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.


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