Embracing Early News, Stations Predict Audience Growth

By Andrew Gauthier 

American Journalism Review

There’s a new battleground in local TV news, and it’s dark out there. In more than a dozen cities, anchors are on the set well before dawn, chatting live with reporters and meteorologists. And they’re not just talking to each other. Hard as it is to believe, people are actually watching local news at 4:30 a.m.

Scripps-owned WPTV in West Palm Beach launched its early morning newscast in January; General Manager Steve Wasserman calls the ratings “respectable.” In Tampa, Fox station WTVT reports that local news at 4:30 is drawing more than twice as many viewers as the program it replaced, the celebrity gossip show TMZ. More…