Saturday, July 28, 2007

WNBC's "Live at Five" Dead

What does a guy in Tuscaloosa, Ala. care about a New York City newscast going off the air?

Well, I used to watch "Live at 5" on Channel 4 as a kid whenever I visited New Jersey where my cousin (now in Richmond, Va.) used to live.

Much of my great affection for local television news came from viewing it in what is still the nation's number-one media market-- New York City.

I remember even before going to college at Howard Univ. watching WNBC's Live at Five broadcast with Sue Simmons and Jack Cafferty. That would have been in the 1980s.

Now Jack is on CNN and Sue is still anchoring the program... well until September 10 when a new schedule begins on WNBC-TV.

WNBC's 5 p.m. newscast was the ORIGINAL "Live at Five." This week the management at WNBC announced they're replacing the afternoon newscast with an Entertainment program, EXTRA.

Station management says viewers have longer commutes and they can get the news at that hour lots of other places. There's the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN. Essentially the early afternoon newscast is not where the viewers are.

The television station where I worked the longest, WXIA-TV, Atlanta's NBC station realized this years ago when it nixed 11Alive News at 5 (a newscast I helped produce for a short period) and debuted "Atlanta's Evening News" at 7 p.m.

The end of "Live at Five" is big enough story that it made The New York Times today. The means history will record that an era in local television news has ended.

The piece in the New York Daily News, though, came out a day earlier.

Well, maybe it's not THAT dramatic. But, it's worth jumping on my blog to comment on this change.

The next time I go to New York, I'll only be able to see Sue on the 11pm news with her late night news partner, Chuck Scarborough. Chuck will be anchoring WNBC's new 7 p.m. newscast that will follow NBC Nightly News.

Hey-- the one thing in life that is constant is CHANGE.

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