4:30 a.m. news: The sensation that’s sweeping the nation

It’s no longer a rush to get into the 4:30 a.m. news business – it’s a stampede. Consider this – a recent search of TVNewsCheck of “4:30” turned up a whopping 115 items., with most of the stories featuring stations starting 4:30 a.m. newscasts in the past year, or so.

This isn’t a rush – it’s a stampede. Get the roosters to safety!

Just in the last few days, stations across the country from as large as New York City (WABC) and Minneapolis/St. Paul (KSTP) to as small as Huntsville, Ala. (WAAY) are jumping onto the rooster bandwagon. Others who are starting up new 4:30 newscasts soon include NBC affiliate WFLA-TV in Tampa; Fox affiliate WXIX-TV; and ABC affiliates KVUE-TV in Austin, Tex. and KTVX in Salt Lake City, according to TVNewscheck; and just about every station in Atlanta.

And just yesterday, ABC affiliate WCVB in Boston announced it too was launching – you guessed it, a 4:30 newscast.

It seems like every other day, some station, somewhere, is going to announce a new 4:30 a.m. newscast.

As yours truly alluded to back in April, more stations are adding 4:30 a.m. newscast to take advantage of increasing HUT levels in the daypart – not to mention adding extra revenue to their coffers.

So…what’s on at 4:30 a.m. if you got up too early, can’t get back to sleep, and not interested in hearing about the latest overnight shootings?

Aaron Barnhart posted on TVBarn what other Kansas City stations and cable channels air at 4:30 a.m., besides news. The choices included reruns of Matlock, Cops, and Married… With Children, not to mention a million infomercials. So, what’s on in Chicago just before the crack of dawn? Thanks to Titan TV, I’ve found….

– WPWR airs reruns of Cops. There must be a thousand episodes by now.

– WCIU airs reruns of long-ago canceled courtroom strip Judge Hatchett, but as of next week, Martin repeats take over the slot (for the record, Street Court, another canceled courtroom show, airs at 4 a.m.)

– Me-TV airs Happy Days. You can jump the shark early with the Fonz and sit on it with Potsie.

– Me-Too airs Shepard’s Chapel, a four-hour overnight religious program featuring nothing but a preacher reading a bible and talking about the word of God behind a desk. For real.

– WTTW runs various programs, usually repeats of programming the night before.

– ESPN2 runs a repeat of the previous night’s Baseball Tonight.

– TNT airs Numb3rs, a former CBS drama that will air weekends this fall on WBBM-Channel 2.

– Adult Swim is still airing at this time and running former UPN animated series Home Movies (remember UPN?)

– For you music video fans, MTV still has them on AMTV – just not any other time of the day.

– Finally, MSNBC airs a news show at 4:30 which part of the title describes this whole early news stampede: Way Too Early with Willie Geist.