WZDX will soon launch its own news department in April 2016.

WZDX 54 / Huntsville – Decatur – Florence (“FOX 54”)

I have covered so far two news departments that have launched on its own while this blog has been active, WEVV and WFXR. And soon, a third…

Starting in April of 2016, WZDX 54 will launch its own news department. The news department will be solely independent from WAAY 31 (ABC), which currently produces WZDX 54’s half-hour nightly newscast at 9:00 p.m. called The FOX 54 – 9:00 O’Clock News. Once the news department launches in April, the show will be expanded to an hour, 7 nights a week.

This is all due to Nexstar buying WZDX 54 from now-defunct Grant Broadcasting last year. Nexstar plans to put $3.3 million into WZDX 54 by remodeling its broadcast facilities and hire 20 news and production people to support its own produced newscasts and content for its website. Plus, WZDX 54 will get a new set, HD cameras and a production facility, upgrade overall news reporting capabilities, new weather forecasting equipment and renovated offices.

WZDX 54 has had a primetime newscast since 2007 when it was produced by INN: The Independent News Network. In 2009, the agreement was terminated and then started a new agreement with WAAY 31 to provide a locally-produced program at 9:00 p.m., since the INN newscast was produced out of Davenport, IA. WZDX 54 has some separate news anchors and a meteorologist and are expected to be transferred over to the new news department once it launches.

Nexstar Broadcast Group’s Executive VP and Co-Chief Operating Officer, Tim Busch, in statement obtained by WZDX 54:

“Live, local television news connects our viewers to their communities and provides viewers with a reliable source of essential information and in-depth coverage of breaking news events, weather, investigative reporting and compelling local stories. We are proud to serve our local viewers with critical information and take this responsibility very seriously. Nexstar’s significant investment in its Huntsville television and news operations will bring local viewers enhanced local news programming and event coverage from our new state-of-the-art Huntsville facilities.  The expansion of WZDX-TV’s 9:00 p.m. primetime news programming to a full hour Monday through Sunday, combined with the 24/7 support of our digital content delivery through RocketCityNow.com will give viewers and users access to the most relevant and compelling local news in the marketplace. Nexstar’s unwavering dedication to provide superior local content while delivering an enhanced marketing platform for local businesses and advertisers are key components of our long-term success and we remain committed to delivering exceptional local programming and marketing services in Huntsville and the surrounding communities.”

Mark Overstreet, VP and GM of WZDX 54:

“Nexstar and our Huntsville station operations are dedicated to supporting the evolving needs and interests of our local viewing communities, hometown businesses, and public organizations.  Localism is our top priority and the expansion of WZDX-TV’s local news programming on-air and online at RocketCityNow.com will provide Northern Alabama viewers with more local news content where, when, and how they want it. With the upcoming opening of our fully remodeled full high definition (HD) broadcast and digital facilities, we will simultaneously raise our commitment to local viewers and advertisers with enhanced content production, marketing opportunities and an overall improved viewing experience for the community at large.”

WZDX 54 will continue to air the WAAY 31-produced nightly half-hour 9:00 p.m. newscast until WZDX 54 launches its own news department on Monday April 4th, 2016 from 9:00-10:00 p.m.

This is some exciting news in Northern Alabama, indeed. Congratulations to WZDX 54 and to Nexstar on this move.

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8 thoughts on “WZDX will soon launch its own news department in April 2016.

  1. There are a few stations I can think of that don’t have news department operations of their own… and rely on a news share agreement with another station… or don’t air news broadcasts at all.

    Sinclair has 4 stations that don’t have their own news departments… WPGH 53 has had WPXI produced newscast since January 2006, after its news operation was shuttered. WXLV 45 has had TWCN produced newscasts since 2012, but no in-house broadcast since 2002. KDNL 30 news department closed in October 2001… although St. Louis ABC station previously carried KSDK produced newscast, and currently carries non-traditional newscast The Allman Report. WTWC 40 hasn’t aired newscasts since 2000. It would be interesting to see news operations return to those stations, but the chances of that happening would remain to be seen.

    Outside of the Sinclair group… I’m not sure if we’d get to see Raycom launch a news operation for WFLX 29, and break away from WPTV produced newscast. I doubt that CBS has plans to revive WWJ 62 newscasts anytime soon either… and many would sum up Detroit CBS station as the crown jewel when it comes to the lack of news.

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    • WFLX 29 has always had a newscast produced by another local station in the market so that ain’t happening. Also, no thank you to WTWC 40. They start now, it would be over in a week. I can see WPGH 53 starting a news department of their own first before anybody else you’ve mentioned.

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  2. WPGH does not have a morning newscast like all the FOX stations do. I think Pittsburgh is the only TV market in the top 50 where the FOX station does not have morning news.

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