Indiana's NewsCenter

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Indiana's NewsCenter
In news center.png
Also known as 21 Alive News (2012–present)
NBC33 News (2013–present)
Presented by See below
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Production
Location(s) Fort Wayne, Indiana
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time Varies depending on the newscast
Production company(s) Granite Broadcasting Corporation
Malara Broadcast Group
Broadcast
Original channel WISE-TV and WPTA
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
720p/1080i (HDTV)
Original run November 29, 2005 – present

Indiana's NewsCenter was the brand name previously used for the news department shared by ABC affiliate WPTA (channel 21) and NBC affiliate WISE-TV (channel 33) in Fort Wayne, Indiana that was created in 2005 through a management agreement between the Granite Broadcasting Corporation (owner of WISE-TV) and Malara Broadcast Group (which owns WPTA, though leases the operations of the station to Granite under a local marketing agreement). The operation previously produced a weeknight 10 p.m. newscast for Granite-owned MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYD (channel 20) in Detroit (which utilized WPTA/WISE staff members from its Fort Wayne studios, along with reports filed by journalists based in Detroit), and newscasts for WPTA's CW-affiliated subchannel WPTA-DT2 (channel 21.2) and WISE-TV's MyNetworkTV-affiliated subchannel WISE-DT2 (channel 33.2). After upgrading its broadcasts to high-definition in the fall of 2012, the Granite operation gradually dismantled the brand in favor of the individual stations and separate newscasts, although resources continue to be shared.

It also provides news and weather updates for Federated Media-owned talk radio station WOWO (1190 AM) and Clear Channel Communications's radio cluster in Defiance, OhioWDFM (FM), WZOM, WNDH and WONW (although Nielsen considers Defiance a part of the Toledo television market, it counts the city a part of the Fort Wayne radio market). It also provides weather resources for independent station WDFM-LP (channel 26) in Defiance.

Granite and Malara run a very similar operation with their Duluth, Minnesota stations (KDLH and KBJR) under the moniker Northland's NewsCenter.

History[edit]

On March 9, 2005, New Vision Television sold WISE-TV to Granite Broadcasting for $45.3 million; in order to comply with Federal Communications Commission ownership rules, it chose to sell WPTA, which it had owned outright since 1989. Rather than sell all of WPTA's assets to another company, Granite instead sold only the station's license assets to Malara Broadcast Group, and maintained all non-license assets (studio facilities, news operations, staff and other intellectual property) and continued to operate WPTA through a local marketing agreement. Although WISE-TV is nominally the senior partner in the LMA, the stations' combined operation ended up being based at WPTA's studios on Butler Road in northwest Fort Wayne and the bulk of the news staff came from WPTA. Malara files its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reports jointly with Granite, which led to allegations that Granite Broadcasting uses Malara as a shell corporation to circumvent FCC ownership rules. The FCC does not allow common ownership of two of the four highest-rated stations in a single market. Additionally, Fort Wayne has only six full-power stations (only four of which are licensed as commercial outlets – WPTA, WISE-TV, WANE-TV channel 15 and WFFT-TV channel 55) – too few to legally allow a duopoly in any case.

After being taken over by Granite in November 2005, WISE-TV's news department was promptly folded and combined with WPTA. WPTA's newscasts began to be simulcast on WISE-TV and featured the same anchors and reporting staff, and were essentially the same in terms of coverage and format. Granite fired most of WISE's news staff, with the exception of lead anchor Linda Jackson, who became part of the WPTA operation and only appeared on newscasts seen on WISE-TV. Around this time, WPTA began airing a weeknight 7 p.m. newscast, which was the first and, at the time, only such early evening news program in that timeslot in the state of Indiana. On September 11, 2006, that program was cancelled and replaced with an additional episode of the syndicated talk show Dr. Phil due to low ratings. In November 2005, after several months of using the 21 Alive News brand on both stations, WPTA debuted a new set in the basement of its studios that was formerly used to tape public affairs programs seen on the station such as Impact. With the change, came a new unified branding for the newscasts, Indiana's NewsCenter. During the newscasts, the INC logo bug and the logo for the individual station broadcasting the given newscast began to appear in a rotating on-screen logo bug.

WPTA's takeover of news production for WISE-TV initially resulted in a significant drop in ratings. According to Nielsen Media Research, CBS affiliate WANE-TV shot to first place among the market's newscasts for several years after that, since it was the only other news-producing station in the area at the time (Fox affiliate WFFT later developed its own news department in 2008). The ratings decrease was most easily attributed to viewer resentment towards WPTA and Granite for the elimination of WISE-TV's news department, and arguably its identity and history. WPTA management stated that the changes were part of a long-term plan that would need up to five years to take hold. Part of the plan to win back viewers included the introduction of new technology such as text messaging, an improved website with more online video, and upgrading weather equipment including the introduction of a VIPIR radar system.

WPTA co-produced newscasts with WISE-TV that included simulcasts of the weekday morning (except for the 5 a.m. half-hour on WPTA), weeknight 6 p.m. and weekend newscasts on both stations. WPTA aired separate weekday noon and weeknight 5, 5:30 and 11 p.m. newscasts. Until it became a primary Fox affiliate in 2011, WISE's second digital subchannel offered rebroadcasts of the weekday morning (at 7 a.m.), noon (at 1 p.m.) and weeknight 6 p.m. (at 6:30) newscasts. On July 24, 2006, WISE-TV began to produce a primetime newscast at 10 p.m. for that subchannel (titled Indiana's NewsCenter Prime News), the 30-minute weeknight program pre-empted NBC Weather Plus programming in that timeslot. It began to be simulcast on WPTA-DT2 when it launched as a CW affiliate on September 18, 2006. The 10 p.m. newscast was dropped from WPTA-DT2 in September 2011, replaced by syndicated programming supplied by the national CW Plus feed.

WISE-TV and WPTA upgraded their local newscasts to 16:9 widescreen enhanced definition on May 18, 2009, although WISE-DT2's primetime newscasts and news rebroadcasts continued to be presented in pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition until June 27, 2011. In September 2009, WPTA began producing a pre-recorded weeknight 10 p.m. newscast for sister MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYD in Detroit (replacing a similar pre-taped newscast produced by the Davenport, Iowa-based Independent News Network), which utilizes anchor staff from WPTA/WISE as well as locally-based reporters in Detroit, who contribute stories to the broadcast. The news share agreement was established after the Butler Road facilities became a master control hub for Granite's Midwestern stations and WMYD's lost the broadcast rights to Detroit Pistons NBA games.[1] After WISE-DT2 joined Fox on August 1, 2011 (due to a dispute between WFFT owner Nexstar Broadcasting Group and Fox over retransmission consent fees that it wanted its stations to pay to the network),[2] the 10 p.m. newscast on the subchannel was upgraded to widescreen SD. WPTA-DT2's simulcast of that program as well as the repeats of local newscasts from WISE and WPTA on WISE-DT2's schedule were dropped in the fall of 2011.

On July 25, 2011, Nexstar Broadcasting filed an antitrust lawsuit against Granite, claiming that the company tried to monopolize advertising sales through its LMA with WPTA and the five network affiliations that were shared between the primary channel and subchannels of WPTA and WISE at the time (ABC and The CW on WPTA, and NBC, Fox and MyNetworkTV on WISE). Nexstar sought a judgment to force Granite to give up at least one of the three Big Four affiliations it had in Fort Wayne.[3] (the impetus of the lawsuit was ironic considering Nexstar itself maintains outsourcing agreements with stations it does not own outright in most of the markets where it does own a TV outlet, and later created a virtual quadropoly composed of four network-affiliated stations in Little Rock through its 2012 acquisition of 15 stations from Newport Television).[4]

On October 14, 2012, WPTA and WISE began broadcasting their newscasts in high definition. Corresponding with the upgrade, the primetime newscast on WISE's Fox/MyNetworkTV subchannel was relaunched as MyFox Fort Wayne News at 10 and began originating from a new secondary set. The program also introduced an updated graphics package and news music package separate from the on-air presentation of WPTA and WISE-TV's local news programs. On February 6, 2013, Nexstar settled the lawsuit, and in turn, signed an affiliation deal that made WFFT Fort Wayne's Fox affiliate once again, effective March 1, 2013.[5][6]

On February 5, 2013 following the announcement that Fox programming would move back to WFFT on March 1, the 10 p.m. newscast was cancelled. WPTA and WISE-TV continued to simulcast newscasts under respective titles (WPTA reverted to the 21Alive News brand, while WISE reverted to the NBC33 News brand it used until 2004) until March 4, 2013, when the latter station began airing its own newscasts with a separate news team. News resources continue to be shared between the two stations such as video footage, though WISE's newscasts do not feature WPTA's reporting staff nor do they feature separate reporters. Remnants of the Indiana's NewsCenter brand remained in use as late as October 2014, when its website was rebranded and moved from indianasnewscenter.com to 21alive.com.

Quincy Newspapers announced on February 11, 2014 that it would acquire WPTA from Malara Broadcast Group, while SagamoreHill Broadcasting will acquire WISE-TV from Granite Broadcasting. As a result of the deal, the relationship between the two stations will be restructured, as Quincy-owned WPTA will now provide services to SagamoreHill-owned WISE. The deal is part of a larger deal between Quincy and Granite.[7] In a presentation submitted to the FCC in August 2014, Quincy said that the existing joint sales agreement would be terminated, allowing WISE-TV its own sales staff, and that it would spend $2 million on the construction of a new studio facility at the WPTA site, after which both stations would produce competing live newscasts. (While the two stations have produced mostly separate news products since 2013, only the 4 p.m. newscast on WISE-TV airs live.) In addition, the two stations would have separate websites.[8]

On June 13, 2014, WMYD's final 10 pm newscast produced by Granite aired; it was replaced by a new, locally produced 10 pm newscast produced by its new sister station, WXYZ-TV.[9]

On-air staff[edit]

Current on-air staff[10][edit]

Anchors

  • Eric DeFreeuw - weekdays at 4 and 4:30 and weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m. on WISE-TV; also videojournalist and fill-in weather forecaster
  • Linda Jackson - weekday mornings (5-7 a.m.) and weekdays at noon on WPTA
  • Melissa Long - weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. on WPTA
  • Eric Olson - weekday mornings (5-7 a.m.) on WPTA; also "Your Country" segment producer
  • Megan Trent - weekdays at 4 and 4:30 and weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m. on WISE-TV
  • Rachel Martin - weekends at 6 and 11 p.m. on WPTA

Pinpoint VIPIR HD Weather

  • Curtis Smith (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. on WPTA
  • Chris Daniels (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekday mornings (5-7 a.m.) and weekdays at noon on WPTA
  • Jason Meyers (AMS Seal of Approval) - meteorologist; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m. on WPTA, also "Weather & Your Health" segment producer
  • Michael Behrens - fill-In weather specialist
  • Katie Law - weather specialist; weekdays at 4 and 4:30 and weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m. on WISE-TV

Sports team (all seen on The Score and Sound Off)

  • Tommy Schoegler - sports director; weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m. on WPTA
  • Dean Pantazi - sports anchor; weekends at 6 and 11 p.m. on WPTA; also sports reporter (formerly sports director until 2011)
  • Kent Hormann - sports anchor; fill-in
  • Scott Zeigler - More of The Score co-host

Multimedia journalists

  • Jennifer Blomquist - "Golden Apple" segment producer
  • Jeff Bowman - weekday morning reporter
  • Eric DeFreeuw - videojournalist
  • Rachel Martin - videojournalist
  • Jeff Neumeyer - videojournalist
  • Stephanie Parkinson - videojournalist
  • Corrine Rose - videojournalist
  • Madeline Shine - videojournalist
  • Rachelle Spence - videojournalist

Contributors

  • Charity Freeman - INSight co-anchor
  • Emilie Henry - INSight co-anchor
  • Lee Kelso - Docs on Call rotating host
  • Elizabeth Nulf MacDonald - Docs on Call rotating host
  • Tracy Warner - Political Radar

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Good evening, Detroit". KPC Media Group, Inc. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Fox Moves Afills In Springfield, Ft. Wayne". TVNewsCheck. June 20, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ Nexstar Files Antitrust Suit Against Granite, TVNewsCheck, July 25, 2011.
  4. ^ "Almost 30 Lose Jobs at KARK, KLRT as TV Owners Consolidate". Arkansas Business. January 29, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2013. 
  5. ^ Ft. Wayne Fox Affiliation Returns To WFFT, TVNewsCheck, February 6, 2013.
  6. ^ Nexstar, Granite Settle Antitrust Lawsuit, Returning Fox Affiliation to Fort Wayne’s WFFT, TVSpy, February 6, 2013.
  7. ^ "Quincy Buying Stations From Granite, Malara". TVNewsCheck. February 11, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  8. ^ [1] (Referenced p. 43)
  9. ^ "Introducing 7 Action News at 10 on TV20 Detroit". WXYZ website for WMYD. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Personalities

External links[edit]