At 7pm Eastern on January 1, a new source for news targeting MVPD cord-cutters made its debut.
It’s an offering also designed to bring information to those who have tuned out the biased Talking Heads of U.S. Politics on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News.
Introducing NewsNet, which uses a programming philosophy with radio at its roots.
Developed by a team responsible for building 24/7 local news channels across the country, Michigan-based NewsNet aims to bring the success of these local channels to the national level.
It’s also making it very clear that NewsNet aims “to break away from the opinion-based programming that’s become prominent on 24-hour news channels in recent years.”
To accomplish this, NewsNet has embraced a traditional “news wheel” format, used with much success over 50 years at stations including WCBS-AM in New York.
Headlines will provide viewers an update of the top news stories at :00 and :30 each hour, followed by a national weather overview, sports and feature stories from across America, which may be preempted in some markets by a local news update.
Speaking exclusively to RBR+TVBR, NewsNet President Eric Wotila said, “We have had a very good launch, with excellent feedback from affiliates and from viewers. Our goal was to provide a traditional news channel without the shouting and without the banter. Viewers find this new format refreshing, with no-nonsense delivery.”
As NewsNet just launched, it is now ready to beef up its overnight presence, and is ready to add staff; as of now late-night and early-morning updates are being produced for NewsNet.
That’s because Wotila wanted to “start conservatively,” and within its means with
“beefing things up” if everything met projections.
That appears to be happening already. Since Tuesday, affiliation agreements have been inked that will put NewsNet by month’s end on KVBC-13.9 in Fresno; WQXT-22.7 in Jacksonville, with a tower in St. Augustine, Fla.; and on WYBN-14 in Albany, N.Y.
WYBN, with a signal that can be seen as far south as Dutchess County, will take on NewsNet next week, adding it to a yet-to-be-determined multicast channel.
The list of launch stations for NewsNet is as follows:
One station is deleted from this list: WWCI-10, a Vero Beach, Fla., station serving the West Palm Beach DMA.
As RBR+TVBR reported on August 14, 2018, WWCI is being acquired by HC2 Holdings, the fast-growing entity led by Philip Falcone, from V One Broadcasting.
V One is the party that signed the NewsNet affiliation agreement. With the station’s sale, WWCI did not debut NewsNet despite a contractual agreement to do so. Wotila tells RBR+TVBR his operation is already talking with another South Florida broadcaster about affiliation in not only West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Vero Beach but also the bigger Miami-Fort Lauderdale market.
For now, viewers that can’t get NewsNet on a local station can view the network via a smartphone app available from the iTunes and Google Play stores. An OTT app launched Friday (1/4) on Roku, with apps on Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV coming later this month.
With affiliates in 18 markets across the country, NewsNet’s signal already reaches approximately 30 million potential viewers via antenna – just under 10% of the nation’s population.
“Throughout 2019, we want to work with additional stations to expand the reach of NewsNet,” he explained, “We’re actively talking to potential affiliates on a daily basis. Ultimately, we’d love to see NewsNet available over-the-air to the entire country.”
Next up for Wotila: An appearance at NATPE Miami, where he hopes to ink additional affiliates.
Stations interested in becoming NewsNet affiliates can email [email protected] to learn more.