Which TV station had the best coverage of the massive gas explosion that leveled JJ’s Restaurant early Tuesday evening on the Country Club Plaza?
Many claim KSHB, the NBC affiliate located down the street from the explosion, was the clear standout (see below). Others say that longtime news leader KMBC dominated the evening’s coverage.
Some viewers didn’t care about the coverage and Tweeted their views about missing their favorite TV shows.
Others gave the nod to KCTV, which led in the ratings from 7-8 p.m. (It should be noted that KCTV and KSHB share the same helicopter. However, KSHB is the only station with access to copter pilot Captain Gregg Bourdon. KCTV receives only the video feed.)
Fox 4 found itself on the outside looking in since the station had no access to a helicopter.
Part of the coverage debate focuses on ratings and when the story actually broke. Sources at KSHB say the story broke at 6:08 pm.
“That’s when the story was “breaking,” not 6:30 to 7 p.m. as they claim,” says an insider at KSHB. “From 6-6:30 pm we were #1, by far, and Channel 9 was almost dead last.”
A KMBC insider says its helicopter and pilot Johnny Rowlands were first on the scene before the fire department arrived, and that KSHB’s copter likely didn’t arrive until 15-20 minutes later. However, KSHB has copter shots time-stamped at 6:09 p.m. that dispute that claim.
KMBC landed a huge rating of 11.1 and an 18 share between 6-7 p.m., and the ABC affiliate kept that ratings lead throughout much of the 7-10 p.m. coverage with a 9.5/14 average.
In fact, at the 10 p.m. news period KMBC recorded a 10 share/17 rating and KSHB was second—64% behind. KMBC’s continuing “breaking news” coverage earned a 7.0/14 between 10:30 and 11 p.m.
It should be noted that the coverage by the journalists at the Kansas City Star was superb (LINK).
Here are the hourly ratings/share breakdowns:
6 p.m.-7 p.m.
KCTV – 12.0/18
KMBC – 10.9/17
KSHB – 6.8/11
WDAF – 5.4/9
KMBC – 10.0/14
KCTV – 8.6/12
WDAF – 6.5/10
KSHB – 5.1/8
KMBC – 7.5/11
WDAF – 6.2/9
KCTV – 6.1/9
KSHB – 4.2/6