CBS News Texas surveying viewers about morning newscast revamp

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CBS-owned KTVT in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, has been asking viewers for feedback on how it might change up its morning newscast.

“CBS Texas is transforming our morning newscast into an audience-driven, interactive experience,” reads the introduction to the survey. 

It appears the station, which brands on-air as CBS News Texas and CBS Texas, has at least some of its personalities promoting the survey on social media.

“Do you like what you’re watching on the news? What if you could design the newscast you’d like to watch? Well now you can!” KTVT meteorologist Scott Padgett posted on Instagram along with the URL and QR code to the survey. NewscastStudio is not posting a link to the survey in order to prevent the results from becoming muddied by  out-of-market data.

A screenshot of one of the questions in the survey KTVT is distributing to viewers.

The survey is hosted by Qualtrics and appears to be targeted mainly at morning news.

“As part of CBS Texas’ commitment to evolving with our community’s needs, we are combining a formalized research study with a fun viewer survey to gather insights for our upcoming reimagined morning newscast,” said Raquel Amparo, president and general manager of CBS Texas, in a statement.

“We take serving our communities with what they need seriously, and we like the idea of including them in our process. We understand that our audience’s viewing patterns and preferences are rapidly changing, and we are listening. We look forward to rolling out a new morning show that suits their needs, by making them part of the build,” said Amparo.

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NewscastStudio has reviewed the survey and extracted the various questions contained it, which are summarized below.

  • “How much time do you spend catching up on the news in the morning?”: Users pick from “less than 5 minutes,” “5-10 minutes,” “10-20 minutes” or “20+ minutes”
  • “Which item do you use most often to catch up on news in the morning? Select one.” Survey takers are asked to pick from a variety of options, including “computer,” “smart appliance” or “TV”
  • “What do you watch on TV to catch up on news in the morning? Select all that apply.” Users can pick from “business news shows,” “cable news shows,” “international news programs,” “local news stations,” “morning talk shows,” “national news programs” or “other, please specify”
  • “How often do you get information about morning traffic on TV?” with choices ranging from “never” to “every day”
  • Users are also asked to rank 11 news topics in order of “importance to you” — with items such as “politics,” “positive / uplifting stories” and “world news”
  • “What’s the tone (i.e. vibe, mood) of your ideal morning newscast?” is up next, with “Casual: Slower pace, longer segments, human interest stories, entertainment, lifestyle,” “Dynamic energy: Lots of stories, fast-paced segments, breaking news, headlines and sports,” “Essentials only: Today’s weather, current traffic, top local headlines, top national headlines,” “Modern: Fast-paced, memorable moments, trending topics, driven by viewer interest”
  • The next question focuses on weather, with users asked to check off which items should be included in a morning forecast, with options ranging from 3- and 7-day forecasts, pollen forecasts, UV index, hour-by-hour breakdown, current conditions, weather trivia, local radar, today’s high and low temperatures, rain forecast and air quality.
  • Users are then given eight headlines and asked to rank them in the order they think they should appear in a show, which is compared to how a producer stacks a show — choices range from car accidents, the Israel-Hamas War, investigations, crime, weather and, of course, “Waterskiing squirrel at local festival”
  • Next, users are shown the headline “A longtime California company is relocating to Dallas-Fort Worth” and asked to rank how the story should be covered, with options including “fast,” described as 15 seconds, a headline plus 1-2 sentences, “in-depth,” which is outlined as being a 3 minute reporter feature with analysis
  • “What kind of clothing should morning news anchors & hosts wear on TV?” with the options “Activewear / Relaxed,” “Casual / Trendy,” “Professional / Office” and “Business Suits”

These questions cover a wide variety of areas and are sometimes surprisingly in-depth; attempting to take a TV news concept such as stacking and allowing the viewer to participate.

It also is interesting that the survey specifically asks users about traffic segments, as mobile and vehicle-based GPS apps continued to invade that space. Also of note are the questions about wardrobe and weather features.

Of course, just because a topic is mentioned in the survey does not necessarily mean that it will ultimately affect the newscast’s formatting.

While the into to the survey indicates the station “is” making changes to its newscast, the exact extent of any changes is unclear and likely will be driven, at least in part, by the results of this survey.

Gray Television’s in-house consulting team (known as the Strategic Insights & Activation Team) began providing consulting services for CBS-owned stations in April, which may have also triggered the survey. 

A survey such as this likely would not be considered scientific and KTVT noted it will combine findings form the “fun” survey with more formal research.

There have been reports of other CBS-owned stations also overhauling their morning newscasts.

Updated to include comment from KTVT.

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