The July ratings period, which began on June 28, is the least important of the four yearly “books.” The so-called HUT levels (homes using television) are usually way down with the competition from vacations, holidays and outdoor activities, not to mention the predominance of repeats on the major networks.
Judging by the first two weeks, Austin television news teams are not producing the quantity of special reports they do in the other three ratings periods of the year. Of the five I have seen, however, all have been solid: well-shot, well-edited and well-reported.
KXAN-TV’s investigative team has led the way with three excellent stories. Two were reported by lead investigator Chris Willis.
One struck very close to home for all of us who live in neighborhoods or condo developments with homeowner associations (HOAs). Willis reported on the battle between a condo board and residents who are filing suit in an effort to oust the board members and get a full accounting of spending by the board and the property manager.
In another story, Willis told of on a dispute between the Texas Workforce Commission and a man who says a 23-year-old claim against him by the board is bogus. Despite sketchy records from several decades ago which indicated the man had been fired for misappropriation of funds, he claims there was no such job.
Over at KEYE-TV, reporter Lisa Leigh Kelly’s “Wastewatch” report disclosed that fewer than half of all Travis County ambulance patients ever pay for their rides. Kelly interviewed an EMS official who explained that Medicare and Medicaid don’t cover the full cost, leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab.
KVUE-TV’s main feature was a long interview with Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo on his fifth anniversary as chief. In her short time with the station, reporter Jessica Holloway has proven herself to be an excellent interviewer, so the station turned to her once again for the Acevedo sit-down, and once again, she delivered.
The rating period ends on July 25.