I have a friend who works in the news business at the local level in a not-too-major market. Even though it is owned by a major corporation that also owns a station in my market, the station he works at, things ain't pretty.
In December, 1997, I took a short vacation to Reno and stayed at one of the hotels. One of the Reno's 10 O'Clock newsbroadcasts was a rebroadcast from one of the bay area stations about 200 miles away!
Maybe some of the problem is that the newscasts concentrate less on hard news and more on sensationalism. As an example, the news director may concentrate on a drug bust rather than the (at the time upcoming) vote on whether to close the Rancho Seco nuclear plant.
In the Philadelphia TV market,
there are only 3 VHF commercial stations, (3,6,10). Most big TV markets have about 5-6. New York and Balt/Washington have taken the more commonly used 2,4,5,7,9,11,13. Channel 8 (VHF) is taken by Harrisburg and New Haven. Channel 12 (WHYY) is the local PBS station.
Channel 6 (ABC) DISNEY has dominated local news for a long time(over 15 years)...before Disney owned it, but Channel 10 (NBC) has beat them lately though now are about tied for 11pm. Channel 10's sets are super and they have really done good. I'm glad that NBC moved to Channel 10 and became O&O back in 1995. KYW back as NBC was terrible.
Channel 6 has newsboroughs throughout region in Philadelphia, Trenton, Atlantic City, Allentown, Reading. They truly service the market.
KYW 3 (CBS) is still around but they are far behind. They havent launched a 10pm newscast or so on its sister station WPSG 57 which is owned by KYW/Viacom also, but they do weather updates by KYW 3 on 57. WPSG 57 airs sports overflow not on CSN, and local news (10pm) is already flooded with WB17, FOX29, and CN8. CN8 has a 7pm newcast, and 3,6,10 have 6pm. Nobody has 6:30 here. I suppose one station may go for it sometime soon.
WWAC 53/Atlantic City has weather updates. WPHL 17 (WB) has a 10pm newscast and is struggling to compete with FOX 29.
It amazes me though how an independent station like WFMZ 69 from Allentown can sustain to have so many newscasts without having network content. But, they are the only commercial non religious station in Allentown so they get ALL the local Allentown and Reading advertisers. Allentown and Reading have a significant population without Berks and Lehigh counties and ones neighboring, Philadelphia would fall behind San Francisco and few other markets in DMA rank.
WMGM 40 (NBC) Atlantic City has only a 6pm and 11pm newcast, no morning newscast or day newcast. It has been like this for as long as I can remember. I have never properly seen this station, only on some nights with skip, but I see their listings in the Philadelphia TV Guide and booklet. They are listed in Press of Atlantic City newspaper. They are also eligible for mustcarry on DBS, but cant afford it. They cant get fiber over to Philadelphia. I dont how how this station will stay in business, if everyone drops cable for Dish or DirecTV, takes Philly locals, and tunes to NBC 10 for NBC programming. NBC 10 does have a pretty decent newcast and has morning news, not available on WMGM.
Myself, I watch local news in the morning, not at night.
To add, I would like to see WMGM 40 on DBS only because I like going to the Southern NJ shore, and this channel does have a Southern NJ newscast. But the few times I have called them, WMGM 40 engineering has been quite rude and not cordial. The same goes with NJN over this DirecTV fiasco where South Jersey cant get WNJN from NY. They havent been helpful in trying to explain why NJN news and NJN is still unavailable, even though MPT and UNC flawlessly were added to both providers local packages and only one feed needed to be carried for more than one market.
NJN has a local news, I dont know if anybody watches it. Even as PBS, more people here watch WHYY 12 from Philadelphia and in NNJ/NY, people get WNET 13. The stations from Allentown have been lot more friendly for sure. I dont know but I think NJN has given a bad name to DirecTV for NJ.
No edit, but had to add Philly stations also are really only source for local news for Delaware. Delaware has no Full power stations. WHYY and WPPX are licensed but choose not to transmit for there. Salisbury a sub 100 DMA services parts of Kent and all of Sussex County. Majority of population in Delaware is New Castle County where Wilmington and Newark, DE are, only 30-40 from here.
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