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Public, journos hear from TV, radio GMs

The general managers of the Bay Area’s TV and radio news stations spoke to about 50 people last night about the issues facing their businesses — the fractionalization of their audience, the need for shows to generate revenue and their desire to reach younger demos with news programming.

The panel was moderated by former anchor Suzanne Shaw (standing), who observed that in the 1970s ratings were much higher for local news shows. She recalled how back then, the 11 p.m. news on Channel 7, anchored by Van Amberg and the late Jerry Jensen, often pulled a 50 share. Today, with hundreds of channels, programs can stay on the air even if they only garner a 1 rating, the panelists said. “The ratings are so much smaller than they used to be,” said Tim McVay, KTVU 2 vp and gm. “It is shocking to us.” KRON 4 gm Mark Antonitis said ratings are less important than the revenue shows generate for stations. “We have to make money,” Antonitis said.

Highlights of the discussion:

Wednesday’s panel discussion took place at the ABC Broadcast Center on Front Street and was hosted by the Radio-Television News Directors Association of Northern California. (Photo credit: Dave Price)

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