Here’s another Channel 2 that can’t get arrested in news.
ABC affiliate WMAR-TV in Baltimore has been the long-time ratings laggard in this market. The Scripps-owned station hoped it could inject some ratings juice into the also-ran by switching from NBC to ABC in 1995.
The moves sent WJZ-TV to CBS (as part of a larger CBS-Westinghouse affiliation deal) and WBAL-TV back to NBC (it was a peacock network affiliate until 1981, when CBS had enough of WMAR’s frequent pre-emptions of network programming and hooked up with WBAL.)
The same year, WMAR made the really smart decision not to renew The Oprah Winfrey Show (it landed on WBAL.)
The outcome? WJZ ratings remained constant, WBAL vaulted to the top of the ratings, and WMAR – is still in third place. The 5 p.m. newscast crown the station won when Oprah was its’ lead-in? It went to WBAL.
But Scripps has a plan in place to make the station competitive again. Here’s a story on how WMAR plans to get back into the race.