After calls about an online job description, WFLA-Ch. 8 admits it plans a 7 p.m. newscast
One day after I called an executive at WFLA-Ch. 8 about an online posting seeking candidates for a co-anchor job on a new 7 p.m. newscast, officials at the Tampa NBC affiliate admit they will debut such a newscast on July 30.
The admission came in a story posted by sister publication the Tampa Tribune -- both are owned by Richamond, Va.-based Media General -- noting that the new show will push syndicated program Entertainment Tonight to 7:30 p.m.
It's a good time for the company to launch such a program; the coming November elections ensure lots of advertising revenue for local newscasts (candidates prefer newscasts, where likely voters congregate, airing in an important community in an important swing state). NBC's Summer Olympics coverage from London also ensures a large audience this summer.
The station's midday newscast is also expected to move to 10 a.m., followed by the syndicated show Extra, and the local talkshow Daytime at 11 a.m. Presumably, this gets the ads in the midday newscast -- which new airs at 11 a.m. -- before a larger audience.
The 7 p.m. newscast will have little direct competition; outside of local 24-hour cable newschannel Bay News 9, rivals air syndicated shows such as Wheel of Fortune and Big Bang Theory. Back in 2000, WFLA created a 7 p.m. newscast for the then-Pax TV affiliate WXPX-Ch. 66, now airing ion television.
That Pax newscast was largely a rehash of the material from WFLA newscasts at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. It will be interesting to see what lands in the current 7 p.m. newscast and how many people the station will hire to run it.
(UPDATE: WFLA news director Don North just called me, confiming the newscast debuts July 30 and that weekend anchor Jennifer Leigh will co-anchor this new 7 p.m. newscast with another anchor, who may come from within or be hired from outside. "It's something lots of stations are juggling; deciding whether to spend money on syndicated shows or on original programming," he said. "It's a potentially good sizesd audience at 7 p.m.; we want to get there first.").
Here's the job description, taken from Media General's website:
WFLA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Tampa, FL, is hiring an Anchor/Reporter. This person will co-anchor a new 7 PM newscast and act as a lead reporter for the 11 PM newscast. When necessary this person will fill-in anchor on additional newscasts. This person MUST be an active/aggressive reporter. This is not a position for someone simply interested in anchoring. This person will be expected to break news stories. Computer knowledge necessary. College degree preferred. Five years or more experience on-air television preferred. Past anchor experience preferred.