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Raised From the Dead, WYOU News Whistling Past the Graveyard

It’s good to hear the news operation at WYOU Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is humming again, and staffing up.

Much was made of Mission Broadcasting’s station scrapping its news outfit back in 2009, in the depths of the recession. “The viewers have spoken, letting us know that WYOU is the station they rely on for entertainment,” Dennis Thatcher, EVP/COO of Mission, said in a statement at the time.

“WYOU’s Disbanded News Operation May Be First of Many,” I wrote in April 2009.

It didn’t really play out that way, as the vast majority of stations stuck with their news product through the lean years.

Nearly three months after relaunching, the WYOU newsroom, which is actually the joint WBRE-WYOU newsroom, which also produces news for WOLF, is going strong. It’s up to around 65 people, says GM Bob Bee.

Bee says WYOU’s news had a better chance of succeeding after starting from scratch, as opposed to continuing to recast and fix a flagging product. CBS’s booming prime was also a factor. “When CBS is so strong, why would you not want to take advantage of it?” he told me.

As part of Nexstar, WYOU does not subscribe to Nielsens.

Thatcher said more recently: ”We are thrilled to provide Northeastern Pennsylvania viewers with award-winning Eyewitness News programming on WYOU-TV. Bringing Eyewitness News to WYOU-TV will directly address the evolving dynamics of our local viewer interests. Furthermore, the exclusive Eyewitness News offerings at Noon and 7:00 p.m. on WYOU-TV will provide our valued viewers a new resource in the market for community news.”