Bending for news

For the second time in two days, an ABC affiliate announced plans to get into the local news business.

Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting announced on Tuesday the hiring of Aaron Ramey to launch a news operation at WBND-LP (low power) in South Bend, Ind., and plans to develop other programming for the station and sister outlets WCWW-LP (CW) and My Network TV affiliate WMYS-LP. Local newscasts should launch within the next year.

Currently, the station airs an eleven-minute mini-newscast, produced by sister station WDJT (CBS) in Milwaukee.

On Monday, ABC affiliate KDNL-TV in St. Louis announced it would once again airing newscasts for the first time in nearly a decade with original content produced by rival NBC affiliate KSDK-TV.

Weigel plans to hire around thirty people to help launch the news operation, which would compete with longtime established rivals WNDU (NBC), owned by Gray Broadcasting; Schurz Broadcasting’s WSBT (CBS); and WSJV (Fox), located in nearby Elkhart, Ind. and owned by Quincy Newspapers, Inc.

WBND plans to air its news content over multiple multimedia platforms, and cover local  and regional stories aggressively.

WBND became the market’s ABC affiliate in 1995 after WSJV ended its 40-year affiliation with ABC to sign with Fox at the height of the mania surrounding the Fox-New World affiliation switch, which sent a dozen Big 3 network affiliates then-owned by New World Communications to Fox.

In Chicago, WCIU is already producing and airing a semi-news and lifestyle program titled You & Me In The Morning, which runs weekdays at 6, 7, and 8 a.m.

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