Between its own two stations and one owned by Mission Broadcasting, Nexstar Broadcasting Group is providing services to three network affiliates in DMA #171, Utica-Rome, NY. And come September the company will bring back local news to the market on all three stations.
“We are going to get back in the news game,” declared Nexstar’s market General Manager Steve Merren. That’s been his goal for years and also something frequently requested by viewers and advertisers.
The announcement of the return of local news programming came at a Fox 25th anniversary event held Thursday (3/31) at the Radisson Hotel in Utica. Nexstar owns the local Fox affiliate, WFXV-TV, along with ABC affiliate WUTR-TV. It also provides services to Mission Broadcasting’s WPNY-TV, the MyNetworkTV affiliate.
The new local news programming for all three stations is expected to air by mid-September and will offer news, sports, weather, Doppler radar, local breaking and feature news, and live coverage of select community events. WUTR will air news at 6:00 pm, WPNY will air news at 7:00 pm, WFXV will air news at 10:00 pm and WUTR will again air news at 11:00 pm. All will use a half-hour format. WUTR will also add local cut-ins on “Good Morning America.”
“It has been eight years since local news has been broadcast on WUTR, and viewers have made it known they want us to bring high quality news back to the local market. Fox and ABC are the top two networks in primetime and their highly rated programming will provide solid lead-ins to our new local evening news this fall. As such, the strength of these networks combined with our additional community content and local programming will provide attractive marketing solutions to our advertisers and we believe this is a win-win scenario for our viewers, the community at large and local businesses,” said Merren.
“Conversations with viewers and advertisers continually revealed a need for quality local news and community content in Utica. As our community grows and becomes more diverse, we are raising our commitment to providing the most relevant, topical and progressive programming for our viewers and we will advance that initiative through the production of the market’s most compelling and informative local news programming,” added Nexstar COO Timothy Busch.
The new news operation will be competing with Smith Media’s WKTV-TV, which has the market’s NBC and CW affiliations.
RBR-TVBR observation: More proof for the naysayers in Washington that consolidation in smaller markets actually leads to more local news, not less. Those folks need to get out of The Beltway once in a while.