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Local TV
By the Project For Excellence In Journalism



Bond credit rating: In investment, the bond credit rating assesses the credit worthiness of a corporation’s debt issues. It is analogous to credit ratings for individuals and countries. The credit rating is a financial indicator to potential investors of debt securities such as bonds. These are assigned by credit rating agencies such as Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch to have letter designations (such as AAA, B, CC), which represent the quality of a bond. Bond ratings below BBB/Baa are called junk bonds.

Broadcast coverage area: The geographic area that receives a signal from an originating television station.

Corporate/financial buyer: Buyer that is looking for a financial investment in a company, is more concerned with a return on equity and investment.

Cost-Per-Thousand (CPM): The cost of reaching 1,000 homes or individuals with a specific advertising message. According to the Television Advertising Bureau, CPM is a standard advertising measure to compare the relative cost efficiency of different programs, stations or media.

Coverage: The percentage of homes or persons receiving a particular broadcast signal within a specific geographic area.

Cross-ownership rule: A rule that restricts companies from owning properties across media in the same market. It disallows the ownership of a television station and daily newspaper in all but the 20 largest media markets.

Debt load: The total amount of debt a company has accumulated.  It is a dollar figure that represents the total financial situation when referring to income in comparison to debts.

Designated Market Area (DMA) : Represents an exclusive geographic area of counties in which the home market stations are estimated to have the largest quarter-hour audience share (as defined by Nielsen).

Digital Television (DTV): Generic term that refers to all digital television formats, including high-definition television (HDTV) and standard-definition television (SDTV).

Digital Video Recorder (DVR): Refers to digital video recorder, also known as personal video recorder. According to the Television Advertising Bureau, a DVR or PVR records broadcasts on a hard disk drive that can then be played back at a later time (this is known as time shifting). A DVR often enables smart programming, in which the device records an entire series or programming defined by keywords, genre, or personnel; and offers pause control over “live” broadcasts.

Duopoly: An instance where two stations in the same designated market area are owned by the same party. Though once forbidden by the FCC, the rules surrounding duopolies have been relaxed in recent years, according to the Television Advertising Bureau.
Early evening newscasts: Local affiliate newscasts between 5 and 7 p.m. in the Central and Mountain time zones and 6 to 8 p.m. in the Eastern and Pacific zones.

Failed-station clause: Precondition for newspaper-broadcast cross ownership or the common ownership of two television stations in the same market. Under the clause, a station must be in bankruptcy or ceased operation for four months before the buyer can seek approval for a sale by the FCC.

High Definition Television (HDTV): Various technical systems providing a finer and wider TV picture and usually twice as many scanning lines as standard TV. According to the Television Advertising Bureau, it provides the highest quality picture and sound simultaneously with a substantial data delivery service.

Independent Station: Stations not affiliated with any network; usually refers to commercial stations only.

Late news: Local affiliate newscasts from 11 to 11:30 p.m. in the Eastern and Pacific zones and 10 to 10:30 p.m. in the Central and Mountain zones. These newscasts generally follow prime-time entertainment programming and precede late-night talk shows including The Tonight Show (NBC) and The Late Show with David Letterman (CBS); ABC late newscasts are followed by Nightline.  Fox stations generally air news at 10 p.m. in the Eastern and Pacific zones and 9 p.m. in the Central and Mountain zones.

Lead-in: A program that immediately precedes another program on the same station or network. (Lead-out is the program that immediately follows another program.)

Local news service (A.K.A. content pool): Partnership between two or more local news stations to generate general video news coverage generally with the intention to reduce newsgathering costs for the individual stations.

Local portal: Presents information from diverse sources in a unified way. Apart from the standard search engine feature, local portals offer other services such as news, information, social networking and entertainment. Portals provide a way for enterprises to provide a consistent look and feel with access control and procedures for multiple applications, which otherwise would have been different entities altogether.

Local spot: The advertising purchased in a market and aimed only at the audience in that market.

Midday: Local newscasts that normally air between noon and 1 p.m. Part of the daytime programming daypart. (See Daypart.)

Mobile DTV: Technology that allows the transmission of over-the-air broadcast programming to cellphones and other hand-held devices.

Morning news: Local newscasts before or following national morning news programming on ABC, CBS and NBC and newscasts on Fox and unaffiliated stations that air any time between 4 and 9 a.m. (See Daypart.)

Multicasting: Broadcasting several programs at once via DTV on a single channel. According to the Television Advertising Bureau, , a viewer might be able to receive two programs at the same time, and choose the program preferred.
Multimedia journalist (A.K.A. backpack journalist, one-man band, mobile journalist (“mo-jo”): A local news reporter who performs a range of tasks related to the reporting, shooting and editing of news stories for broadcast, Web or mobile content delivery. The availability and ease of use of inexpensive video cameras, laptop editing applications, and cost cutting has spurred an increase in the use multimedia journalists.

National spot: The advertising time bought by national advertisers in several markets.

Network-affiliated station: Local television stations affiliated with one of the four major national broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.

Open Mobile Video Coalition: An alliance of U.S. commercial and public broadcasters formed to accelerate the development and rollout of mobile DTV products and services.

Owned and Operated (O & O) station: A television station that is owned by the network with which it is associated.

Personal People Meter (PPM): Hardware currently being tested by Arbitron. The PPM is a pager-sized device that is worn by consumers throughout the day to automatically detect inaudible codes that radio and television broadcasters and cable networks embed in the audio portion of their programming, according to the Television Advertising Bureau,

Persons Using Television (PUT): According to the Television Advertising Bureau, a PUT is a measurement of the total number of people in the target audience who are watching television for five minutes or longer during an average quarter-hour. PUT is generally expressed as a percent.

Rating: A percentage measure of total households or population owning TVs who are tuned to a particular program or station at a specific time (e.g., a six rating for women 18-49 means 6 percent of all women 18-49 in the defined geographic area were viewing that station or program), according to the Television Advertising Bureau.

Rating Point: A value equal to one percent of a population or universe, such as the population of a Designated Market Area.

Retransmission consent: An option granted to television stations as part of the law that granted such stations the option to elect must-carry rights. Under retransmission consent, a full-power U.S. television station may elect to negotiate with a cable system operator for carriage of its broadcast programming. A station may propose that the cable operator pay cash to carry the station or ask for any other form of consideration. The cable operator may refuse the broadcaster’s proposal and not carry the station or offer a counter-proposal. Broadcast stations have similar rights with respect to satellite television providers like DirecTV and Dish Network.

Reverse compensation: The practice of a commercial television station paying a television network in exchange for being permitted to affiliate with that network. The word “reverse” refers to the historical practice of networks paying stations to compensate them for the airtime networks use to run network advertisements during their programming.

Share: The Television Advertising Bureau defines share as the percent of households (household share) or persons (P2+ share) using television who are tuned to a specific program, network or station at a specific time. 

Strategic buyer: Usually from a similar industry and typically has a specific reason for wanting to buy a particular company. The strategic buyer will frequently be willing to pay a premium price in order to obtain a company possessing that quality.

Spot TV: The advertising time purchased from individual stations.

Sweeps: Ratings surveys in which local markets are simultaneously measured by a rating service. Nielsen Media Research measures television audiences to help the industry determine advertising rates for television stations. Sweeps months are generally February, May, July and November. In anticipation of the federally mandated switch to digital television in 2009, Nielsen elected to change the winter sweep month from February to March. 

Television Household: An estimate of the number of households that have one or more television sets. 

Timeslot: A designated time on a television schedule for a particular program or type of programming.

Total Audience: According to the Television Advertising Bureau, total audience is the percent of households tuning to all or to any portion of a program for at least 6 minutes.

Viewership: Collectively, the viewers of a television program.