WGN-TV begins 4:30 a.m. newscast

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.)


1 thought on “WGN-TV begins 4:30 a.m. newscast

    • More local news programming is not necessarily good for broadcasting. The audience may get tired and no longer be eager to watch or hear the next newscast because they will have many chances to hear the same stories.

      I have a feeling someone from at least one of the stations in the Mobile-Pensacola TV market may be considering the idea of a newscast at 4:30 AM. If so, please re-consider and use your resources for better purposes like more local news stories and fewer newscasts.

Comments are closed.