Chicago stations team up


If you call a press conference in Chicago now, you may have only one TV crew show up – but that will still cover most of the broadcast landscape. Four of the market’s five largest TV news operations are now sharing commodity news footage.

Fox Television Stations and NBC Local Media announced back in November that they would be creating joint operations to gather and distribute general market video coverage in all of the markets where the two have competing stations. And they said the service would be offered to other local broadcasters as well.

In Chicago, that has really taken hold. CBS O&O WBBM-TV and Tribune Company’s WGN-TV announced that they will be joining the local news service along with NBC’s WMAQ-TV and Fox’s WFLD-TV. That leaves only ABC O&O WLS-TV as a major Chicago English-language news operation not participating.

According to Chicago Tribune media columnist Phil Rosenthal, WMAQ sports producer Tony Capriolo will be managing editor of the independent local news service, which will be based in the same building as WBBM. Each of the four stations will provide two news crews and an assignment editor for the service. They’ll remain on the individual stations’ payrolls, while Capriolo will be employed by the news service.

RBR/TVBR observation: This just makes a lot of sense and we are seeing it happen in quite a few markets. Scripps CEO Rich Boehne mentioned it as a priority for his company in his quarterly conference call this week. Crews not tied up shooting video of a staged news event alongside several other crews are free to be assigned to covering stories which will make your newscast unique.