Vilsack underestimates Oprah’s ratings in Iowa

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, as ABC’s The Note put it this morning, is one of Hillary Clinton’s "overly enthusiastic" supporters.  (Observers note Vilsack was among those holding a sign and screaming "Turn Up the Heat" during HRC’s speech at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner earlier this month.) 

As you may know, Oprah Winfrey is going to be campaigning with Obama in Iowa on Saturday, December 8, 2007.  In answer to a reporter who asked Vilsack what Oprah’s ratings were in the Hawkeye State, Vilsack told The Washington Times in essence that Oprah’s show probably isn’t as highly rated in Iowa as it is elsewhere since a high percentage of Iowa women work a full-time, out-of-the-home job. 

The Obama campaign has provided the following information in rebuttal, courtesy of KCCI — the Des Moines affiliate which broadcasts The Oprah Winfrey Show (exclamation points were not added by me, but were embedded in the copy as forwarded):

In May 2007 Nielsen Media Research, Oprah had an 8.1 rating/32 share. Out of the Top 100 markets in the country, KCCI’s 8.1 rating was 12th highest, but KCCI’s 32 share was tied for 2nd highest.

A rating is the percentage of all TV households in the Des Moines/Ames DMA (Designated Market Area) tuned to a particular program. A share is the percentage of all TV households using television in the Des Moines/Ames DMA tuned to a particular program.

On average, 40,000 central Iowans watched Oprah each weekday. To put that in perspective, that’s more than WHO-TV’s (NBC) primetime average (38,000) and WOI-TV’s (ABC) primetime average (39,000)!

In closing, I offer this from Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor:  "As you can see, Oprah is a rock star, and her ratings are rock solid."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.