When WVLT made the switch to high definition newscasts in January, they sprung it on us by surprise. WBIR put out a press release yesterday to inform us that they will go HD around May 1. They will take WTNZ along for the HD ride.
For the past nine years, WATE has produced the half-hour 10:00 p.m. newscast for WTNZ. When that arrangement ends, WTNZ will partner with WBIR, beginning in late March. It’s more than just an even swap. In late spring, the 10:00 news will expand to a full hour. I wonder if that means “Access Hollywood” will be dropped or if WTNZ will move it from 10:35 to a more reasonable timeslot, say 7:30 p.m. WBIR airs a morning newscast from 4:30 to 7:00 a.m. In late spring, they will also produce a morning newscast for WTNZ from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. The new show replaces Judge Mathis and “paid programming.” It will compete against “Today” on WBIR.
To me, the difference between HD and SD is like night and day. I strongly prefer watching the news in high-def. Having more HD newscasts on the air will be great for viewers like me. When WVLT, WBIR and WTNZ are all broadcasting local news in HD, it will presumably put some peer pressure on WATE to also invest in the new technology.