WFFT-TV Fort Wayne plots post-Fox broadcasting


Nexstar’s WFFT-TV Ft. Wayne, IN is promoting itself as the market’s first “Full HD” local station as it goes independent on August 1st. That’s the day that Fox moves to Granite Broadcasting’s WISE-TV.

The revamped station is branding as “WFFT Local.” The station says it will bring viewers in DMA #107 “more local news content, new and exciting feature entertainment, hit prime-time programming and blockbuster movies.” Nexstar also announced that all WFFT Local programming will be broadcast in full High Definition beginning October 1, “making it the first television station in the market to offer full HD broadcasts of locally produced news and special programming.

“Launching WFFT Local reflects our deep commitment to the community and focus on addressing the interests of our local viewing audiences. WFFT Local is building upon its highly successful and award-winning news product and immediately increasing the amount of local news content and staff. In addition, WFFT Local will remain the ‘go to’ source for viewers on the web and through mobile devices for in-depth reporting and up-to-the-minute weather,” said VP/GM Bill Ritchhart.

“Our significant investment in upgrading our equipment and broadcasts to HD also highlights our long-term community focus as WFFT Local will bring viewers a terrific range of hit prime-time shows, blockbuster movies and other high quality entertainment programming to complement our market-leading news content. With our focus on local programming, WFFT Local is creating highly compelling programming not only for our viewers but advertisers alike,” he added.

Here’s the news, programming and primetime line-up announced by WFFT:
On August 1, WFFT LOCAL’s top-rated, First News at 10 daily Monday-Friday primetime newscast will expand to a full hour. Beginning October 1, WFFT LOCAL will be the first broadcast station in the market to air its newscasts and all available programming in full HD. By October 1, WFFT will also expand its First News at 10 to a full hour at 10:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. As a result, Fort Wayne viewers will have a full hour of local news seven days a week in primetime at 10:00 p.m. Additionally, WFFT LOCAL will debut Fort Wayne’s first Sunday night live weekly sports wrap-up show, The Locker Room, on Sundays at 11:00 p.m. The Locker Room will recap the week’s local, regional and national sporting events, covering everything from local high school sports to local professional teams and the biggest professional contests from around the country.

WFFT’s News Director Jim Blue said, “WFFT LOCAL will build upon the strength of our leading news coverage with the market’s best anchors and reporters and through the deployment of cutting-edge technology. With the enhanced schedule, WFFT LOCAL will have more opportunities to showcase our content and best-of-class broadcast professionals to the largest group of viewers at 10:00 p.m. every night of the week.

“WFFT-TV serves a region that is rich with talented and exciting amateur and professional sports teams. We have an incredible opportunity to bring viewers the added local and professional sports coverage that they demand in full HD. We will feature leading high school athletics, top college and professional sports programming throughout the week and on Sunday evenings recap the favorite sports moments of the week live on The Locker Room.”

August will also mark the debut of WFFT LOCAL’s exciting new weekday primetime line-up including nationally-programmed entertainment news beginning with Extra! at 8:00 p.m., followed by The Insider at 8:30 p.m. Viewers can tune in Monday through Friday at 9:00 p.m. for the Emmy Award winning crime-solving drama Law & Order SVU. Airing every Saturday night beginning at 8:00 p.m. WFFT LOCAL will feature its own Saturday Crimetime line-up, with the popular hit dramas Cold Squad followed by DaVinci’s Inquest at 9:00 p.m. Later in the weekend, WFFT LOCAL will also present Family Night at the Movies featuring hit family titles every Sunday night.

Bill Ritchhart added, “WFFT’s weekday primetime schedule leads with current, day and date newsmagazine programming featuring the latest celebrity, pop culture, and entertainment insights. Our weekend programming will be exclusive, exciting and in many ways, a great opportunity to bring families together for local family viewing only on WFFT LOCAL. We are raising our commitment to providing the most relevant, topical, and engaging programming to our Fort Wayne viewers and we are advancing that initiative by being the first to broadcast in full High Definition.”

Coming this fall, WFFT’s primetime programming will welcome the top-rated, hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory to its programming schedule, weekdays from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. beginning September 19.

Ritchhart noted, “Our initiatives extend to all our advertisers as we are providing more local marketing solutions than ever before. In addition to our exciting first-run primetime programming and enhanced news, weather and sports offerings, WFFT LOCAL is the first and only fully functional HD platform and we believe HD commercial playback offers an attractive opportunity for advertisers. In combination with and Fort Wayne Now web and mobile platforms, WFFT LOCAL clearly reflects our commitment to quality programming and advertising solutions, and underscores our promise to the community to address the changing dynamics of local viewer interests.”

With 24/7 programming, and the market’s only full HD broadcast, WFFT LOCAL will continue to be available on the same cable, satellite and over-the-air channels, as it has been.