'Long live the February sweeps!'

That's the battle cry at KGW (8), where the Salt Lake City Olympics helped Portland's NBC affiliate strengthen its dominance in local news and prime time. The Nielsen figures are in, and for KGW they're as glittery as Sarah Hughes' gold.

It's the first time in a quarter-century that a Portland TV station has won each and every time period its news programs appear within. That's morning, noon and night, if you're keeping score.

Oh, and that slogan over at KATU (2) about being 'The News Leader'? Fuhgetaboutit! Maybe 10 years ago, but not now. There isn't a KATU newscast that's No. 1 in the ratings, raising the question of whether KATU should be calling itself 'The News Loser.'

From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., KGW, with a 22 share (a share is the percentage of viewers watching a channel), holds an ever-widening lead over KOIN (6) with its 13 share and KATU's 12 share.

At 11 p.m., KGW finished with a whopping 33 share, thanks to the Olympics lead-in. That dwarfs the 11 share being put up by both KATU and KOIN.

On the other hand, there are three hours of the broadcast day that KGW doesn't win for the month Ñ at 10 a.m. ('Iyanla,' which is going away in April) and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (the underachieving soaps 'Days of Our Lives' and 'Passions'). Guess who wins the ratings game at 1 p.m.? Good old 'Matlock' on KPTV (12).

KGW has a whole lot going for it right now, not the least of which is being owned by a company Ñ Dallas-based Belo Ñ that is not in danger of being bought out, traded, sold, merged or forced to sell any of its stations (at least as of this writing). By contrast, the future of every other network affiliate in Portland is in serious doubt.

Expect some affiliate swaps in Portland sometime soon. And if the Federal Communications Commission decides to drop its cap on how many stations a single company can own Ñ one possible result of last month's U.S. Appeals Court decision that caps are a no-no Ñ all heck could break loose.

Meanwhile, rumors swirl that axed KOIN anchor Shirley Hancock might be resurfacing at KGW.

But the station's freeze on hiring Ñ and salaries Ñ is still in effect. So additions anytime soon would be a shock É and would theoretically require a subtraction to balance the scales.

How well are things going for Channel 8? Even the Trail Blazers may be coming back from the ratings doldrums. Last week's game against the Wizards attracted almost 100,000 homes and drew a 15 share.

Yep, KGW is on a major ratings roll, and now the real fun begins: watching the competition try to catch up.

Pete Schulberg is host of 'Portland's Morning News' on KPAM (860 AM). Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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