC affiliate. That was down about 4% from the 13.5 rating a year ago here. That is much lower than the 20% national decline. The local rating peaked at 14.0 at 8:45 p.m. From 11 to 11:30 p.m. when the big awards were handed out, the rating was 11.9.

I can finally report on the local ratings for President Trump’s State of the Union Address on Feb. 4.

Viewers of the president’s favorite network, Fox News, watched in Buffalo at practically the same rate as they did for the 2019 SOTU. But five other stations carrying the 75-minute speech saw significant declines in viewership from his 2019 SOTU.

The rating for this year’s SOTU on the six stations was down by about 24% from a 25.0 total in 2019 to 18.9 in 2020. Fox News had the highest audience here with a 7.2 rating, down only one-tenth of a point from the 7.3 rating a year earlier.

The local network affiliates – WGRZ-TV, WIVB, WKBW and WUTV and cable news channels CNN and MSNBC – all saw declines ranging from 0.6 points to 1.7 points. WGRZ, the NBC affiliate, was the second highest rated station for the address with a 5.4 rating.


The WIVB-TV (Channel 4) release announcing the hiring of Hamburg High School graduate Brian Chojnacki didn’t mention what his role in the sports department would be. However, Chojnacki wrote on Instagram that he is going to be an anchor. That makes sense since he is replacing Nick Filipowski on a team that includes sports director Josh Reed and reporter-anchor Jenna Harner. Channel 4 General Manager Brien Kennedy previously said Harner, who has impressed, “will take greater responsibility.”

Admittedly, I was a little confused by the Channel 4 release because it said Chojnacki is arriving after being a studio host and play-by-play reporter at “ESPN’s Wide World of Sports” in Orlando, Fla. I wasn’t sure what that meant. News Director Lisa Polster explained that his work for "Wide World of Sports” was in-house for Disney and on ESPN 3.


My editor will tell you I’m not exactly a grammarian and make my share of mistakes, but even I stopped when I heard a promo on local public broadcasting station WBFO-FM over the weekend in which the speaker said “me and my team” made a programming decision. I hope that phrasing has been fixed. He undoubtedly meant to say “my team and I.”


After losing his radio show on 1270 The Fan last week, former Buffalo News sports columnist Jerry Sullivan is back in the game with a podcast on that is available for free this month.


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