Ratings On the Block: New Nielsen Deal, As Exec Readies Exit


The owner of television stations in Louisville; downstate Illinois; and the small city of Lima, Ohio has extended its agreement for local TV measurement services with Nielsen.

The multi-year renewal ensures that all Block Communications stations will have access to all Nielsen data, including local consumer information and insights through Nielsen Scarborough.

Block Communications is a Toledo, Ohio-based media company founded in 1900 that is the present-day owner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade. It also operates Buckeye Broadband, with 150,000 subscribers across Toledo and Sandusky, Ohio. It even has a data services firm, Telesystem.

Block’s television division, interestingly, does not include TV stations in its home market. Rather, it is the owner of WLIO-8 in Lima, some 80 miles to the south of Toledo. Block has owned the NBC affiliate since 1972, and thanks to technological advances added over the years WOHL-CD 35 as a dual CBS/ABC affiliate, while WLIO’s conversion to digital broadcasting allowed Block to add FOX affiliation to WLIO’s DT2 signal.

As such, every broadcast TV network serving Lima is offered by Block.

Nielsen data for those four broadcast signals will be continuing, thanks to this deal.

Also included are FOX affiliate WDRB-41, The CW Network affiliate WBKI-58, and “WMYO,” which uses WBKI-58.3 to offer MyNetworkTV programming in Louisville via a post-spectrum auction channel-sharing arrangement; and NBC affiliate WAND-17 in Decatur, Ill., serving the Champaign-Springfield market.

“Block Communications has a long-standing relationship with Nielsen, and we are happy to continue that partnership in our ever-changing business,” said Block VP of Broadcast Operations and WDRB GM Bill Lamb.

Lamb is exiting the company on July 5, according to an internal e-mail obtained by the Gannett-owned Louisville Courier-Journal. 

Lamb’s next destination: “a top 10 market station.”

“Decisions like these are always difficult, but I have been made an offer to run a television station in a top 10 market and I couldn’t turn down the challenge,” Lamb wrote. “WDRB has never been stronger and I think I am leaving it with a brilliant future.”

Lamb has been with WDRB since 2002.


For the last five years, the total news share for Cox Media Group’s WHIO-7 has averaged 74% of news viewing. With the Dayton Daily News and News/Talk WHIO-AM & FM in its stable, the company enjoys an unprecedented advantage in this Miami Valley city. But WHIO-TV wanted more — specifically, communities in the Lima, Ohio DMA. The Lima request was contested, and the FCC has just ruled on the matter.