KNBC-TV Channel 4 and KABC-TV Channel 7 renewed their squabbling over ratings this week when KNBC began listing its "Sunday Night Sports" and its preceding 15 minutes of news as two separate programs rather than one and asked the A.C. Nielsen Co. to report the November ratings of these programs individually.
Though both KABC and KCBS-TV Channel 2 already list their Sunday night news and sports programs separately, KABC is demanding that Nielsen refuse to allow the KNBC change because Channel 4 is asking that it be made retroactive to cover the first few weeks of this month's ratings sweeps.
"Sunday Night Sports" with Fred Roggin regularly beats both KABC's and KCBS' similar sports programs in the Nielsen ratings, but the audience for the 11 p.m. news and sportscasts dwindles on all stations during the 30-minute period, thereby lowering the overall rating of the entire newscast when the two segments are listed as one program. By listing them separately, KABC claims, Channel 4 can report a higher rating for the first 15 minutes of news.
A spokeswoman at Channel 4 said Thursday that the programs had been listed separately up until September, when changes in the station's research department precipitated an inadvertent error in the reporting of these segments. She also insisted that the station wants the programs listed separately because they truly are two separate programs, not because Roggin's show drags down the ratings for news.