Utahns of any age can mark time by KSL anchors and weather forecasters—Bob Welty, Paul James, Dick Nourse.
They were the dependable characters of bedtime, sandwiched between Love Boat and the Tonight Show. No need to turn the channel.
But now, like Capt. Stubing and Carson, Eyewitness News is passé. Nielsen TV ratings from February sweeps reinforced a cosmic shift in local couch potato habits: Channel 5, the station owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and do I really need to add, the preferred news source of the Mormon faithful?) has slipped into third place, behind KUTV-Channel 2 and KSTU-Channel 13.
One should never read too much into Nielsen ratings, or television news for that matter, but KSL’s decline does raise a question: Is Utah becoming…(how to put this) more diverse?
About the same time Channel 5 salespeople got the bad news about the rates they can charge advertisers, Gallup released its annual “religiosity” study. Utah came in second—behind Bible-thumping Mississippi. Beehive Staters are no slouches; 57 percent are “very religious.” But still, No. 2 has got to be disappointing (and undermines the company line that two out of three Utahns is a church-going Mormon).
Meantime, a group of gay students at Brigham Young University joined the “It Gets Better” campaign with a video of their own. And BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins actually told CNN they won’t be summarily expelled for the their honesty because the current, kinder-gentler interpretation of the school’s honor code is “based on conduct, not on feeling, and if same-gender attraction is only stated, that is not an honor code issue.”
But these, apparently, are different times.
And then this: The news that even GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, the flock’s “White Horse,” isn’t collecting nearly the campaign contributions from fellow churchgoers that he did four years ago. Beehive Staters’ donations to the former Massachusetts governor and self-described savior of the 2002 Winter Games have been cut in half.
What’s next: The Apocalypse?