WLNE airing infomercials in place of 7p news

Scott Fybush scott@fybush.com
Thu Mar 17 18:58:24 EDT 2011

Kevin Vahey wrote:
> Certainly - start a Southern NE Chronicle for example.
> Hearst and Disney do work together ( see ESPN ) so that could explain why
> ABC is playing hardball.
> Some are comparing this to what NBC pulled with KRON but I don't think that
> is a fair example.

Nor do I. As best I can read the situation from where I sit, ABC/Disney 
has no interest (unlike NBC in San Francisco) in adding a 
Providence-market O&O. But the Mouse does (quite understandably!) want 
to avoid ending up with a complete dog of an affiliate owner, so why not 
put a little pressure on?

I don't think it's for Hearst's benefit; if Hearst wanted WLNE, it's had 
many opportunities to do so at reasonable prices, and there's an issue 
with the very significant overlap of signals between WLNE and WCVB. 
Recall that CBS had to unload WPRI for that same reason.

I would not be at all surprised to see ABC looking at some other, 
less-obvious options for new Providence-market affiliation. I could 
imagine LIN installing ABC as 12.2 or 64.2, for instance - or at least 
the threat of a LIN-owned "ABC Providence" helping ABC to keep a new 
WLNE owner in line.

Sadly, the market seems increasingly to be dictating that 
Providence-sized communities around the country can't comfortably 
support three TV news operations. Here in upstate New York, we're down 
to two (plus a cable channel) in Syracuse, while the third-place 
operations in Rochester and Buffalo struggle to survive. 
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's down to two as well.

Is there anything WLNE can do now that WPRI/WNAC or WJAR can't do 
better? (The answer, in hindsight, might have been to stay focused on 
southeastern Mass. and the Cape, but experience suggests that there just 
might not be enough revenue in that area to sustain WLNE that way, either.)


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