9News continues ratings dominance despite talent departures

As we noted in our recent post about the retirement announcement from 7News anchor Mike Landess, 9News has enjoyed a run of ratings victories that's been all but uninterrupted since Landess and former co-host Ed Sardella first teamed up at the station circa the late 1970s. And that hasn't changed yet despite the absence of entertainment reporter Kirk Montgomery, the impending departure of sportscaster Susie Wargin and word that Kyle Dyer will be leaving the morning show in favor of lower-profile gigs at the station.

An indication of the outlet's continuing dominance: CBS4, one of its competitors, is ballyhooing results that show it trailing 9News in the major time slots.

CBS4/KCNC is celebrating double-digit growth in key demographics for its 10 p.m. broadcast as measured Monday-Friday and Monday-Sunday. However, the station and the others in the market (7News/KMGH and Fox31/KDVR) continue to trail 9News/KUSA by a substantial margin. Here's one batch of numbers from a CBS4 release....

...and another: The pattern holds for the 5 p.m. broadcast, as seen in these figures... ...and the 6 p.m. newscast, represented by the following data: Of course, the total of viewers represented by these ratings is far lower than it was ten or twenty years ago, and the margins between first and fourth place are much narrower. One reason: An entire generation hasn't gotten into the habit of tuning in at 5 p.m. or 10 p.m. to find out what's happening, since many if not most get their information online. This makes moving audience shares even more difficult, since lots of those still tuning in are older and have ingrained viewing patterns established not just over years, but over decades.

That doesn't mean 9News has a permanent place atop the Denver TV news ratings. Saying goodbye to so many familiar faces at the same time carries risk and hints at hubris that makes perfect sense given how long the outlet has pummeled its opponents but could represent vulnerability. For now, though, the station has the luxury of sitting atop the peak watching its rivals find positives in finishing second. Or third. Or fourth.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Media archive circa May 12: "Kyle Dyer's departing from 9News morning show in station's latest star shuffle."

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