The Media Notepad: Fox 32, NewsNation rearrange anchor lineups

Also: a WBIG sale; CBS 2 to launch NextGen signal

Fox-owned WFLD or Fox 32, announced anchor lineup changes last week for the AM news show Good Day Chicago as they are bringing in a fresh face to the fold with Chicago native Brian Jackson coming in from sister station KCPQ Seattle, co-anchoring the 7-10 a.m. block with Natalie Bomke. A graduate of Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Broadcast Journalism, Jackson worked as a sports anchor/reporter at WTXL and beforehand, worked for the former CSN Washington in Washington, D.C. He also held a role at WGN-TV.

“There’s no place like home,” Jackson said in said. “I grew up watching Fox 32, so to be able to join this talented team and sit at the same anchor desk as legends like Robin Robinson and Walter Jacobson is truly a dream come true. I can’t wait to get out into the community to tell uplifting stories and wake up with our viewers every morning.”

Anchoring from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. is Anthony Ponce and Anita Blanton with all four contributing enterprise content for the show throughout the morning. The changes come after longtime Chicago news veteran Anita Padilla exited GDC late last year.

In addition, Sylvia Perez adds a 4 p.m. co-anchoring role with Terrence Lee with Tia Ewing at the Live Desk. Lee shifts to the Live Desk at 5 p.m. when Dawn Hasbrouck and Scott Schneider co-anchor. All changes are effective January 22.

Also joining Fox 32 is new sports anchor Tina Nguyen who comes in from Scripps’ ABC affiliate KTNV Las Vegas, joining Cassie Carlson and Lou Canellis. Nguyen is a Texas A&M grad, with a Bachelor’s in telecommunications and media studies.

Nexstar’s NewsNation also announced some changes last week as the all-news channel is closer to achieving its goal as a 24/7 network with an announcement of a new weekend version of Morning In America, airing 6 to 9 a.m. CT Saturdays and Sundays, with former Cheddar News anchor Hena Doba starting January 27.

“We are excited to debut our new weekend morning show along with an enhanced daytime lineup to fill out our 24 hour/7 day-a-week schedule in 2024,” said Michael Corn, NewsNation’s president of news. “This programming is another big milestone for the network as we continue to build a best-in-class news organization.”

The weekday MIA is undergoing some changes, too. Starting January 22, the news program is transitioning to a solo-anchor format featuring Markie Martin from 5 to 8 a.m. followed by three-hour blocks anchored by Marni Hughes and Nicole Berlie with Elizabeth Vargas Reports moving to 4 p.m. and The Hill political roundtable show airing at 5.

CBS-owned WBBM-TV (CBS 2) will become the first major local station to upgrade its over-the-air signal to the NextGen frequency on February 5. As reported here a few weeks ago, NextGen (ATSC 3.0) signals are finally coming to Chicago after a long wait.

This means viewers will have to re-scan their sets to keep the channel active on their sets, whether it’s equipped with the technology or not. Cable, satellite, and vMVPD subscribers won’t be affected. The signal refresh would make it available to 3.6 million television households in the Chicago area.

The NextGen technology enables viewers to watch programming in Ultra high-def (4K) and Dolby Atmos sound if your TV already is capable of providing such amenities – that is if networks and producers are willing to spend the money to produce the content in those forms, as history showed us they typically slow to do so (both CBS and ABC were notorious for dragging their feet with color TV in the 1960s and all the major networks did likewise with HD in the 1990s.)

The upgrade comes just in time for Super Bowl LVIII, which airs on CBS on February 11 (though the 4K signal CBS is planning to broadcast is only limited to pay TV subscribers.)

With Chicago now on board, NextGen is expected to reach 75 percent of U.S. households this year, taking advantage of the increasing number of households who are cutting the cord. However, a setback occurred recently as set maker LG announced they were no longer interested in the technology.

WBBM would be the first to launch a NexGen signal, but the first HD signal transmitted in Chicago came in 1999 via WFLD while WTTW was the first to launch a TV stereo signal in 1984, and WMAQ-TV (as WNBQ) was the first station to broadcast in color in the 1950s.


Matt Dubiel has purchased Aurora’s WBIG-AM/FM from Auril Broadcasting for $50,000 according to an item in Radio Insight, with a time brokerage agreement taking place January 1. The deal did not include the studio and tower property as they are being sold to an unknown property developer (meaning the existing properties will be torn down.) Dubiel already owns WCKG-AM (1590 AM.)


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