Sunday, January 23, 2005

What's Good For The Goose

Nexstar plans to do for Springfield what they do for Bloominton/Normal.

From Nick Rogers' column in the State Journal Register

Springfield viewers looking for local news created in the city soon will have something they've never had - a choice between two channels. Beginning in April, WCFN-TV, Springfield's UPN affiliate, will air a half-hour local news broadcast at 9 p.m. each weekday. WCFN broadcasts on Channel 49. Its debut will mark the end of WICS-TV's monopoly on television news targeted at Springfield, a monopoly held by the NBC affiliate since its debut in 1953. WICS-TV broadcasts on Channel 20. "Springfield viewers have asked for this, and asked us many, many times," said Russ Hamilton, vice president and general manager of WCFN and its sister station WCIA, the Champaign-based CBS affiliate for the Springfield-Decatur-Champaign television market. NexStar Broadcasting Group, in Irving, Texas, owns both WCIA and WCFN. Jim Gee, news director for WCFN and WCIA, said WCFN's newscast will focus exclusively on Springfield and the surrounding area. The station's nightly news will be compiled and reported by a staff of full-time reporters and photographers, who have yet to be hired, from offices in the Hilton Springfield, 700 E. Adams St. Staff members in Decatur also will contribute to the newscast.
Reporters will send their story packages to Champaign, where the broadcast itself will be filmed at WCIA studios. No anchorperson has been named, but Gee said WCIA's chief weathercaster, Judy Fraser, will deliver weather forecasts tailored to Springfield. Sports content, also devoted to Springfield-area athletics, will see contributions from WCIA sports anchor Jason Elliott.

Jim Gee was an assignment editor/producer at WMBD and moved up to the top spot at WCIA after stops in Michigan and Virgina.

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