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What's Up With 4:30? And Who's Up at 4:30?

Wow, I take a little vacation, and suddenly everyone’s got a 4:30 a.m. news coming up.

We wrote about the wicked-early a.m. trend (sorry for the Mass.-speak, vacation was up in Cape Cod) back in May, after several owned and operated stations from the likes of NBC and Fox had made the move to 4:30.

But the announcements in just the past week or so–WAAY and WHNT Huntsville, WABC New York, KYW Philadelphia, WCVB Boston–the list goes on (and on) of stations making the move to 4:30 a.m. this month and next.

Robert Reeves and Ben Smith head up WHNT’s fledgling 4:30 ‘cast.

Who’s up at 4:30? Presumably enough viewers to give the way-early a.m. news a shot. “If you get a 1 or a 2, it’s saleable and you can make money on it,” says WHNT GM Stan Pylant.

WHNT debuted its 4:30 a.m. today, but wasn’t first up with it in DMA No. 79–that distinction goes to WAAY, which launched its pre-dawn show last Friday.

“Erin Dacy, T.W. Starr and Gary Dobbs will be up before the chickens to bring you the first news of the morning when we start the First News in the Valley,” News Director Keith Lowhorne said in a statement earlier this month.

UPDATE: The Sept. 1 NY Times has a page one story on the 4:30 a.m. craze.