FIRST ON THE BLOG (other than Chicagoland Radio and Media): A day after WGN announced that it will be adding a 10:00 p.m. weeknight newscast, starting October 5th, WMAQ will be adding a weekday newscast as well. Except, it will debut theirs a lot faster.
Chicagoland Radio and Media has reported (great site, btw) that WMAQ 5 will add a half-hour extension of NBC 5 News Today, starting Monday August 24th, 2015. The broadcast will now start at 4:00 a.m., displacing NBC’s Early Today and competing against WGN 9 (CW)’s WGN Morning News in that timeslot, while WBBM 2 (CBS)’s CBS 2 Morning News, WLS 7 (ABC)’s ABC 7 Eyewitness News This Morning and WFLD 32 (FOX)’s FOX 32 News – Good Day Chicago, will all remain to start at 4:30 a.m.
According to the site, the 4:00 a.m. half-hour newscast will be smaller than the rest of the morning newscast because it will only have Zoraida Sambolin and NBC 5 Weather with Meteorologist Andy Avalos as part of the new half-hour newscast, while the other anchors, Stefan Holt (yes, son of NBC News’ main guy, Lester Holt) and Traffic Reporter Kye Martin, will join Zoraida and Andy for the rest of the morning broadcast, starting at 4:30 a.m.
Station Manager and V.P. of News for WMAQ 5, Frank Whittaker:
“NBC 5 News has a commitment to deliver the best local breaking news and weather coverage and this expansion will help us serve our viewers who wake up earlier.”
Chicagoland Radio and Media probably has a reason why WMAQ 5 (and WGN 9’s) is making this move:
“While serving the viewers is certainly one of the reasons for the recent boom in adding newscasts on local television stations, advertising income is one of the bigger reasons. Marketing experts are predicting the upcoming election season could bring in record numbers of advertising dollars from candidates, political parties, super PACs, and others looking to push their political agenda. Much of those ad dollars will be spent on newscasts. The more newscasts offered means there are more newscast ad breaks available, which means stations can collect more of those political ad revenues.”
I certainly don’t know as to if that is a factor, but I’d tell you one thing for sure: Morning News is a hot commodity for 4am expansions all across the country (SF, LA, Boston, Chicago, Philly, Indy, Nashville and Houston, just to name a few). And now an announcement from Channels 2, 7 and 32… (it would only be a matter of time before those stations would expand to 4am as well).