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Did WPLG buy a bunch of Twitter followers This Week?

Did WPLG buy a bunch of Twitter followers This Week?

Social media is big, and with old media embracing it we’ve seen local media in particular pump their social media follower count like it’s the new ratings standard. We’ve had iPad giveaways, vacation getaway giveaways, viewers of the day, even car giveaway entries in exchange for a like or a follow on Twitter and Facebook. But one can also outright buy followers if they knew where to look. Some of us even get spammed daily with offers for “Real following Twitter followers”.

Enter two days ago, when a tipster alerted me to WPLG’s Twitter account @WPLGLocal10 and how fast they were gaining followers. They were literally adding 1,000+ followers per hour. Shortly after a few others emailed SFLTV about it, even viewers who found it humorous they’re being followed and unfollowed by WPLG on Twitter.

And all of this happening on a really slow news day, with not much happening. People we talked to alleged WPLG bought Twitter followers. Now, ever since the social media giveaways started I added every single local media account to a service where I can track their growth and get alerts daily and weekly with trends and number of followers that’s how I was able to create those social media ratings posts from a while back. So using that let’s have a look at the last 3 days of @WPLGLocal10. You can draw your own conclusions.

Analyzing the public data

In all of September 2015, the month of the #LoveLocal10 promotion, WPLG gained exactly 7,249 followers in all 30 days. Between September 7 and 20th @WPLGLocal10 account followed 17,387 users then unfollowed 15,437 accounts on the 20th, our best guess for this discrepancy would be that they were following back viewers as the #LoveLocal10 event was happening then unfollowed a whole bunch of them. That’s just best guess on our part.

WPLG September Followers vs Following
WPLG September 1-30 Followers vs Following

As you can see, the blue followers line gradually goes up during September, from 26,720 followers on September 1st to 33,969 on September 30th. No spikes or aberations. All throughout the month @WPLGLocal10 rarely added more than 150 followers daily. Actually, on most days they added less than 100 followers.

And below, the follower graph during the first 8 days of October compared to the whole month of September. Al Gore would be envious of that hockey stick.

WPLG September - October Followers vs Following
WPLG Twitter Followers September 1st to October 8th 2015

To break it down, on October 6th 2015 @WPLGLocal10 had 34,852 followers and followed 18,947. On that day it gained 2,437 followers. The next day however, October 7th, it gained 38,470 followers while unfollowing 11,934 accounts. On October 8th @WPLGLocal10 added another 10,008 followers reaching around 83,330 followers and that’s when everything tapered off.

So who’s following @WPLGLocal10?

According to a quick analysis of @WPLGLocal10 followers by segment using Followerwonk:

  • 50,254 or 60.2% have 1 to 49 followers
  • 9,523 or 11.4% have no followers at all
  • 25,740 or 30.8% have never sent out a single tweet
  • 24,078 or 28.9% have not tweeted in at least 1 year

Quick look through some of the follower account data there are pages and pages of accounts with names like @wLMetsuboF6, @P1robertr4836x1 and so on.



As I gathered information for this post I ran across a curious tweet from one of WPLG’s real followers who wondered why he was followed then unfollowed. Someone @WPLGLocal10 replied that it was a “brief unfollow of passion”. Going back to the data, we can see that was October 7th, the day @WPLGLocal10 unfollowed 11,934 accounts.


All told in the span of less than 3 days WPLG added an extra 48,478 followers most of whom either have no location or if they do thousands aren’t even in South Florida.

Ron Beasley, Former WTVJ Reporter, Passes Away

Ron Beasley, Former WTVJ Reporter, Passes Away

Ron Beasley, former WTVJ reporter and long-time South Florida journalist, passed away on October 4th according to Miami’s Community Newspapers.

Beasley, a veteran journalist from print and television, started his career as a copy boy at the Miami Herald in 1964, he would go on to join WTVJ as the station’s government reporter in 1967, the year he graded from the University of Miami, and would go on to work with the late Ralph Renick. Most recently, Beasely was the automotive editor and reviewer for Miami’s Community Newspapers writing the popular Let’s Talk Cars car review column for 12 years. Beasley is also the founding president of the Southern Automotive Media Association SAMA.

He also worked at WPLG, WSB-TV in Atlanta, KGO in San Francisco, and Telepictures in Los Angeles.

In celebration of his life, there will be a gathering at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club on Sunday, October 11 at 4pm. The address is 2990 South Bayshore Dr, Coconut Grove, FL 33133 Tel: 305-444-4571. Or if you have any questions you can call Grant Miller at 305-323-8206

Ciao, Ciao! Irika Sargent Leaving WFOR

Ciao, Ciao! Irika Sargent Leaving WFOR

Those promos of Irika Sargent the last few months on WFOR? Pretend like they didn’t happen. The WFOR CBS4 News anchor is barely a year into her job and is already on her way out in what is easily the shortest anchor stint in the history of South Florida TV news.

Fellow CBS-owned WBBM Chicago just announced Sargent is joining as weekday evening anchor a month from now on October 19. A native of Kansas City, Missouri Sargent was quoted saying “As a proud Midwesterner who embodies the core values of our region, I am curious, fair-minded and inherently connected to the people and places that make up the heartland of our country. I am thankful for this wonderful opportunity to live in Chicago and be a part of a news team that is committed to providing original”

Irika Sargent, also a licensed attorney, arrived at WFOR last year from KPRC after the station spent months interviewing various candidates for the job. At the time sources told SFLTV Sargent was one of the few candidates CBS HQ approved of, after nixing most candidates WFOR GM Adam Levy and news director Liz Roldan had in mind.

We’ve yet to hear what WFOR is up to but from the way things look, they can’t afford to dither, what with ratings and sweeps just around the corner.

Video: Roxanne Stein, John Favole Say Goodbye to WPTV Morning Show

Video: Roxanne Stein, John Favole Say Goodbye to WPTV Morning Show

In a somewhat strange turn of events WPTV has decided to shake up its morning news team by moving longtime anchors Roxanne Stein and John Favole to WFLX. Stein and Favole have anchored Newschannel 5’s morning newscast for the past 21 years making them the area’s longest running anchor team and have, even recently, held up well against the competition, sometimes doubling the ratings of their closest competitor which makes for a curious decision on WPTV’s part.

WPTV anchors Mike Trim and Ashleigh Walters will be taking over starting Monday September 7 with Favole and Stein staying as anchors of the WFLX morning newscast from 7am to 9am. Then starting September 14 Favole and Stein will return to WPTV for the 11am hour with a new newscast that sounds like Today-show light featuring hard and light news fare, including a cooking segment with top local chefs.

The Rachel Ray Show, now airing in the 11 am time slot, is getting pushed to the 12-1pm hour. Let’s Ask America, now airing 12:30pm to 1pm, has been canceled by Scripps because “the audience affinity settled at a level that is below where we want it to be” according to a Scripps spokesperson quoted by Broadcasting & Cable

WPBT, WXEL Announce Merger Agreement

WPBT, WXEL Announce Merger Agreement

WPBT and WXEL announced today they have agreed to merge after more than a year of negotiations and planning. The two PBS stations, which are independently owned will create a single public broadcasting entity and brand called South Florida PBS.

The merger between the two stations would allow the elimination of duplicate programming and would cover a rather huge viewing area – from Key West all the way to the Sebastian Inlet in Brevard County.

Both WPBT and WXEL are privately owned not-for-profit enterprises, WPBT is owned by Community Television Foundation of South Florida and WXEL is owned by The WXEL Public Broadcasting Corporation, a Florida not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational and cultural organization.

New South Florida PBS combines to serve nation’s 7th largest TV market

SOUTH FLORIDA — July 15, 2015 – Committed to excellence in programming and extensive local and regional service, South Florida’s leading public broadcast stations have agreed to merge. The joint announcement was made today by Laurie Silvers, Chair, WPBT Board of Directors, and James Patterson, Vice Chairman, WXEL Board of Trustees.

The merger brings together the strengths of WPBT2, serving Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and WXEL-TV, serving the Palm Beaches and the Treasure Coast.  The new entity, to be known as SOUTH FLORIDA PBS, will be Florida’s largest public media company and a powerhouse public broadcasting service, reaching from Key West in the south to the Sebastian Inlet in the north, and from the Atlantic Ocean west to Lake Okeechobee.

South Florida PBS will be well positioned to blend existing, outstanding programming from PBS with new and original programming relevant to the diverse local communities of the region on a scale beyond what has been available to date.

“This agreement presents a unique opportunity to accomplish something truly profound for South Florida,” said Patterson. “The combination of resources and talent at WXEL, WPBT2 and PBS, makes possible a new level of community involvement and leadership that will encourage young people to read and learn and expose them to cultural programming that will enrich their lives. This is a historic undertaking and level of commitment to service for the 21st century and beyond.”

“Board members, supporters and station leadership at both these established and honored PBS affiliates are excited by the potential of South Florida PBS,” said Silvers. “The joint efforts of the two stations will benefit every segment and demographic of the region, bringing education, information and enlightenment to the area using new technologies, as well as traditional broadcasting service.”

According to WPBT2 CEO Dolores Sukhdeo, the merger will virtually eliminate duplicate programming on the stations while allowing for new opportunities to reach out to the many cultures and communities throughout the combined coverage area. “The agreement allows us to work together to deliver services at a level never before seen in our region, at the same time creating a new public broadcasting model,” said Sukhdeo. “Now, as South Florida PBS, we represent the strengths and accomplishments of two great stations as we prepare to meet the future head on.”

“Both stations enjoy a rich heritage in South Florida and feel that it is important to build upon our shared traditions of educating children, celebrating the arts, and bringing viewers an incredibly wide range of science, natural history, and public affairs programming,” said Bernie Henneberg, WXEL-TV CEO. “Together, we form a strong public media company dedicated to serving the needs of all the communities we reach. This is an exciting time for viewers and supporters throughout our diverse and growing South Florida region.”

The agreement to merge has been approved by the Board of Directors of WPBT2 and the Board of Trustees of WXEL-TV, and the application for review and approval by the FCC was filed on July 14, 2015. It has been a year since WXEL and WPBT2 first shared news of potentially creating a joint entity. During that time, both stations have been deliberate and thorough in understanding what a joint organization would represent to the community.

Both stations are community licensed, not-for-profit media enterprises serving the public with high quality content from PBS, independent acquisitions and their own original productions.