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Waking up to oldies and news

Apr 16, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Viewers in Knoxville, Tenn., are waking up to an alternative morning newscast that mixes oldies tunes and television news.
Instead of delivering a traditional morning newscast, WVLT-TV, Knoxville, has partnered with local oldies-formatted radio station WMYU-FM to simulcast a 95-minute morning newscast starting at 5:25 a.m. The show, called “Breakfast Teleradio,” launched April 2.
“This market is very much a radio market from 5:30 to 7 a.m. The HUTs are lower in the mornings than they are in other markets,” said Chris Baker, WVLT’s general manager. “It was obvious to us that no matter how well we did in the mornings, it was still not going to be a big number unless we found a way to tap into the radio morning drive audience.”
WVLT, a CBS affiliate, rehired veteran anchor Art Powell, who used to anchor at the station and has been a fixture in the market for three decades. He had been the news anchor for radio station WMYU-FM but is back anchoring from WVLT’s studio. He is joined by WVLT’s chief meteorologist Rick Katzfey and sports anchor Rick Russo, who pretape segments. The newscast also includes traffic reports.
The newscast then switches to live video from the radio studio, with popular morning duo “Ashley and the Big R.” The radio duo appears in a separate screen on the top left corner of the TV screen, but sometimes the video of them alternates with factoids about various musicians and famous quotes.
Below it are three levels of textual information. There is a continuous scroll of the news headlines. Below that is the day’s weather at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. and at the bottom are the sports scores, which alternate with the logo “Breakfast Teleradio” and WVLT’s Web address.
After each segment both the newscast and radio cut to their own commercials, so they keep their own inventory.
Mr. Baker said the partnership between WVLT, which is owned by Gray Communications Systems, and WMYU-FM, which is owned by Journal Broadcasting, seemed the perfect fit because WVLT’s weathercasters already had been providing weather for the radio station.
The new format has also allowed WVLT to shift its resources from the mornings to focus on other newscasts. Both co-anchors of WVLT’s morning newscast were promoted to other newscasts. But the chief meteorologist was moved to “Breakfast Teleradio” because of the importance of weather news in morning newscasts.