CBS Plans to Build a Full-Scale News Operation at WWJ-TV in Detroit

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DETROIT, Mich.—WWJ-TV (CBS 62), the ViacomCBS-owned station in Detroit, has announced ambitious plans to build from scratch a full-scale, hyper-local news department in 2022. 

CBS News Detroit is currently expected to launch in the late summer or early fall of 2022. It will feature a 24/7 streaming service with live local news coverage from 4:00 AM to 11:35 PM, Monday-Sunday, for a total of 137 hours per week. In addition, CBS 62 will broadcast live CBS News Detroit newscasts 40 hours per week in early morning, midday, early evening and late news time periods, the company said. 

“We view this as an unprecedented opportunity to start from scratch at a large-market, network-owned station and build the newsroom of the future – where we focus first on streaming and then have our content flow like water across our linear broadcast, digital and social media platforms,” said  Wendy McMahon, president and co-head, CBS News and Stations. “When Brian [Watson, vice president and general manager of WWJ-TV and sister station WKBD-TV] and his team presented their vision for CBS News Detroit earlier this year, I thought to myself ‘This never happens. Until now.’”

This marks the first time CBS 62 will have its own full-scale local news department. WWJ (formerly known as WGPR-TV) became a CBS Television Network-owned station in 1995. From 2001-2002, WWJ aired an 11:00 PM newscast produced by WKBD until that station’s news department was shuttered in December 2002. From 2009-2012, WWJ produced a weekday 5:00-7:00 AM newscast that offered weather, traffic and headlines from the Detroit Free Press and also WWJ Radio. In recent years, the station has aired local weather reports several times a day, the company said. 

CBS News Detroit will be recruiting and hiring a full staff as soon as they hire a news director. The reporting staff will consist of a diverse team of journalists who will be embedded full-time in communities across the Detroit area, as well as at the State Capital in Lansing, Mich.

Adrienne Roark, president, CBS Stations, who has worked closely with CBS 62 on developing the plan for creating CBS News Detroit, added: “The time has come for our Detroit employees and the communities served by CBS 62 to have a full-fledged news department that utilizes the latest advances in newsgathering and streaming technology and a team of multi-skilled journalists who will be embedded in neighborhoods across the market.”

“This is a landmark moment in the history of our station and, for that matter, local news,” Watson said. “I don’t believe there is another station in a large market like ours that has done anything like this, so we are excited to help write a bold new chapter in the history of local news.”

Watson added: “CBS News Detroit will stand out as the market’s only grassroots, community-focused newsgathering organization. We will super-serve our audiences on every media platform with more hours of live, local news than any other source in Detroit. Our journalists will be committed to giving a voice to people who might otherwise be unheard, and shining a light on the issues that are impacting communities throughout Metro Detroit.”

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.