Acme's Buzz to go national

Acme Broadcasting's morning show The Daily Buzz,
which launches today at all 10 of its owned stations, will expand at the end of the month into over a hundred more small markets.

The three-hour morning show targeting younger viewers and, unlikely enough, produced out of WBDT(TV) Dayton, Ohio, will launch Sept. 30 on another 109 cable-based local stations belonging to The WB+ group. That includes all markets smaller than DMA No. 100, except Lafayette, Ind., and Fairbanks, Alaska.

Acme's stations are in markets as large as St. Louis (DMA No. 22); Portland, Ore. (DMA No. 23); Salt Lake City (DMA No. 35); and Albuquerque, N.M. (DMA No. 48), covering 5.4% of the country. All the Acme stations are WB affiliates, except KASY-TV, Acme's second Albuquerque station, which is affiliated with UPN. The additional 109 cable markets will add another 7.5%.

Acme's owner, Jamie Kellner, was founder of The WB and is now chairman of Turner Broadcasting, but the Acme group is a separate entity. While the WB 100+ group is part of the same broad Acme family, Acme President Doug Gealy sees the quick expansion as a solid "foot in the door" for even wider syndication.

The show will not be branded as a WB product and isn't limited to WB affiliates. Gealy said UPN, Fox and other younger-skewing affils that don't have morning shows have expressed interest and Acme is considering going with a syndicator for distribution.

While network morning shows more obviously reflect their New York City locations, Gealy said, with satellite technology and on-location reports, the Buzz's Midwest, mid-market home doesn't have to be limiting. "We picked Dayton because we needed a station in the Eastern time zone, and this one had our best studio facility and good staffing," Gealy said. "It was a strong station for a startup."