Meteorologist Albert Ramon, left, Yvonne Nava and Bryan Mays are Austin’s most-watched morning news team.

Austin TV stations relied on stories on dirty restaurants, deadbeat landlords and even an interview with a death-row inmate to get viewers to tune in during the February “sweeps” period.

In the end, KXAN and KVUE came out on top, according to the latest Nielsen ratings.

ABC affiliate KVUE led the way mornings and at 10 p.m., while NBC affiliate KXAN was No. 1 middays and at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

KVUE has been a dominant force in the mornings for several years now, but the margin of victory was a bit narrower this time around. At 4:30 a.m., for example, the station essentially tied with Fox-owned KTBC.

Middays, KXAN took first place, edging out KVUE. KTBC was a close third. Barely 1,000 households separated the three stations.

KXAN continued to lead at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. in February, with its news team once again drawing a larger audience than the second- and third-place stations combined.

With an estimated 46,675 households tuned in, “KXAN News at 6” was the city’s most-watched newscast last month, regardless of time period.

In the late news race, KTBC was, as usual, the frontrunner at 9 p.m., while KVUE was No. 1 at 10 p.m.

Austin’s next sweeps period is in May.

February Nielsen ratings                                                  

Each ratings point equals 7,293 Central Texas households. The first number is ratings points, the second is share (the percentage of in-use TV sets tuned to a particular channel) and the third is total households.

4:30 a.m.

KTBC: .9 / 8.4 / 6,564 KVUE: .9 / 8 / 6,564 KXAN: .6 / 5.9 / 4,376 KEYE: .2 / 1.5 / 1,459

5 a.m.

KVUE: 1.6 / 12.1 / 11,669 KTBC: 1.3 / 9.9 / 9,481 KXAN: 1.3 / 9.9 / 9,481 KEYE: .3 / 2.4 / 2,188

6 a.m.

KVUE: 3.3 / 17.1 / 24,067 KXAN: 2.8 / 14.6 / 20,420 KTBC: 2 / 10.7 / 14,586 KEYE: .5 / 2.8 / 3,647

7 a.m.

KTBC: 2.1 / 9.3 / 15,315 KNVA: .5 / 2.3 / 3,647

8 a.m.

KTBC: 1.9 / 7.8 / 13,857

9 a.m.

KTBC: 1.3 /5.5 / 9,481 KEYE: .6 / 2.7 / 4,376 (‘We Are Austin’)

11 a.m.

KVUE: 1.7 / 7 / 12,398

Noon

KXAN: 1.8 / 7.1 / 13,127 KTBC: 1.6 / 6.1 / 11,669

12:30 p.m.

KXAN: 1.2 / 4.6 / 8,752 (‘Studio 512’)

5 p.m.

KXAN: 5.8 / 15 / 42,299 KVUE: 3.3 / 8.6 / 24,067 KTBC: 2.4 / 6 / 17,503 KEYE: 1.4 / 3.5 / 10,210

6 p.m.

KXAN: 6.4 / 14.4 / 46,675 KVUE: 4.1 / 9.3 / 29,901 KEYE: 1.9 / 4.3 / 13,857

9 p.m.

KTBC: 2.9 / 5.8 / 21,150 KNVA: 1.2 / 2.3 / 8,752

10 p.m.

KVUE: 5.1 / 11.7 / 37,194 KXAN: 4.1 / 9.2 / 29,901 KEYE: 3.3 / 7.6 / 24,067 KTBC: 2.1 / 4.9 / 15,315

]]