Baltimore Sun: 'Local TV is no longer a cash cow'

The Baltimore Sun looks at the iffy state of local television and unearths some ways stations can survive in the new world. 

"I don’t think we can sit here comfortably anymore and rely on the fact that we’ve been here for years," says Mary Beth Marsden, anchor at WMAR, Channel 2. "How do we stay relevant, that’s the question. How do we stay the providers of information that people choose to go to? I think we’re still trying to figure it out."

Baltimore was not unscathed by the CBS O&O hits this week, as WJZ dismissed at least four employees, reports the Sun, with perhaps more to come. Last month, Scripps’ WMAR sacked two producers and an anchor. 

Local station managers speak about boosting news output and partnering with other local media to extend the station’s reach. 

Says WJZ boss Jay Newman:

"Years ago, people gathered around the TV set at 6 o’clock and watched and ate dinner together," he says. "Now, people have different expectations. … What we need to do is to reach people more often, at more times throughout the day, both on TV and through multiple platforms."

Lest it all be doom and gloom in Charm City, WBAL prez Jordan Wertleib points out that viewing is at record levels.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.