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.)