The argument was:

"Over the past year, our late night news program has devoted increased time to national news and less time to weather and local news. During this time period, most of the complaints received from viewers were concerned with our station’s coverage of local and weather news. In addition, local businesses that used to advertise during our late-night news programs have just cancelled their advertising contracts with us. Therefore, in order to attract more viewers to the program and to avoid losing any further advertising revenues, we should restore the time devoted to weather and local news to its former level.”

Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument."

My response:

The core argument expressed in the statement is that advertising revenues have declined due to programming changes that shifted the focus from local news to national news. The only evidence presented to support the argument is that the majority of viewer complaints since the programming shift have been about the lack of coverage of local news and weather. No mention is made of any indication by the advertisers as to why they have cancelled their contracts. In order to properly evaluate the cause/effect relationship between programming and advertising revenue, it is necessary to research and understand why advertisers have cancelled contracts.
There are several possible scenarios arising from information gathered from local businesses. First, if the local businesses feel that they are no longer seeing a benefit from advertising with the station because they are hearing from customers that they have stopped watching (It is not immediately clear if the local station has the ability to gather data on number of viewers), this would be evidence in support of restoring the programming to the previous content format.
Alternatively, if local businesses are reducing their overall advertising spend across all formats, including local television stations, this could signal that there is a greater force at work in the economy and therefore unrelated to content progamming.