Just before posting my previous blog item, about CBC Here & Now's jump in the ratings, I sent a note to Fred Hutton at NTV.
I asked Hutton if he was concerned about Here & Now's spike in the ratings, and if they would be changing course in any way, in response.
I received a brief reply from Hutton over the weekend. And if he is concerned, he certainly isn't showing it.
"In response to your inquiry about the 2008 BBM fall ratings, we are very pleased with the outcome," Hutton said. "The Book clearly shows that NTV News remains the dominant supper-hour news show in Newfoundland And Labrador. While our share has decreased, we still have an average audience of 126 thousand viewers for the first half hour two-and-a-half times our competition. We also maintained an audience of more than 50 thousand viewers for the only live local noon hour and Sunday newscasts in the province."
Hutton was vague about the possibility of changes to the program, to prevent any further loss of viewers.
"At NTV News we are constantly trying to improve our show," he said. "That goal will never change."
Incidentally, Hutton took over as News Director at NTV in August of last year, after former news director Jim Furlong stepped down voluntarily. I was on vacation at the time, but did send a message to Furlong, asking what had happened. It turns out he was on vacation too. Here is his reply:
"I'm still with NTV. I am changing my role and doing some other things. I'm also on vacation. I'll be back in a few weeks. I hate Blackberries. My fingers are too fat."
My apologies to Jim, who was probably hoping I wouldn't use that last bit. But it reveals his wry sense of humour, so I just couldn't resist.