WICD is planning to dump 95% of its locally-produced newscasts. ONLY the 9:00 p.m. will be saved.

WICD 15 / Champaign – Urbana – Danville, IL (“ABC NewsChannel 15”)
WICS 20 / Springfield – Decatur, IL (“ABC NewsChannel 20”)
WRSP-TV 55 / Springfield – Decatur, IL and WCCU 27 / Champaign – Urbana – Danville, IL. BOTH are currently known as “FOX 55/27 Illinois”

Well well well… It looks like Sinclair is ready to make a transition to make WICS/WICD look more like one news station, instead of two. And that requires also shutting down one of the stations’ duopoly’s news departments. And WICD, will get that ax.

We are being told, according to VermillionCountyFirst.com and also according to FTVLive, that Sinclair has pink slipped a number of on-air and off-air staffers at WICD 15, the ABC station out of Champaign, IL that is a semi-satellite to WICS 20 in Springfield, IL. And because of that semi-satellite status, WICD will dump 95% of its locally produced newscasts and move them to WICS 20, starting next month in April. In other words, all newscasts seen on WICS 20 will also be seen on WICD 15. It will start airing “market-wide” newscasts, just like how WCSH 6 in Portland, ME and WLBZ 2 in Bangor, ME (NBC and Gannett) air state-wide newscasts in the mornings, middays, weeknights at 5:30 and 11:00 p.m. and weekends.

Just letting you know that I said 95% and that I didn’t count the other 5%. Why? Its because WICD 15 will be trading in the 95% for the 5% to start up a brand new one-hour 9:00 p.m. weeknight newscast on WRSP 55’s semi-satellite station WCCU 27. This new one-hour newscast will also start in April and will be produced out of WICD 15. WICS 20 will continue to produce the Springfield version of the news at 9:00 for WRSP 55 as well as the weekend editions at 9:00 on WRSP 55/WCCU 27 in both areas.

WCCU 27’s General Manager Rick Lipps:

“In addition to providing a high-quality 9:00 p.m. local newscast on FOX, we will be able to offer Champaign viewers the market’s highly-rated morning, evening and late newscasts – originating from WICS Springfield; the market’s award-winning ABC affiliate. This reallocation of news resources, from ABC to FOX, in Champaign, will allow us to create the best possible product in the increasingly important 9:00 p.m. timeslot for our viewers in Champaign.”

According to VermillionCountyFirst.com and FTVLive, some employees have been given 30-day termination notices and will only keep a few employees while the rest could either be retained by WICS 20 in Springfield or could be let go altogether. A news release says that the “reallocation of resources will require fewer staff members in Champaign and more news staffers in Springfield.”

Again to recap:

  • WICD 15 dumping 95% of locally-produce newscasts to WICS 20.
  • WICD 15 will produce and air a one-hour weeknight newscast at 9:00 p.m. on WCCU 27, starting in April.
  • The “market-wide” newscasts also start in April.
  • WICD 15 will become a “full-satellite” station now, since the news will be the exact same on WICS 20.

Way to go, WICD 15! Just for that, you will lose alot of viewers now. Good riddance. Enjoy the advantage, WCIA 3!

(PS, 95% is just an estimate for me. Only WICD 15 currently produces weekday newscasts. I thought of my estimate, based on the dumping of all locally-produced weekday newscasts on WICD 15 mixed in with the new 9:00 p.m. newscast that WICD 15 will produce for WCCU 27, since it will be an hour-long on weeknights.)

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8 thoughts on “WICD is planning to dump 95% of its locally-produced newscasts. ONLY the 9:00 p.m. will be saved.

  1. Sinclair that has commentary from a political party that talks about people who don’t want to work and that complains that there are not enough jobs being created but at the very same time the same folk are cutting jobs. Go figure

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  2. This is why I have a theory that sometime in the future you may have small TV Markets across the Grand United States of American that might close their news stations down and consolidate them into bigger TV Markets. Like for example to save cost the TV stations in Gainsville might shut down and consolidate the Gainsville Market with the Orlando or Jacksonville TV Market. Or like smaller TV Markets in Texas consolidating their TV Markets with the larger DFW, Houston, Austin, or San Antonio TV Markets. You said I will not likely happen but anything could be possible.

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  3. I believe that this is the same Sinclair Broadcast Group that has a couple other stations lacking in-house news operations. 4 stations that come to mind, and not sure if I’m missing any other stations…

    – KDNL 30 (ABC in St. Louis) went almost 14 years without in-house news operation. January 2011 until December 2013 had “St. Louis Now” newscast produced via KSDK 5… and rolled out its new non-traditional newscast “The Allman Report” back in January. It’s been 20 years since KTVI 2 dumped ABC in favor of going to Fox, and ABC had nowhere to go but KDNL… some would wonder if KPLR 11 would’ve been a better choice for ABC.

    – WXLV 45 (ABC in Greensboro) has had 2 failed news operations. Time Warner Cable News Triad (former News 14 Carolina) has been producing WXLV’s newscasts since January 2012. Like St. Louis, WPGH 8 dumped ABC in favor of going to Fox, and ABC had nowhere to go but WXLV.

    – WPGH 53 (Fox in Pittsburgh) shuttered its in-house news operation in January 2006. WPXI 11 has produced WPGH newscasts ever since. Pittsburgh is 23rd largest US TV market… a market big enough to support 4 different English-language TV news operations.

    – WTWC 40 (NBC in Tallahassee) has been without news department since 2000. WTWC-DT2 sub-channel (Fox 49, former WTLH 49) still has WCTV 6 produced 10PM newscast. Not sure if Sinclair has plans to restart local news in Tallahassee anytime soon.

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    • *WGHP 8. The only other one that I have been thinking of is KBTV 4 UN Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX when Sinclair started to operate the station and KFDM took over its newscasts. KBTV had a news operation of its own until I believe May of 2013.

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  4. I live in the northern “viewing area” of WICD – in Gibson City, much closer to Bloomington than Champaign and certainly much closer than Springfield or Decatur. The one good thing Channel 15 had going for it was that it showed our local temperatures and paid attention when WE had bad weather on the way, as opposed to that monstrosity of a weathercast over an hour and a half last night showing us two places that had tornado warnings.

    I’ve never understood why we have “local” stations that are a minimum of 55 miles away and now we won’t even have Doug Quick to count on. I very much resent all this being done without a word to the viewers. They’re going to have to quit referring to themselves as FOX when they do weather since they are NOT Fox, but somehow both ABC AND Fox.

    What a confusing mess.

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  5. I don’t want to know what’s going on in Springfield! I prefer to hear local news-champaign, Danville area. Thanks,( no thanks).

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