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Finally, A Confirmation...



After weeks of ducking phone calls, officials at Tampa WB affiliate WTTA-Ch. 38 have finally admitted they will dissolve the station's news department and discontinue its 10 p.m. newscast on March 31, confirming rampant rumors.

The change will affect 18 to 20 staffers at the station, owned by Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, according to WTTA general manager Julie Nelson. They will try to find jobs for them at other Sinclair stations, she said.

The closing, combined with agreements to farm out or shut down news operations in Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Birmingham, Rochester, Raliegh and other cities has left some wondering if Sinclair is backing away from its News Central concept -- where newscasts were established for the first time at many stations, with nearly half the material provided from Sinclair's headquarters in Hunt Valley, Md. Nelson said the company remains committed to local news.

Nelson blamed ratings dips in the WB's prime time shows for decreasing the viewership funneled into their low-watched 10 p.m. newscast, established in 2003 to gain access to advertisers who don't patronize TV stations without news. But WTTA is probably still smarting from Warner Bros' decision to merge with UPN and create the CW network, yanking their affiliation. The station will instead join Fox's My Network TV operation for cast-off WB and UPN stations on Sept. 5.

Dana Reeve, National Hero?

Yes, it is crushingly sad that Christopher Reeve's widow died at age 44 of lung cancer so soon after her husband passed away. And yes, it is important to let people know the importance of regular checkups and testing to catch such deadly diseases early.

Still, CNN seemed to go a bit overboard today eulogizing Reeve, conducting live interviews with Larry King and Kathie Lee Gifford -- two folks who had interviewed her at various times -- with imported-from-CBS John Roberts looking awfully out of place quizzing cancer experts in tones normally reserved for deceased heads of state.

Surely America's news source can do better.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:35pm]


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