Four Chicago Stations Pool News Coverage

CHICAGO: Starting Monday, four of Chicago’s main TV stations will be pooling news coverage. NBC O&O WMAQ-TV, Fox’s WFLD-TV, CBS’s WBBM-TV and WGN, the CW affiliate owned by Tribune, will share newsgathering duties on non-exclusive events, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“It has never quite made sense to me that you have a podium with a cluster of mike flags on it," WBBM’s Bruno Cohen told the newspaper “I’ve always been thinking, as a former news director, ‘what are we doing? What is the point of this?’”

The group follows an example set by the Fox and NBC affiliates in Philadelphia. The two launched a news-sharing operation last November. Economics are driving the trend. Stations in the best of financial conditions are still under pressure to conserve cash. Breaking news events continue to get individual attention, but grip-and-grin type City Hall events will be shared, and each station can decide how shared video is used on respective Web sites.

Tony Capriolo, a sports produce at WMAQ, will be managing editor of the service based out of WBBM’s headquarters. Each station will contribute two news crews and an assignment editor and remain on their station’s payroll. WLS-TV, the ABC O&O and No. 1 in the market, was the lone holdout of the Big Four. – Deborah D. McAdams