Radio & Television News Association

Monday, December 18, 2006

4:30am Talk Show?

Ch. 5 looking at early morning local news show
By Phil Rosenthal

Word at NBC's WMAQ-Ch. 5 is the station hopes to launch a
free-wheeling, no-frills show early next year that would
be Chicago's earliest source for local TV news--or,
depending on when you get to bed, its latest.

Channel 5 President and General Manager Larry Wert declined
to comment on the still-untitled 4:30 a.m. topical talk
program, perhaps concerned the project has yet to be
green-lighted by higher-ups at NBC Universal.

Penciled in as host is Bruce Wolf, who has been minding traffic
and sports for "NBC 5 News Today" since September, in addition
to doing sports on Jonathon Brandmeier's 6 to 10 a.m. show on
WLUP-FM 97.9.

The belief at WMAQ, which dropped its 11 a.m. news to accommodate
a show tied to NBC Universal's iVillage Web site and Florida theme
park, is the station can consolidate the splintered 15 percent or
so area households with TVs on in the 4:30 a.m. half-hour.

That would help give a running start to "NBC 5 News Today,"
Channel 5's two-hour lead-in for NBC's 7 a.m. "Today" show,
which, incidentally, is mulling addition of a fourth daily hour.
It also would serve as a lab for the station to develop a new
approach to news.

If approved, the initial concept is for Wolf, and possibly a
sidekick, to chat up headlines and what not, take viewer calls
and cut up when appropriate.

There also has been talk of possibly simulcasting on a local
radio station, enabling the audience to take the live program
on its commute, but no deal has been struck.

Status Report: LAPD's future approach to issuing press credentials

The LAPD now confirms it will wait a year to revise its guidelines
on the issuance of press passes. This is a huge victory for RTNA
and the broadcast news community, as it will give us a chance to
negotiate an agreement with them on a policy that will be fair to
all of our members.

In the new year I will again be pressing our colleagues in SPJ,
the LA Press Club, PPGLA, and others to get on board with their
own assessment of who should get a credential. We hope to develop
a single definition that will be acceptable to all the groups.
Meanwhile, we are also studying the possibility of changing the
city's municipal ordinance which narrowly defines applicants
as those who regularly cross police and fire lines.

Thanks to our Legal Counsel, Royal Oakes, who has spent countless
hours taking meetings and writing e-mails on this issue.
Steve Kindred
President, RTNA