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News-Hungry Viewers

Last week was a busy one in Youngstown, Ohio, for David Coy. The general sales manager of co-owned WKBN-TV and WYFX-LP was promoted to GM on Monday following the apparently sudden resignation of Roland Adeszko. But it shouldn't take him too long to get up to speed; he has been at the stations since 1982.

Programming-wise, Coy is pleased with his CBS-Fox combination. "I get the benefit of an older-skewing CBS and younger-skewing Fox," he says. Plus, he adds, "I've got all the football, save Monday Night
on ABC and Notre Dame on NBC. And I've got the Steelers and Browns preseason."

All the stations agree that Youngstown is a big news town. Coy's two stations produce a combined 33 hours of news a week, and, he says, "we would like to expand both morning and early fringe."

At NBC affiliate WFMJ-TV, a popular feature of the newscasts is live reports from two area hospitals, says GM John Grdic. On the sales side, he reports success with "live remotes in our 6 o'clock newscast. Normally, where we'd run a commercial cluster," he says, "we're running live remotes. It's really working for the car dealers."

In a strong news market, the stations look for ways to differentiate themselves. ABC affiliate WYTV(TV)'s way is a "straight-to-the-point format based on a much heavier story count," says GM Bob Romine. "It's not a fast news pace. It's just about telling great stories in a shorter period of time. There is very little chit-chat between anchors." WYTV calls it "News for busy people." Says Romine, "We're about six months into this and very anxiously awaiting the results."

WYTV is the only station in the market that has gone digital. It turned on the digital channel last November and is working on getting a secondary affiliation. Romine says, "We have enough bandwidth to pass the ABC hi-def signal and still pass through a digital signal of secondary affiliate. We're in the process of putting together a business plan. We hope we have a secondary signal up and running in the very near future."