San Antonio ABC affiliate KSAT is dropping its 4:00 p.m newscast and adding a half hour to its 6:00 p.m. show.
The San Antonio Express-News reports the last 4:00 p.m. show will air September 5, while the expanded 6:00 p.m. will debut the following Monday, September 8.
[Ursula] Pari and Steve Spriester, who currently co-anchor the 6 p.m. news, will expand their duties to include the 6:30-to-7 p.m. half-hour.
The addition will end WOAI’s status as the only station to feature local news at 6:30 p.m.
The change likely registers as a victory at news rival KENS-TV.
In 2010, the CBS affiliate was the first to debut a newscast at 4 p.m. — “First at Four” — featuring Deborah Knapp as anchor and Bill Taylor as weathercaster. The half-hour, which leads with hard news but otherwise has a lighter feel, has proven to be a feather in the cap for KENS. It was an immediate ratings success, and continues to be the No. 2 station’s sole top-rated news half-hour.
In 2011, KSAT followed suit with its own entry, “First News @ Four.” However, the half-hour consistently finished second to KENS’ version, keeping KSAT, which is No. 1 in news for every other local broadcast, from claiming a full sweep.
In a press release, KSAT chalks up the 4 p.m. news cut to people’s preference for online news during that early afternoon hour.
“We’re constantly reviewing our commitment to the community and listening to our viewers and we’ve learned that people get more news in the early afternoon ‘on the go’ using their smartphones, tablets and online,” said KSAT vice president/general manager Phil Lane. “That’s why we’ve recently launched a brand new web site and offer live-streaming of all our newscasts on our mobile apps.”
As for the expanded 6 p.m. news, Lane added, “it will be more accessible to people who work outside the home and want to catch up on the latest breaking news when they return home.”
KSAT has long proven successful with hour-long news formats, finishing strong with both its noon-to-1 p.m. broadcasts and 10-to-11 p.m. news.
The changes will require KSAT to reconfigure its current afternoon lineup. Come Sept. 8, “Inside Edition” and “Entertainment Tonight” will fill the 4 p.m. hour.