FIRST ON THE BLOG (other than WFAA.com): Gannett could have saved TXCN. They could have made TXCN emerge as a better channel. Instead, it’s closing time for the statewide newschannel.
After 16 years of delivering breaking news and the latest weather forecasts to a statewide audience in Texas, TXCN will be officially coming to an end on April 1st. And that is April Fool’s Day, but this shutdown is no joke.
TXCN was a 24-hour statewide newschannel that was launched on January 1st, 1999 from their offices in Downtown Dallas on Young Street. Launched on that day by Belo Corporation, the network relied on delivering statewide Texas news coverage, along with the resources of WFAA 8 in Dallas, KHOU 11 in Houston, KENS 5 in San Antonio and KVUE 24 in Austin. In December of 2004, however, TXCN had to cut 45 of its 75 staffers. Programming was scaled down big time as a result and for the past 10 years, TXCN has been running nothing but repackaged news content from its 4 sister stations. Lack of distribution on cable was the result and all original programming, with the exception of weather segments and occasional original programming, was dropped.
Here is video of a segment from 2004 that was posted on WFAA.com. I recorded it and posted it on YouTube for better viewing. Plus, it would also make sure it remains on YouTube, in case the story gets taken down on WFAA 8’s website and is reserved for historical, educational and research purposes:
When Belo sold its media assets to Gannett, the company kept TXCN operating and most thought that Gannett would have TXCN emerge from its dark days and bring it back as a statewide newschannel that everyone would finally watch again. Unfortunately, that never happened and Gannett kept operating the channel with repackaged content for another year and 3 months. And now, after all this time and with Belo calling the lack of distribution on cable making the channel a failure back in 2004, TXCN will finally sign-off for good on April 1st, 2015. That means for the first time in 16 years, there will be no statewide newschannel in the state.
However, there are still 24-hour local newschannels in the state, thanks to Time Warner Cable News in Austin and recently last year, in San Antonio.
For the rest, well… its the end of 24-hour news in the state as we know it. We don’t know if Gannett will ever let it come back. Only time will tell.