Beginning next month, WLKY-TV will begin broadcasting local news from 7-9 a.m. weekdays. Except it won’t be airing on Channel 32, where the CBS Morning Show airs, but on the Hearst-owned station’s digital channel, 32.2 (188 on Insight Cable).
Not only is it unprecedented in the market to schedule regular locally-produced news on a digital channel, the move puts WLKY into competition for local news in what is the domain of WDRB-TV, which can, for now, boast it is the only local programming at that hour in the market. The main network stations, including WLKY-TV, air their networks’ national news programs at those hours.
WLKY will air local news on its main station from 4:30 to 7:00, then hope to move its audience over to MeTV from 7-9. General manager Glenn Haygood said the station is hiring up to a half dozen new people for what he says will be a “fresh, live show” on MeTV. The digital station airs classic shows through its Chicag0-based MeTV HQ featuring TV from the 1950s-1980s. The new news will replace classics that air there now — Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, My Three Sons and I Love Lucy.
The additional 10 hours of programming per week will be more of the same newscast product, though Haygood said the additional hours will have a different focus and feel. It won’t be, he said, a feature-oriented program like WHAS-TV’s Great Day Live!
Haygood said the station has promoted traffic reporter Lexy Scheen to full-time, and has hired Louisville native Natalie Grise, who has been working in the Toledo market. Grise has been doing sports reporting at WTOL. She’s coming home, having grown up in Louisville near Churchill Downs, according to her web site. She’s a WKU grad.
With the cost of producing local programming and hiring staff, it’s a bold move for the station to add 10 hours a week on a station that a lot of viewers don’t even know exists. There are no ratings for the digital channel available, but it’s hard to imagine it being competitive with any of the existing main channels. But we will see, starting in March.