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Friday, September 2, 2011

Nexstar purchase said to be end of the line for NEWS 25 Sports Channel

In addition to the likelihood of some layoffs when the operations of Local 7 WTVW and WEHT-NEWS 25 are combined, it now appears that there will be another casualty of the Nexstar purchase of WEHT.

During Wednesday's meeting with the station's staff, in response to a question about the future of the NEWS 25 Sports Channel, sources confirm that Nexstar Broadcasting head Perry Sook explained that most Nexstar stations do not operate subchannels because they are difficult to sell advertising on and to maintain properly, which indicates that the Sports Channel will, at some point, be phased out.

Introduced with much fanfare in August 2010, the Sports Channel currently broadcasts "After Further Review" (a nightly sports talk show), area high school sporting events (including football, which is currently airing on Friday nights), IHSAA championship tournaments, and, during the season, USI Screaming Eagles home basketball games, although inconsistent cable carriage and a complete lack of a presence on satellite have prevented many viewers in the Tri-State from watching it.  Those who can see it have told me from the beginning that they were turned off by the poor quality of the Wazoo Sports programming which makes up much of the schedule.

If it goes away, will you miss the NEWS 25 Sports Channel?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.


AP said...

Lance Wilkerson looks very, very smart now. Actually all the people who left WEHT in the past year look brilliant now.

WEHT has always suffered from very bad management. Very few people can even get a good OTA signal from them because they only broadcast at ~ 8000 watts. (their Doppler radar alone uses 250,000 watts!)

Personally, I hated the sports channel, especially the Wazoo sports broadcasts.

I really thought the 24/7 Doppler radar and more Wayne Hart was great until they nixed it. Seriously, Wayne Hart is the best meteorologist in the country, he just doesn't have the support and resources of good management to back him up.

Hope this shakeup causes good things to happen, like a better OTA signal, and more investment in weather tech (because no one cares about the news anymore)

Ron said...

No one is going to miss Wazoo. Lots of people (including myself) were angry when WEHT switched its subchannel from RTV to Wazoo, and WEHT management didn't care. (Hello? Is the Evansville market close enough to Louisville or Lexington for anyone here to care about their high school teams?)

Be that as it may, WEHT has always had the ability to give the illusion of professionalism. I agree that they have suffered from bad management - the decision to air Wazoo locally being the worst, in my opinion.

However, now with HDTV, WEHT can no longer give that illusion. WFIE has introduced true 16:9 widescreen newscasts, something WEHT has yet to adopt. Yes, WFIE has put its money where its mouth is; proving that they are "The Tri-State's News & Weather Leader." And, speaking of illusions, how about WTVW? Their 720p newscasts are stretched out to give an illusion of "HD" while using the same old 4:3 format equipment.

I would not be surprised if Nexstar performs the same "HD" trick at WEHT in the near future - to simply stretch out the screen while not investing in true widescreen HD cameras and equipment.

It should be interesting to see just who is anchoring the new WEHT/WTVW newscasts. I have always felt that Wayne Hart is far and away the best meteorologist in the Evansville TV market, and I hope Nexstar will have sense enough to retain his services.

I won't be saddened to see 25.2 go away. As far as I am concerned, good riddance, Wazoo! It is a shame, however, that something that was popular with the viewers, such as RTV, can't be brought back instead.