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KHQ-6 to produce Fox station’s newscast

January 30, 2004

Won’t feature KAYU personnel; switch expected in 4 to 6 weeks

By Jim Kershner
The Spokesman-Review

Television station KHQ-6 announced Thursday that it will take over Fox station KAYU-28‘s news operation in four to six weeks.

Fox’s 10 p.m. newscast – the station’s only news slot – will be produced at KHQ, using KHQ’s news personnel.

In the meantime, the Fox news staff will continue to produce the newscast “until D-Day arrives,” said KAYU news director Bob Lenertz.

“We will help in the transition, and some of our people will be applying for possible job interviews over there,” said Lenertz.

The change affects only the KAYU news staff. The rest of the KAYU operation remains independent. The news staff comprises about 12 people out of a staff of 55, according to KAYU general manager Jon Rand.

Lon Lee, KHQ president and general manager, said that an anchor lineup for the new KAYU broadcast has not been solidified. He said it was too early to comment on whether KAYU-28’s anchor Linda Stratton would be in line for the job. Lee said anchor announcements would probably be made next week.

This marks the end of a 4-1/2 year attempt by KAYU to run its own news operation.

“It has been very difficult to have only a half-hour newscast five days a week and absorb that cost,” said Rand. “It has become completely cost-inefficient.”

The KAYU newscast never picked up big ratings, and it consistently finished behind the only other 10 p.m. local news broadcast, on KSKN-22 (produced by KREM-2).

The new newscast will have a familiar KHQ look when it comes to graphics and design, said Lee. But he said the story selection and pace will be developed with the younger Fox demographic in mind.

“It will have a totally different feel,” said Lee.

He also said it will be different than the newscast that KHQ viewers will see at 11 p.m.

From a marketing viewpoint, he said, the new arrangement is an opportunity for “brand extension” by KHQ.

The 10 p.m. newscast will be produced in the KHQ studios and sent via fiber-optics to KAYU for broadcast. The commercials will be inserted in the KAYU control room.

This is not the first time that KAYU has contracted with another station to produce its news. In the 1990s, KAYU contracted with both KREM and KHQ at various times to produce 10 p.m. newscasts.

This kind of arrangement is far from unusual among Fox affiliates.

“This is the way it is done in the majority of markets this size,” said Rand.

Yet that didn’t mean the decision was an easy one, said Rand.

“The most difficult thing is, these (news) people have absolutely worked their hearts out here,” said Rand.

Friday, January 30, 2004

From → KAYU, KHQ

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  1. Out of the Doldrums « Spokane Television History

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