BEST TV NEWSCASTER Phoenix 2005 - Kent Dana
If local TV is a numbers game, Kent Dana wins hands down. Take, for instance, the five-year deal he signed with Channel 5 last October, rumored to be for an astonishing $650,000 a year. In May's Nielsen ratings, a month after Dana officially defected from NBC affiliate KPNX Channel 12 to take over the anchor chair at CBS-5, KPHO was up 35 percent in its ratings from a year earlier. In July, the Nielsens showed an additional 21 percent increase. And KPHO's 10 p.m. newscast, which four years ago was fifth in the local rankings (that's out of five stations, by the way), is just one point away from the top spot with Dana on board. "We've been on a growth pattern for a few years," says CBS-5 general manager Steve Hammel, who refuses to confirm Dana's allegedly astronomical salary. "But Kent has certainly accelerated that pattern. What people like about him most is that he could be your next-door neighbor. He just has this aura about him that is very down-to-earth." What do we like most about Kent? It's pretty simple: As opposed to the competition, he seems to enjoy reporting the news more than just listening to the sound of his own voice.