COLUMBUS,OHIO: Three TV stations in this Midwestern city are following the cost-cutting trend in the broadcast industry. WCMH-TV, WXYX-TV and WTTE-TV will now share news operations. WCMH is the NBC affiliate owned by Media General, and WTTE is a Fox and WSYX is the ABC owned by Sinclair.
“The stations’ assignment desks have built a back channel to communicate with each other and a workflow to schedule shoots,” WCMH said in a press release. The announcement likened the arrangement to a pool feed, which stations have done for years, but the notion of pool-feeding regular local news is relatively recent though catching on.
In Phoenix, for example, the CBS and NBC affiliates, along with an indie, started helo footage last month in an effort to cut expenses. Helos for news coverage generally lease for between $1 million and $1.5 million a year. The triad there involves stations owned by Belo, Gannett and Meredith.
The McGraw-Hill’s ABC and Gannett’s NBC in Denver started sharing a chopper last month.
Barrington stations in Syracuse, N.Y. and Peoria, Ill., formalized a joint operation agreement earlier this month with Granite Broadcasting stations in those markets. The arrangement creates a new sort of co-operate duopoly.
The NBC and CBS stations in Cleveland are sharing news coverage resources similar to another arrangement in Philadelphia that started the trend.
The NBC and Fox in Philadelphia broke ground on the trend last year after doing a pilot news-sharing operation in the city. The two affiliates are now sharing camera crews and a single assignment desk. -- Deborah D. McAdams
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