Bill Lamb, Fox41’s GM, is finding it hard to contain himself over the prospects for his station in 2011, starting with today’s launch of a 6:30 newscast.
“It’s going to be a journalist’s dream,” he says. “It will be all news and a little bit of weather. No sports, no puff pieces. It will be high-energy and fast-paced.”
Lamb said the station has hired five new people in various positions as a result of the new newscast, including an anchor for the 4 pm newscast in Gil Corsey. He was most recently in Charleston, W.V. David Scott and Jennifer Baileys will anchor the new show, which replaces reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond at 6:30 and goes against network newscasts on WAVE, WHAS and WLKY.
Station research conducted last year showed plenty of people didn’t get home in time to watch 6 pm newscasts, Lamb said, and the time slot provided an opportunity to extend the station’s growing brand.
“Our brand has never been stronger,” he said. “We found that if we weren’t number one, we are a surprisingly strong number two with people. That was encouraging for us.”
So was the fact that going up against network programming with local content has been successful in the morning, where Fox in the Morning’s audience doubles at 7, when other stations go to network. And Lamb said nightly network newscasts are filled with puff pieces and human interest stories. He said the 6:30 newscast will open with the biggest local story of the day, and include state and national news. And it will include new stories, not a rehash of the earlier newscast.
But that’s not all Lamb says is encouraging about 2011 for the station, because he says it’s a DNA changing year. In the fall, Fox41 acquires some big hits in syndication — it gets the Dr. Phil Show from WAVE, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Regis & Kelly from WHAS, and picks up The Big Bang Theory and 30 Rock for its weeknight fringe.
While Lamb is excited about the 6:30 newscast, he says it doesn’t have to be a ratings winner out of the gate. In fact, he recalled the 2001 launch of the station’s 4 pm newscast when he would have been satisfied with a 2 rating. Over time, he says, that show routinely gets anywhere from a 4 to a 6.
“The future of TV is in local, as in local TV news. The stations that survive will be the ones that serve the community the best. We think it’s going to be a big year for us,” Lamb said.