FIRST ON THE BLOG: Maine TV has never had one station deliver a local afternoon newscast at 4:00pm. Mainers always had to wait until 5:00pm to get their first local news of the day, whether in Portland or in Bangor. And now, one station in Portland will make that jump and soon offer a historic first in Maine television…
Starting Monday September 6th, WMTW 8 will become the first television station in the state of Maine to offer a local weekday newscast at 4:00pm. WMTW News 8 at 4:00 will be a new hour-long newscast and will create Maine’s first two-and-a-half-hour local news block from 4:00-6:30pm. WCSH 6 (NBC) and WGME 13 (CBS) will continue to start their early-evening news coverage at 5:00pm.
If you have cable in Portland, then you’ve always had a 4:00pm newscast but under a regional feel from around New England, thanks to NECN – New England Cable News which is LIVE at 4:00pm on weekdays. This new addition by WMTW 8 though will be the first local newscast devoted specifically to a local television market in the state of Maine and not just regional news from a cable-only channel like NECN.
WMTW 8’s President and General Manager, Dave Abel:
“This will be the first and only 4 p.m. newscast in the state. Once again, we are showing our commitment to the community by bringing them the weather and news they want to know in more time periods than anyone else.”
WMTW 8’s News Director, Amy Beveridge:
“We are excited about this news expansion. Viewers turn to us for weather and news, no matter what time of the day, so this 4 p.m. newscast provides a new way in Maine for us to better serve them. We knew this was a great opportunity for us, with a population that goes to bed early and rises early. Having a newscast at an earlier time makes sense.”
The new, hour-long 4:00pm newscast will be fast-paced with a top stories recap at 4:30pm “for viewers just tuning in as they come home from work or school and breaking events like press conferences will be aired live during the newscast when they happen”, Beveridge said.
WMTW 8’s News Director also said that features usually seen at 5:00pm like Hometown Maine (profiles of interesting places) and Made in Maine (profiles of businesses) would be moved to 4:00pm in order for more hard news to be aired at 5:00pm.
WMTW 8 was the first station in the market to launch a 5:00pm newscast in 1993, but was later cancelled in the early 2000s. After just running one early-evening newscast at 6:00pm for many years, WMTW 8 re-added its 5:00pm newscast in 2013.
No word as to who will anchor the new 4:00pm newscast and according to News Director Amy Beveridge, that will be announced later. Tracy Sabol and Steve Minich currently anchor the 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00pm news for the station.
Beveridge also said the station will not likely have to hire more people to fill the extra hour of news.
However, there will be several programming changes as a result of the new hour of news.
As of Monday September 6th, Ellen moves to 3:00pm (from 4:00pm) and Steve Harvey moves to 10:00am (from 3:00pm). Steve Harvey will replace Meredith Vieira, which was cancelled after just two seasons.
So a historic first in Maine television is coming soon with WMTW 8 expanding to add another hour of local news at 4:00pm. Congrats WMTW 8 for making history and good luck with it.