This week, some WICD employees are saying goodbye as WICD is currently winding down its news operations and transferring its newscasts to WICS next week, as well as WICD producing an hour-long 9:00 p.m. newscast by themselves for WCCU. But as that happens and one station is cutting back, another one in the market is expanding.
Starting Monday April 6th, 2015, WCIA 3 will expand their 6:00 p.m. weeknight news to an hour. In other words, WCIA 3 will be home to the ONLY local news at 6:30, just as WCIX 49 airing the ONLY local news at 7:00 p.m., in which it is produced by WCIA 3.
Coby Cooper, WCIA 3’s Vice President and General Manager:
“Nexstar and our Central Illinois station operations including IllinoisHomepage.net are committed to supporting the evolving needs and interests of our local viewing communities, hometown businesses, and public organizations. Our viewers have requested more local news content from our team, particularly in the evening, and viewing trends confirm there’s a growing appetite for our brand of local news. WCIA 3 has a strong history of responding to the needs of our viewers, and the expansion of WCIA 3 News at 6:00 is an extension of that legacy.”
No, WCIA 3 will not stop producing the 7:00 p.m. news for WCIX 49. It will remain as is. According to TVNewsCheck, this is the third such expansion for WCIA 3 since 2011.
They first debuted the hour-long CiLiving at 4:00 p.m. in September of 2011, which is WCIA 3’s local lifestyle show on light fluff, coverage of local events and interviews on topics that concerns local residents, like businesses, community involvement, etc. The show is hosted by Matt Metcalf, Heather Roberts and Joe Barlow. That program won’t go away and it will lead into WCIA 3 News at 5:00.
The second expansion was in September of 2014, when WCIA 3 launched Current, a local news magazine show geared towards women in Central Illinois. It can be described as a local version of The View or The Talk or The Real, etc. but with a more women-focused show and not so much on news or hot buzz. Current airs from 9:00-10:00 a.m. and is hosted by Cynthia Bruno and Erica Quednau.
But this is WCIA 3’s first local news expansion in quite some time. And with the weekday morning 7:00-9:00 a.m. and the weeknight 7:00 p.m. newscasts on their sister station, WCIX 49 (MyNetwork TV), WCIA 3/WCIX 49 will soon devote 37 hours a week to local news, spread amongst the two stations. That is actually gonna be an hour shy of WICS 20, which produces 38 hours of local news a week. And apparently, this expansion comes just in time for local elections that will take place on Tuesday April 7th, the first day of WCCU 27’s 9:00 p.m. Champaign-based hour-long newscast from WICD 15, in which that will be the ONLY local newscast produced by WICD 15.
A lot of newscast changes are happening in this market starting next week. Let’s see how things go.