Two big differences I’ve noticed about Birmingham local tv news and the news in Memphis is with sports and the morning shows.
I’ve noticed that the sports anchors get more time than the poor sports people in Memphis. I say poor because they’ve got to be frustrated with the ever decreasing amount of time they get in a newscast. 2 minutes tops, but many times it’s only 60-90 seconds. In Birmingham this weekend I’ve noticed they get far more time than that.
ABC 33/40 gave their sports anchor enough time for a package on the SEC basketball tournament (bama’s loss), highlights of the other game in the tourney, highlights of Memphis’ loss to Louisville, spring football at Auburn, Alabama and UAB, Alabama A&M basketball, a major league soccer game, NASCAR, and college baseball scores. It must have been close to 7 minutes!
Of course that was on a weekend, but during the week they get more time than Memphis sports anchors. Is Birmingham THAT much more of a sports town than Memphis? Maybe. Birmingham doesn’t have a pro basketball team but sports fans here are much more into their teams than fans in Memphis (my opinion only, but I’ve lived in both cities).
Morning news is a looooot better in Birmingham. I wrote yesterday about the morning show on FOX 6. Great show. They have two very good hosts/anchors, a news anchor, a meteorologist (Mickey Ferguson who I worked with many years ago) and a feature reporter who brings a lot of smiles covering the fun stuff going on in town. This show rocks. It’s comparable to another morning show I used to watch out of LA “KTLA’s Morning News”. They successfully mix talk with news and features and weather. It’s fun to watch, but they inform us of the news too.
FOX’s morning show consistently beats The Today Show and Good Morning America on the networks.
The other morning news shows on ABC 33/40 and NBC 13 don’t mix the talk and features as well but do a much better job than the morning shows in Memphis. They’re much easier to watch. They have more fresh news while in Memphis (at at least one station) if you watch one 30 minute block, you’ve seen everything they’ve got. Memphis morning tv is too weather heavy, even on days when there’s nothing on the radar. The anchors are more natural, more human and they don’t appear to be reading everything they say. The chit-chat is more natural and you get the feeling the talent actually talks to each other once the show is over.
Would a FOX 6 morning news work in Memphis? Absolutely, but the managers would have to ignore the consultant’s order that they cram more news into the sack, stop giving us weather every 3 minutes and let the show breathe.