Changes coming to local TV scene

Changes coming to local TV scene

CHAMPAIGN — Viewers of area newscasts on WICD-TV Channel 15 and WCCU-TV Channel 27 can expect some dramatic changes in April.

WCCU, the Fox affiliate in Champaign-Urbana, will begin carrying an hourlong 9 p.m. newscast originating from the WICD studios in Champaign. WCCU’s current 9 p.m. newscast originates from WICD’s sister station, WICS in Springfield.

Also in April, WICD will begin carrying Springfield-based “market-wide” newscasts at 6 and 10 p.m. daily, rather than a Champaign-based weekday newscast.

What does that mean for news anchors Doug Quick and Elitsa Bizios and the rest of the Champaign-based news, sports and weather team?

Rick Lipps, general manager of both WICS and WICD, said that’s still being sorted out and he hopes to make a full announcement about that soon.

He said the changes will require fewer staff members in Champaign and more news staffers in Springfield.

Lipps said the programming changes will likely take place either April 6 or April 13.

Although the ABC affiliates WICS/WICD and the Fox affiliates WRSP/WCCU have different ownership, Sinclair Broadcast Group handles operations for both sets of stations.

Lipps said having a Champaign-originated 9 p.m. broadcast on WCCU is “where we can make a difference” and get the largest number of viewers.

“The reallocation of news resources, from ABC to Fox, in Champaign, will allow us to create the best possible product in the increasingly important 9 p.m. time period for our viewers in Champaign,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, viewers watching WICD can see morning, evening and late newscasts from WICS in Springfield, he said.

“The company plans to retain as many of its Champaign staff as possible,” Lipps said in the statement.

Some news employees will be offered similar positions at WICS in Springfield, and some staff members “will be directed toward opportunities inside of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s other news operations,” he added.


Sections (3):News, Local, Business

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shanksmare wrote on March 15, 2015 at 6:03 am

Having nonlocal owned TV stations has just ruined our once great stations. I am glad we have a local paper  and a few local radio stations.