FIRST ON THE BLOG (other than Broadcasting and Cable): Look out for WTGS, starting in June. Because by then, it will have its own news operation.
Starting Wednesday June 1st, WTGS 28 will produce its own LIVE newscast, every single night from 10:00-11:00pm with FOX 28 News at 10:00. Currently, it still has a SSA with WJCL 22 in which it produces a nightly 10:00pm newscast for WTGS 28, an agreement that is set to expire on Tuesday May 31st and won’t be renewed with Sinclair’s commitment to a local news operation for WTGS 28. Once it launches, all of WTGS 28’s ties to WJCL 22 will then be gone for good.
According to Broadcasting and Cable, the station has been building up a news operation since this year began with the station staffing up and beefing up a news department with an initial amount of around 10-15 people. Yes, a little amount of people, but of course its just initially at the moment and there’ll be more people as the news department beefs up over time.
WTGS 28’s General Manager, Tim Walsh, in a statement obtained to Broadcasting and Cable:
“We felt that now was a good time to do it. Sinclair’s news operation runs very deep. With those assets in mind, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to take it this year.”
Tim Walsh in terms of challenges and starting up an operation:
“Anything new like that, every challenge has an opportunity for our reporters and multimedia journalists to come at tit with a fresh set of eyes and a more progressive, unjaded viewpoint. It’s been a ton of fun. It’s not ever day that a GM gets the opportunity to usher in a new news product to the marketplace.”
In terms of competition, WTGS 28 will still be able to compete against WSAV 3 (NBC/MyTV)’s half-hour weeknight-ONLY 10:00pm newscast on its second digital subchannel, currently known as MyLC, which carries MyNetwork TV primetime and Me-TV programming during off-network hours. However, the subchannel is expected to move to WSAV 3.3 as today, I learned that WSAV 3 has picked up the CW affiliation from WGSA 35 and will start airing it on WSAV 3.2 in HD from September 12th of this year. These subchannel changes will leave WGSA 35 to become Independent or silent and effectively discontinue WSAV 3’s 24/7 local weather channel on WSAV 3.3, which is currently known as WSAV 3 Weather NOW.
But none about that… the moral of this story is that WTGS 28 is launching its own news operation and will finally break away from WJCL 22. Congrats to WTGS 28 and hopeful that this goes well for everybody involved and for the viewers in the Georgia Coastal Empire and Southern South Carolina Lowcountry.