Greetings from Birmingham, Alabama. No, I haven’t had a Bo Bice sighting although the Magic City is enthralled with the American Idol runner-up. I did run into Garry Kelly, the news director from ABC 33/40 last night. Asked how the May book went he told me pretty good considering the FOX station, channel 6, wound up with a 60 share for the American Idol finale.
Bo’s 2nd place finish was better for the FOX station here than Reuben Studdard’s win two years ago when the FOX station had a 50 share for the finale. Bet ABC and NBC hope they’ve seen the last of Birmingham’s strong showing in Idol.
I’m not blogging about tv news tonight though. But on newspapers.
And I’ll make this as simple as I can. The “Birmingham News” newspaper is light years better than Memphis’ Commercial Appeal.
I will preface the rest of this blog by saying I grew up near Birmingham and have read the B’ham News much of my life. I still read it daily online at www.al.com
That said, here’s why I feel B’ham’s newspaper is so much better than Memphis’ morning paper: there’s more to it.
Sunday mornings in Memphis I generally can read through the C.A. in less than 45 minutes, and that includes probably 15 minutes going through the Sunday sales fliers. This morning, I skipped the fliers all together and read for a good 1 1/2 hours before church. After church and lunch I picked up the paper again and finished in about an another hour.
The Sports section, which I usually read first included everything the C.A. has (less some coverage of the NBA) plus 3 pages or more of Major League Baseball coverage. One full page for the National League, one full page of the American League and another page of columns, articles and fantasy baseball. Two full pages of NASCAR, plus coverage of the Indy 500, golf, softball, SEC baseball (tournament was this weekend in Birmingham) and some coverage of SEC football.
The Business section was a full section, unlike the C.A’s cursory business section on Sundays. 8 pages of business news including articles and columns for small business owners.
The regional section was also filled with news from around the southeast (including fair coverage of the “Tennessee Waltz”.
The much larger section on entertainment included the B’ham News version of the C.A’s Friday special pull-out section on clubs, movies etc. There were also articles and columns about local television and radio stations.
Weekday editions are also filled with more stories and features. Two full-pages of comic strips including several (Drabble, Snuffy Smith) that are no longer carried by the C.A.
Metro sections are much more in-depth than even the C.A’s community editions (I get the DeSoto Appeal every day). “The Birmingham News” seemed to include a lot more news from Shelby County, Northwest Birmingham and Northeast Metro in every Sunday edition.
I should also mention here that Birmingham is currently a city with two daily newspapers, the “News” and the Scripps’ owned “Post-Herald”. Saturdays the two papers combine their coverage into one newspaper. The Post-Herald does not publish on Sundays and is an afternoon paper during the week. (The two papers switched delivery times several years ago).
I don’t have circulation numbers to compare Birmingham and Memphis.