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Sinclair Axes Newscast, Adds GM

Sinclair Broadcast Group made two major changes at the local level this week, canceling a local newscast and installing a new general manager at a Maine affiliate.

Sinclair’s WSMH Flint, Mich. canceled its10 p.m. local newscast after three and a half years. WSMH is the latest in a string of Sinclair stations to terminate news. However, the other recent cancellations have been mostly WB stations, and WSMH is a Fox affiliate. One possible explanation is that WSMH’s news relied heavily on content supplied by Sinclair’s centralized news operation, News Central, which is being overhauled and will not provide as much daily and live product to affiliates.

WSMH is not getting out of news completely. Beginning April 24, the local Meredith-owned CBS affiliate, WNEM, will produce a 10 p.m. news for the station, to be called TV5 News at10 P.M.on Fox66.

Trying to put a positive spin on the change, General Manager David Schwartz said in a statement, “This is an exciting opportunity for us to partner with the No.1-rated news in the market. Having WNEM produce our news gives us access to resources that are otherwise cost prohibitive, and allows us to air a higher-quality, better-known news product.”

"We are excited about partnering with Fox 66 in producing mid Michigan's only 10 p.m. newscast," said Al Blinke, WNEM's VP and general manager, in a statement. "We will invest by expanding our news resources to give both stations more coverage and give Fox 66 viewers a newscast produced by our top-rated and award-winning news team."

Meanwhile, in Portland, Maine, Nielsen’s No. 74 DMA, Sinclair tapped Terry Cole to be general manager for WGME. He replaces Alan Cartwright.

Most recently, Cole was news director for WCHS and WVAH in Charleston/Huntington, W.Va.