Tribune-owned WGN-TV is adding yet another half-hour of news later this summer, this time at 4:30 a.m.
Following a trend many local stations have been doing across the country for the past year, WGN is adding the 4:30 a.m. newscast to take advantage of commuters getting up earlier to go to work (or as we say in the trade, increasing HUT levels in the half-hour.)
And not to mention the potential to grab extra revenue. Before NBC affiliate KUSA-TV in Denver decided to launch a 4:30 a.m. newscast, it was estimated the Gannett-owned station would earn $12,000 to $15,000 more per week – a number that would go higher for WGN since Chicago is a larger market.
Val Warner will anchor the new dawn patrol newscast, with Paul Konrad on weather. The newscast starts on August 16.
WGN becomes the second Tribune station to add 4:30 a.m. news; earlier this year, sister station KTLA in Los Angeles added a 4:30 a.m. show.
The CW affiliate entered the morning news business on September 1994 with an hour-long morning news show, more than a year after Fox-owned WFLD became the first local station in the market to air a weekday 7-9 a.m. news show (and shifted the long-running Bozo Show to weekends, to the outrage of its many fans.)
As WGN’s morning show expanded, its ratings grew – passing WFLD rather easily and has often ranked #1 in its time period. The program also produces plenty of buzz-worthy viral video moments (including timeless classics like “I’m Freakin’ Tom Skilling!)
The extra half-hour displaces an episode of The Andy Griffith Show, which stays at 4 a.m. (Chicago viewers can also catch Andy on Me-TV at a more reasonable time, weeknights at 8 p.m.)