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Boston Herald: WHDH-TV’s ‘kid’s cast’


There’s a lot of talk lately how younger the news reporters and anchors are getting lately. Now the Boston Herald takes a shot at WSVN’s sister station in Boston, WHDH, for hiring Adam Williams, 26 and Brandon Rudat, 27 to anchor the weekend newscasts. The newspaper calling the move, via the anonymous industry insider, ‘ kid’s casts’.

Boston Herald7New: Fresh, young faces grace WHDH-TV’s ‘kid’s cast’

Of course by the end of the article the writer comes to the same conclusion all the rest of his colleagues did – young talent is cheap and the station is doing to get a younger demo.

Except that … we the young are not watching. At least not as much, and not as many of us, as the station suits want. I read somewhere recently that even though the cable nets are doing everything to attract demo viewers those viewers comprise barely 10% of the total audience. At most.

I don’t know how much it is for broadcast local news, but if I had to guess it’s not too different. There just isn’t much to see, and I find myself yelling out “Who the fuck cares about this” more and more often.

7New: Fresh, young faces grace WHDH-TV’s ‘kid’s cast’
By Jessica Heslam
Boston Herald Media Reporter
Thursday, March 22, 2007 – Updated: 02:04 AM EST

Boston TV station WHDH- Channel 7 has hired two new, young newsmen to anchor their weekend newscasts, the latest in a long line of baby-faced hires who have yet to celebrate their 30th birthdays.
In the past year or so, WHDH has hired a bevy of 20-something TV talent, including Anne Allred, Sorboni Banerjee, Grant Greenberg and Ryan Schulteis – prompting one industry insider to call it the “kid’s cast.”
The latest hires – Brandon Rudat and Adam Williams – are 27 and 26, respectively.
Industry insiders say young talent is inexpensive and breaking into a top ten TV market – Boston ranks seventh – is pretty rare for someone in their mid 20s.

Michael Carson, general manager of WHDH, said his station tends to attract younger people who are building their careers because they like the station’s approach to aggressive news reporting.
Some hires were needed for the new 10 p.m. 7News on WLVI [website]-TV (Ch. 56). “I’m not sure how conscious the effort was but it is a younger skewing news,” Carson said of the 10 p.m. show. The latest two are replacing Phil Lipof and Jeff Glor.
“We don’t have anything against old people. We’re not going out of our way to be as young as we can be,” Carson said. “We don’t sacrifice quality and professionalism just to attract youth.”
Williams will co-anchor WHDH’s weekend morning news and is a transfer from their sister station WSVN-TV in Miami. Rudat was recently with NBC 30 News in Connecticut and will co-anchor the weekend evening news.
Yesterday, Williams said he’s worked hard and takes every story seriously. “I don’t think age is a factor. I earn viewers’ trust through the way I do stories and they way I interact with people,” Williams said.
Rudat, who was hired as a production assistant at age 19, said in an e-mail: “My youth and passion for this business have given me great success. I have worked so hard to earn this great responsibility of reporting the news.”
Linda Douglass, a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, said some of the most exciting journalists she encountered during her TV career were also the youngest because they work the hardest and are much more curious and driven.
However, Jim Thistle, a former news director at WBZ, WCVB, and WHDH, said: “They’re looking to appeal to a younger demographic. It’s as simple as that.”

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  1. Local TV news naturally attracts the older crowd, but the goal is the average male 18-36. Each year consultants try to trot out a new technique to grab their eyeballs, but if they’re not watching in the first place, it’s useless. Why? More adult males are spending their spare time playing video games or watching endless repeats of Sports Center. They don’t care about local news.

    Is that because young men don’t care what happens in the community? Nope. They’re sick of local news for the same reasons ratings have been falling like a stone: More hours of local news are filled with crime crap that TV execs THINK people care about. It’s just what you said at the end of your post: Who the fuck cares that a crackhead killed another crackhead? A photog at a station I used to work at would bitch all the time about covering what he called “bad guy on bad guy” crime. But again, it’s easy to cover a crime scene because everything you need is right there: grab a cop bite, shoot vid of flashing lights and stunned neighbors, get the obligatory “he was always a quiet guy” soundbite from crazy neighbor lady, go live at the top of the show. Pathetic, folks! Invest in some real story telling, and I might come back.

  2. Local news desired demo is not male. It’s female without question. Local news cares very little for any male demo. Look at the stories, look at the features and the mdecial reporting. It’s all geared to women.

    I often get called a cynic here, but local news is about stories, stories that grab people’s attention and keeps them glued to the tube. It is not, nor has it ever been, about what is newsworthy. Sometimes the two coincide, most of the time they don’t. People in newsrooms like to think it’s all about news, but the desicion makers know otherwise. It’s all about marketing and sales and viewers. This is why you see the ridiculous teases during sweeps periods like the “Dangers of Doorknobs” and other meaningless topics.

    On the other hand cable news is a primarily male audience. This is fairly weel known.

  3. Bobbie, I think we are finding we are really kindred spirits. You are right again. Young male is definitely not the target demo…if it were, would sportsbe getting the short shrift it gets on most local newscasts? Having said that, I wish news directors would get a little spine and adhere to a bit of a formula. Real news should be treated separately from entertainment. There is enough real news in a day to fill at least a half-hour. That would be politics, world affairs, wars, etc. Entertainment news is not news. It should be on a separate program. This diluting of hard news has driven more people away from local news than anything, trust me. If I want ET, I’ll watch ET. Sports on a local station should focus on local teams, including high schools. Gee, don’t people watch if they think they’ll be on. Also, just because it makes for pretty pictures, it isn’t major news. Medicine is a legit news item, so it can stay. If locals want to do 30 minutes of all softball stuff, fine. Don’t litter my precious time to watch news with Nicole Richie.

  4. Based on ccc’s and bobbie’s comments, WSVN’s real newscast would be about 20 minutes per day max. It’s amazing what they (and some other stations as well) call “news”.

  5. Y’all are right, and I should’ve explained my comment further. For years, TV news has targeted women. But it only does that because research shows that women actually WATCH local news. Therefore, the competition was for those eyeballs. But now, women are abandoning local news. Couple that with the amount of money that younger men spend on their entertainment, and local TV execs see a possible new demo. Consultants are now saying that local TV news needs to try and attract these men. But change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s tough to retrain a producer to stop thinking “25-54 year old woman” to 20 or 30-something male.


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