WGAL newscast won't cut in to network shows
There is some confusion around WGAL-TV 8 broadcasting news at 10 p.m.
Several people have asked me whether the station is cutting out NBC programming for news.
The answer is no.
Starting Feb. 4, WGAL will provide late-night news an hour earlier (10 p.m.) seven days a week, but it will be broadcast on WGAL 8.2 (over-the-air) and on cable channels 248 (Comcast) and 136 (Blue Ridge), so this will have zero impact on NBC's primetime lineup.
The change will affect programming on This TV (WGAL 8.2), which runs classic TV shows and old movies, but the hit to programming should be minor.
For example, on Feb. 4, This TV is airing "Money Kings," a 1999 film starring Peter Falk, Lauren Holly and Timothy Hutton. I never heard of this movie, which doesn't mean it isn't good, but it wasn't nominated for any Oscars, either.
John Baldwin, of WGAL creative services, said anchors Ron Martin and Janelle Stelson will deliver the 10 p.m. newscasts on weeknights, then take a 30-minute break before delivering the news as usual at 11 p.m. on WGAL 8. On weekends, look for Jim Sinkovitz to provide the news.
"These will be two distinct newscasts with different features in both, so no duplication," Baldwin said.
Baldwin didn't say this, but the 10 p.m. newscast will compete directly with WPMT-TV Fox 43's News at 10, which appears to be a return shot in response to other networks expanding their news coverage.
WPMT has 10 p.m. news and used to brandish the slogan "At 10, it's news; at 11, it's history." That was until they added a newscast at 11 p.m. more than a year ago. WPMT also runs local news 24 hours a day, re-airing its latest newscasts on digital channel 43.3 (over-the-air) and on cable channels 244 (Comcast) and 126 (Blue Ridge).
WLYH-TV CW 15 simulcasts WHP-TV CBS 21 news at 10 p.m. In August, WPVI-TV ABC 6 in Philadelphia started airing its "Action News" on WPHL-TV 11. (Prior to that, WCAU-TV NBC 10 broadcast its news on WPHL.) And Philly's WTXF-TV Fox 29 has delivered 10 p.m. since 1986.
Granted, the Philly stations aren't as much competition, but I heard rumblings for a while that WGAL was thinking of adding news at 10 p.m., and it could be a ratings blow for other broadcast news outlets in the region. The Lancaster station has the technology, the staff and the outlet (its second digital channel) to do it.
As a viewer and consumer, competition is good because it makes everyone raise their game.
In recent years, newscasts have hit the airwaves at 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., as well as early in the morning. Who knew 20 years ago that news would be such a revenue maker for stations?
Sports talk: I mentioned two weeks ago that WIP-AM 610 moved its Philadelphia sports talk entirely to WYSP-FM 94.1, and ESPN radio no longer broadcasts in our market.
Here is what we do have. WLPA-AM 1490 has Fox Sports Radio; WPDC-AM 1600 and WOYK-AM 1350 broadcast Yahoo Sports. WIOV-AM 1240 has CBS Radio. Where you are in the county will determine which of these stations you can get clearly.
76ers on radio: Sometime this month WPDC-AM 1600 will begin broadcasting Philadelphia 76ers basketball games, according to a station official.
Vince Grande, the station president, said the team called him and asked if he'd be willing to air its NBA games. WPDC would be one of only four radio stations providing Sixers coverage, Grande said.
Staff writer Eric Stark discusses trends and tidbits in broadcast media each week in the Sunday News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.