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The 10 Minute Newscast: 'News for the Impatient'

When Albany’s WRGB Channel 6 launched a new 10 o’clock newscast on its sister station, WCWN Ch. 45, the local Times Union newspaper labeled it “News for those heading to bed.” That’s because the entire newscast is 10 minutes long, making it, as the newspaper said “news for the impatient. Or the tired.”

WRGB, a CBS affiliate, purchased the CW station two years ago and had been planning to introduce a spin-off evening newscast all along, says general manager Robert Furlong, but decided replicating its 11 p.m. newscast in an earlier timeslot was not the way to go. A number of other stations around the country have experimented with the “10 @ 10” format, and Furlong believes it can work in Albany.

“We thought this would provide us with the ability to create something different for people looking for that quick hit,” Furlong said. It also made sense as a strategy for adding another newscast on limited resources, rather than making the investment that would have been required for another hour or half-hour of programming.

The abbreviated newscast features the same anchor as WRGB’s 11 p.m. broadcast, who starts with six to eight top headlines, then work down the list, introducing brief stories on each. The format is tailored to people who will come across the newscast after watching CW’s entertainment programming, Furlong said, particularly “people looking to get to bed early who just want the headlines and weather.”

The 10-minute newscast throws the programs that follow “off-the-clock” from the standard half-hour timeslots viewers are used to, Furlong said, but that may not be as important these days when “appointment television” is becoming a thing of the past, he said. The approach also ties in with the move to continuous news gathering and production for many distribution channels, including the web and digital TV.

Furlong said KPHO in Phoenix as another station that used the 10 @ 10 format successfully for several years but dropped it after a change in ownership, and he has found a few other examples. Usually this is an approach is used in the case of sister broadcast or cable stations, or for secondary digital channels. For example, WJAR in Rhode Island also takes this approach with 10 o’clock news program on its NBC 10 Weather Plus digital broadcast.