Well we knew it would have an end at some point but not at this point. Still, its probably not a surprise to many considering the changing shift in media consumption and its one of the reasons why this regional newschannel is going away.
After 21 years of serving the Pacific Northwest (mainly Washington, Oregon and Idaho), NWCN is scheduled to go off-air on Friday January 6th, 2017 and with it, bringing an end to an era of 24-hour regional news coverage for the Northwest. Low ratings, expiring cable contracts and a shift in media consumption are to blame for NWCN’s demise.
The newschannel launched on December 18th, 1995 as an early Christmas gift for news junkies throughout the northwest. Since then, it has produced award-winning newscasts under Northwest News (First Edition / Today / Evening Edition / Overnight / Weekend) and other programming including Northwest Sports TONIGHT and Ciscoe LIVE (gardening) as well as Northwest Backroads and Grant’s Getaways (both travel programs).
NWCN was located at South Lake Union in Seattle, alongside flagship station KING 5 (NBC) until 2016 when they were both moved to the SoDo district at Home Plate Center which puts them across from Safeco Field, home to the MLB’s Seattle Mariners.
About 20 newsroom jobs related to NWCN will be let go, including behind and front of the camera and including one of its most popular anchors, Cam Johnson, who’s been there since 2000. She, along with half of those, will have their jobs kept within the KING 5 station or with NWCN’s parent company TEGNA, formerly Gannett, while the other half will be forced to be laid-off. The channel relied on resources of the following sister stations in the Northwest as all were owned by TEGNA and a story on NWCN’s website mentions these stations to continue to receive Northwest news and weather coverage:
- Seattle: KING 5 (NBC) and KONG 6/16 (Ind)
- Portland: KGW 8 (NBC)
- Spokane: KREM 2 (CBS) and KSKN 22 (CW)
- Boise: KTVB 7 (NBC) and Idaho’s Very Own 24/7 (KTVB 7.2; Ind)
First, it was TXCN that was shut down last year, also by TEGNA and now, NWCN will take that same fall. This will only leave NewsWatch 15 as the only 24-hour newschannel left operated by TEGNA under a joint venture with Cox Communications and WWL 4 (CBS) in New Orleans which airs nothing but live and repeats of WWL 4’s newscasts.
So in the end, yet another 24-hour newschannel falls to its demise and NWCN takes the brunt of it. Will it ever come back? Probably not anytime soon, so this era will end and it may not be like this ever again.