UTICA Local television news broadcasts likely be will be coming to the region's ABC, FOX and MyNetworkTV stations by September.
Nextstar Broadcasting Group Inc. is committing $1 million for new equipment and the hiring of 12 employees to carry out the broadcasts, which will offer local stories, breaking news, sports and weather, said Stephen Merren, Nextstar vice president and general manager.
Merren made the announcement at a FOX 25th anniversary event Thursday night at the Radisson Hotel-Utica Centre that was attended by roughly 150 people.
We have a chance to build something from the ground up that is very relevant, Merren said. I've had an awful lot of folks ask me when we're going to offer competitive news in the market.
Nextstar owns WFXV and WPNY the local FOX and MyNetworkTV stations, respectively and provides services through an outsourcing agreement to WUTR, which is licensed to Mission Broadcasting.
WUTR featured a local news broadcast from 1970 to 2003, but then-owner Clear Channel Television Northeast shut it down because of budgetary concerns, Merren said.
Nonetheless, Merren expressed confidence the region could support more local news broadcasts
I've got the resources of a large company behind me, and we'll put on a quality newscast, said Merren, who served as vice president and general manager of WKTV from 1992 to 2004.
Currently, WKTV has the only broadcast focused solely on Utica and Rome, while YNN also covers news in Central New York.
The new broadcasts will include a 6 p.m. broadcast on WUTR and a rebroadcast of that news at 7 p.m. on WPNY. New broadcasts will be carried out at 10 p.m. on FOX and 11 p.m. on WUTR. The broadcasts will be 30 or 35 minutes long.
There will be two separate news teams, one for WUTR and one for FOX, Merren said. The FOX news will seek out a younger audience and be a little more fast-paced, he said.
In addition to the television broadcasts, Merren said there will be an emphasis on social media applications. The website covering all three stations is cnyhomepage.com.
One local official at the Thursday event welcomed the news.
Any additional media outlet is a positive for this region, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said. Spreading information and news to the community is very important.