FIRST ON THE BLOG: WFLD is currently the ONLY station in Chicago without an early-evening newscast. It’s also the last and remaining FOX O&O station without one. But come in less than two weeks, that will all finally (key word: FINALLY) change.
Starting Tuesday July 5th (the day after the 4th of July holiday), WFLD 32 will start airing a new one-hour weeknight newscast at 5:00pm with FOX 32 News at 5:00. With this addition, it becomes the last in Chicago to air an early-evening newscast as WBBM 2 (CBS), WMAQ 5 (NBC) and WLS 7 (ABC) have done so for decades while WGN 9 (CW) has done so since 2009. In terms of competition, it will compete against all four stations at 5:00pm but then will compete head-to-head against WGN 9 at 5:30pm, providing the area’s second local news option at that time in the market.
The newscast will be anchored by the station’s current weeknight 9:00pm anchor team, Dawn Hasbrouck and Jeff Herndon with FOX 32 Chicago Weather from Chief Meteorologist Bill Bellis and FOX 32 Chicago Sports from Sports Director Lou Canellis.
The reason why WFLD 32 hasn’t added any newscast in the early-evenings is because their news ratings are severely low and so low to the point that sometimes, their news ratings don’t even measure into the ratings book and this is due to WFLD 32 joining the news craze late (1987) when other stations have had news departments for decades beforehand. Its also due to WFLD 32 continuously getting beat by WGN 9 at 9:00pm considering that WFLD 32’s 9:00pm news has been around only since 1989 while WGN 9 took a 9-year head start in 1980 and also due to most of WFLD 32’s newscasts being on at the exact same times as WGN 9 with them consistently beating WFLD 32 with the exception of WGN Sports interrupting their newscasts. But the station is willing to take a risk and finally take a chance into early evenings, something that WFLD 32 has never had a chance to venture on.
We’ll just see how long this will last and whether or not it will help WFLD 32 at all. Its up to those who live in Chicagoland.