03.13.2006 11:40 AM
Sinclair’s NewsCentral model loses stations

News Central, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s centralized news service located in Baltimore, MD, is losing some stations. WTTA in Tampa, FL; WNYO in Buffalo, NY; and WVTV in Milwaukee, WI; will all pull the plug on News Central programming March 31.

The original concept was to centrally produce and distribute national and regional news, sports and weather and provide the content to all Sinclair stations. However, the concept became mired in political controversy over its carriage of right-wing commentary.

Though there was criticism that local diversity was lost, Sinclair argued that the structure allows the local station to focus completely on reporting local news stories that affect their community. However, the concept appears to have failed in at least three markets.

WTTA in Tampa plans to dissolve the station’s news department and discontinue its 10 p.m. newscast March 31, the St. Petersburg Times reported. The change will affect 18 to 20 staffers at the station.

WTTA general manager Julie Nelson blamed ratings dips on the WB’s primetime shows for decreasing the viewership funneled into their low-watched 10 p.m. newscast.

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