New news leader? WFTV, WESH battling it out

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Could WESH be about to end WFTV’s 30-year reign as the king of TV news in Orlando?

New Nielsen “people meters” data show — and parties at both stations acknowledge — a tight, two-station race between WFTV and WESH for the title of Central Florida’s news leader.

According to Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker, WFTV averaged 48,000 viewers to WESH’s 46,400 at 6 p.m. in the news-coveted 25-to-54 age group. For the demo at 11, WFTV had 43,200 to WESH’s 37,500.

Here’s the amazing part: Among viewers ages 18-to-49, WESH is the No. 1 station at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. — 30,000 viewers for WESH to 29,000 for WFTV.

“It’s a two-station race,” WFTV GM Shawn Bartelt told the Sentinel.

WESH GM Jim Carter agreed: “Based on the ratings I see, it’s a two-station race, and closer than it’s been in a long time. We were No. 2 at 11, just slightly behind WFTV. The rest of the time periods, we’re right there with them. The horse heads are next to one other. They’re neck and neck.”

WFTV still leads in the overall household ratings — 128,800 homes to WESH’s 100,100 at 6 p.m. But the demo results are a bit startling and perhaps indicate a shift in Central Florida’s viewing habits.

Read the full story here.

About Roger Simmons 549 Articles
Roger Simmons has been blogging about Orlando television since 2001. You can email him at