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Phoenix Stations Share Chopper

Competing Phoenix stations KPHO, KTVK and KPNX will cut costs by sharing a helicopter starting this week, reports the Arizona Republic. The stations are owned by Meredith, Belo and Gannett, respectively, and will use the same aerial footage in their newscasts.

“This was done as a response to this economy and for financial reasons,” KPNX President/General Manager John Misner told the Republic.

Stations are increasingly in a sharing mood in an effort to pare expenses. The Gannett and McGraw-Hill stations in Denver began sharing a chopper Feb. 1. The NBC and Fox owned stations in various markets, such as Philadelphia, are sharing video content and sometimes helicopter footage. The Gannett and Raycom stations in Cleveland announced a similar content arrangement to NBC-Fox’s a week and a half ago.

Sharing a helicopter is an increasingly popular way for stations to cut down on a hefty expense. "Equipment sharing is not necessarily a new idea but this is a new type of pooling resources to allow both stations to provide extensive news coverage from the air," said KMGH General Manager Byron Grandy at the time of the Denver announcement. "You will see other stations following the lead of 9News and 7News as a way to control costs while providing more extensive news coverage."

The market saw a deadly news helicopter crash in the summer of 2007, when choppers belonging to KTVK and Scripps’ KNXV collided in mid air. Four were killed.