The May television ratings sweeps are out and it looks like WKRG-TV has improved upon past performances and landed first in all local newscasts.

News Director Mike Rausch was enthusiastic about the overall ratings, but also says he’s encouraged by the growth they’ve seen in a year’s time.

He said their 5 p.m. newscast was up by 50 percent and 6 p.m. was up 30 percent. Even their morning show was up by 20 percent, he said.

It breaks down this way:

At 5 a.m., 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., WKRG got a 3.2 rating and 21.7 share, 4.3/24.3 and 6.0/22.3 respectively. WALA followed with 2.9/20.2, 3.3/18.8 and 4.9/18, then WEAR with 2.5/17.5, 3.1/17.7, 5.2/19.3 and WPMI at .6/4.1, .9/4.9, 2.5/9.2.

At noon WKRG had a 6.0/22.3 and WPMI a 2.2/7.9.

At 5 p.m. WKRG led the way with 8.8 rating and /20.8 share, followed by WEAR with a 7.8/18.5, WALA at 5.2/12/3 and WPMI with 4.1/9.6.

At 6 p.m. it’s WKRG with 8.3/17.2, WEAR with 6.8/14.1 and WPMI with 3.6/7.5.

WALA’s 9 p.m. newscast gathered a 6.8/14.1, but that was still bested by WKRG’s late night numbers of 7.2/17.2 for the 10 p.m. newscast. WEAR, which is the only Pensacola-based station, gathered 7.2/17, followed by WPMI with 3.4/8.1.

Ratings are the percentage of homes watching the program out of the total households available, while share is the program’s share of available audience at the time — people actually watching TV.

Rausch credited, “everything the station does,” for its success. 

“It’s the entire team that makes the difference. We are made up of many people and many different positions and everyone contributes to the quality of our daily newscasts,” he said.  

The station recently dramatically changed its news set and also in May won the “Best Newscast” award from the Radio Television Digital News Association in its Region 9 competition covering Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Into a ditch

The folks at are catching some deserved heat over the past few days after a headline writer attempted to be “punny” while writing about the rape, assault and abandonment in a ditch of a Marshall County girl.

An insensitive headline on from May was rewritten after widespread reader complaints.

An insensitive headline on from May was rewritten after widespread reader complaints.

The headline read, “Guntersville men faces (sic) charges of rape, sodomy after assaulting, then — literally — ditching intoxicated girl.”

After being called out by readers in tweets, someone from issued this response, “Thanks for tweeting us! The writer didn’t intend to make light of the situation, and we’re rewriting the headline right now.”

The sloppiness of the headline with its subject-verb disagreement might lead one to wonder if it was just an error. However, considering the incident actually happened in May it’s hard not to conclude this was just an attempt at “clickbait” — a shocking or funny headline designed to get clicks.

If it was a mistake, that’s probably just part and parcel of fewer eyes on pages, but if the headline was written as a joke or to get clicks, it’s hard to imagine what that person was thinking.

Suddenly the bikini-clad women routinely gracing’s landing page don’t seem so unjournalistic.

The headline was rewritten, by the way.

Editor’s note: The below comes from Bewildered Alabama Facebook Page and is an apology and explanation from the writer of the headline. She had not been identified before and this came out after Lagniappe went to press.

Hello all: I am the reporter who wrote the headline that has been so, I’m afraid, fairly maligned. As a writer, I have no excuse for not hearing how that headline would be received — but what I hope everyone understands (but I’m not sure how, now that I hear how others perceive it) — is that I wrote the headline, actually, out of anger at the situation (I was also trying not to use too many words in the headline — which is a technical consideration, but it figured into how I attempted to compress the information). Treating a person of any age, but somehow particularly a teenager, with such extreme disrespect and cruelty just burned me up — and the last thing I meant to do was to write a headline that could in any way increase that cruelty, rather than become part of the chorus of outrage that would seek to protect her. Please forgive me. I don’t like to learn lessons that may have cost anyone else pain (and I hope this is not the case for her in this situation — perhaps she, too, will see that I join her in a deep sense of anger over this), but I am always trying to be both a better writer and reporter — and, for that matter, a better person. Sincerely, Kay Campbell, reporter for Alabama Media Group from The Huntsville Times. P.S. Feel free to castigate me even more thoroughly and personally directly at, if need be.

Brown leaving WKRG

Digital journalist Blake Brown tells us his last day with WKRG was July 2. His contract was set to end July 13, but he left sooner.