WCMH-TV Plans Interactive Newscast

(Feb. 13, 2009) COLUMBUS,OHIO: WCMH-TV, the NBC affiliate here is launching a newscast revolving around Internet social networking sites. Its new “@5:30 on 4” will feature anchors Cabot Rea and Ellie Merritt sitting in front of computers while they deliver the news and interact with viewers on sites like Twitter and Facebook. It will be launched on Monday.

“’@5:30 on 4’ will deliver news and weather in a fast-paced and highly interactive style,” WCMH said in a statement announcing the redesigned newscast. “This isn’t a newscast about technology; this is a news program that covers stories that are relevant to the people of Central Ohio and uses technology to connect with them like never before.”

“Frankly, evening newscasts on local TV stations in Columbus and across America look the same, WCMH vice president and general manager, Rick Rogala, said “We will give our customers something fresh and new with ‘@5:30 on 4.’ It provides a forum for our customers to talk to us and for us to hear what they think. Because we’re listening to our users, this newscast will continuously evolve.”

Though the telecast is described as not being about technology, it will nonetheless include segments on “the newest hi-tech and interactive products and tools,” as well as a review of blogs, and what people are saying on Twitter, a microblog site, and Facebook, the ultimate cyber social club. One segment, The Hotseat, subjects people in the news to questions from viewers and Web users. Another reviews the day’s most-viewed viral videos.

WCMH is owned by Media General.