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MacNeil / Lehrer Newshour Shifted By WPSX After Decline in Audience

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1984-09-26 Centre Daily Times.jpg

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A number of WPSX-TV viewers have written to the Centre Daily Times recently to express concern about the change in the broadcast time for "The MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour." I am writing to explain that decision and to address some of the concerns expressed by those Channel 3 viewers.

There are two main reasons for the change in broadcast time for "The Newshour." The first is a lack of viewer response to the expanded format that began just over a year ago. The second reason is an effort to make additional broadcast time available in the early evening for other new programs.

Since the "Newshour" began a year ago, the audience for the program on WPSX-TV *has significantly declined. The audience for the program is much smaller than for the half-hour program it replaced. This trend of declining audiences for the program has bccurred at many other public television stations around the country. In Pennsylvania, in fact, two stations have decided to drop "The Newshour "from their schedules.

Rather than take such a radical step, WPSX-TV began to experiment with a late night broadcast of the program attempting to find a broadcast time that might attract an audience. For a time, we broadcast the program at 6 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. When the preliminary information on 11:30 p.m. began to come in, we made the decision to drop the 6 p.m. broadcast and began the process of redeveloping the early evening time period which had been changed for "The Newshour."

We are watching the audience reaction and data very carefully, and you can be sure that we will be responsive if there is adequate evidence. This change in broadcast time is not necessarily. permanent. A change back to an early evening time is possible at some future date.

Audience size alone does not dictate what programs are broadcast on WPSX-TV or when they are scheduled. Audience data is a valuable tool in determining how to use limited resources and provide a broadcast schedule to meet the needs and interests of many people.

In addition to changing the broadcast time for "The MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour," WPSX-TV has been working with other public television stations in an effort to find ways to strengthen the audiences for the "MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour."

A number of letters from WPSX-TV viewers have referred to the related change in broadcast time for the "Dr. Who" program. The decision to move "The Newshour" to 11 p.m. was not motivated by the change in time for "Dr. Who." In fact, we would have preferred to keep "Dr. Who" at 11 p.m. However, we felt that 11:30 p.m. was too late to start "The Newshour." For that reason, "Dr. Who" was moved to 6:30 p.m.

There has also been the suggestion that WPSX-TV has lessened its commitment to public affairs programming. Nothing could be further from the truth. WPSX-TV maintains a separate documentary unit which annually produces programs about significant issues in Central Pennsylvania. That unit recently was strengthened with the addition of another person. We also produce a weekly current events program for the schools which is distributed nationally by satellite. It is viewed by children in schools thoughout Pennsylvania and in other states.

During October, WPSX-TV will broadcast 11 hours of programs called "The Candidates." These will be interviews with over 70 candidates for elected office in Central Pennsylvania. In addition, WPSX-TV will broadcast all of the presidential and vice presidential debates that are made available to public television. And "Frontline," the only regularly scheduled documentary series on television, will provide in-depth coverage of the presidential campaign. These programs represent only a small part of the Channel 3 commitment to public affairs broadcasting.

We also have established a new music unit to begin an expansion of our efforts to produce programs with local and regional talent. Another unit has been established in cooperation with the department of theater and film to begin production of local. television drama.

WPSX-TV relies heavily on the support and 'counsel of our viewers. This support comes not only during on-air funds appeals, but also through letters from viewers when they agree or disagree with us. We appreciate hearing from those viewers who are upset by the change in the broadcast time for "The MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour." We value their support and interest in public televison.

The author is general manager of WPSX-TV

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: Froke, Marlowe (1984-09-26). MacNeil / Lehrer Newshour Shifted By WPSX After Decline in Audience. Centre Daily Times p. A-4.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Froke, Marlowe. "MacNeil / Lehrer Newshour Shifted By WPSX After Decline in Audience." Centre Daily Times [add city] 1984-09-26, A-4. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Froke, Marlowe. "MacNeil / Lehrer Newshour Shifted By WPSX After Decline in Audience." Centre Daily Times, edition, sec., 1984-09-26
  • Turabian: Froke, Marlowe. "MacNeil / Lehrer Newshour Shifted By WPSX After Decline in Audience." Centre Daily Times, 1984-09-26, section, A-4 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=MacNeil / Lehrer Newshour Shifted By WPSX After Decline in Audience | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/MacNeil_/_Lehrer_Newshour_Shifted_By_WPSX_After_Decline_in_Audience | work=Centre Daily Times | pages=A-4 | date=1984-09-26 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=1 December 2021 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=MacNeil / Lehrer Newshour Shifted By WPSX After Decline in Audience | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/MacNeil_/_Lehrer_Newshour_Shifted_By_WPSX_After_Decline_in_Audience | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=1 December 2021}}</ref>