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Nexstar to Expand Local News Operations, Launch DC News Now

Nexstar
(Image credit: Nexstar)

WASHINGTON & IRVING, Texas—Nexstar Media has announced a significant expansion of its local news operations serving Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia. 

As part of that expansion, the company plans to bring its two television stations currently serving the area, WDVM-TV (Ind) in Hagerstown, and WDCW-TV (CW) in Washington, D.C. (DMA #7), together at one central location in the nation’s capital. The new, combined operation will be known as “DC News Now.”

“This expansion is a clear demonstration of Nexstar’s unwavering commitment to local news and public service,” said Andrew Alford, president of broadcasting for Nexstar Media Inc. “The demand for local news, weather, and information in Maryland and Northern Virginia, and in the immediate Washington, D.C., area has never been greater. We will be hiring more journalists and critical support personnel, significantly expanding our digital news capabilities, and building upon our strong legacy of providing high-quality local news to the communities we serve.”

Both television stations will broadcast from a new state-of-the-art newsroom and studio currently under construction on Wisconsin Avenue while maintaining a significant presence in Maryland and Northern Virginia. 

The central newsgathering operation will be supported by three newly established satellite news bureaus in Hagerstown and Frederick, Maryland, and Chantilly, Virginia. Each new bureau will serve as an extended newsroom and studio for DC News Now, capable of live reporting and staffed with additional journalists who will provide even more local news coverage for the area, Nexstar said. 

The new facilities and expanded staff will allow WDVM-TV to launch a new nightly newscast at 9 p.m. ET, expand its existing morning news by one hour, and add a thirty-minute nightly sports highlight show at 11 p.m. ET. WDCW-TV will launch a new nightly newscast at 10 p.m. ET.

Following the expansion, DC News Now will provide more than 67 hours of local news programming every week.

The ninth-largest DMA in the United States, Washington, D.C., has a population of more than six million and more than 2.3 million local television households.

“We are extremely excited about this expansion, particularly because it enables us to launch new newscasts while also establishing three new satellite news bureaus from which we can deliver live news directly from within local communities in Maryland and Northern Virginia,” said David Bangura, vice president and general manager of WDVM-TV and WDCW-TV. “These bureaus will give WDVM-TV and WDCW-TV a way of connecting to the community as never before.”

Veteran journalist and news management executive Ben Dobson has been named news director of the expanded operation. 

He joins WDVM-TV/WDCW-TV from Boston, Mass., where he has served as vice president and news director of New England Cable News (NECN), a 24-hour cable news network, NBC10 Boston and Telemundo Boston since 2018. During his tenure at NECN, Dobson transformed the network’s programming and audience reach by launching new newscasts, creating a digital streaming department, and driving a renewed emphasis on online content. 

Prior to Boston, Dobson was vice president and news director at WVIT-TV (NBC) in Hartford, Conn., and before that held a series of news management roles of increasing responsibility in Boston and Hartford.

“Bringing these two television stations together, adding more news hours, and creating three locally-based satellite news bureaus to serve Washington, D.C., and parts of Maryland and Virginia, is a tremendous opportunity,” said Dobson. “We are building something from the ground up at a time when more and more viewers are turning to local news organizations as their primary source of information they can trust.”

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.