The group will combine the resources of its Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis stations, newspaper and websites to provide a range of programming on the political conventions, national and local issues, free airtime for candidates and election night coverage.
The Dispatch Broadcast Group’s WBNS Columbus, Ohio (CBS), and its Ohio News Network in the same city, along with its WTHR (NBC) Indianapolis, are continuing the group’s legacy of election coverage and localism.
The three outlets will offer extended coverage of primary and general elections over the air and on the stations’ websites and social media platforms.
Included are extended convention coverage from both the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Leading up to election night, WBNS, WTHR and ONN are offering free airtime and digital presence to qualified federal and local candidates.
WBNS and ONN will be producing:
- Issues and Answers — Taking the issues the viewers say are important and giving candidates the platform to state their positions with free airtime for qualified candidates.
- Beyond the Bites — Using the reporting resources of the stations and its Columbus Dispatch to dig into issues beyond the sound bites.
- Candidate Match — An interactive tool giving voters the opportunity to match their values and priorities with the candidate that best suits them.
And WTHR will be producing:
- On the Record — In addition to free air time to respond to issues voters say are important, each candidate is given one minute to state “Why I Should Be Elected” that airs during newscasts and on-line.
- Indiana Insiders — Dedicated weekly political coverage each Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. This locally-produced, issue-driven show will lead in to NBC’s Meet the Press to give local and national perspectives on the election.
- The Truth Test — Helping viewers make informed voting decisions with the facts behind many of the political advertisements.
On election night, WTHR and WBNS will supplement the national broadcast with local coverage on their primary and multicast channels, giving viewers more options for the election results that matter most to them.
ONN’s commitment takes this a step further. As Ohio’s only 24- hour cable news channel, ONN is poised to cover every major election in the state with sustaining live coverage during both the primary and general elections.
Additionally, WBNS, ONN and WTHR are taking their efforts out into the community with outreach and education programs such as WTHR’s “Decision 2012 Bus Tour” and WBNS-ONN’s “Show You Care and Vote.” These engagements include a mix of voter feedback and efforts to register voters.
And the commitment to election coverage extends beyond newscasts with dedicated weekly community affairs programming such as WTHR’s On the Record and ONN’s Capital Square and Campaign 2012.
WBNS has also committed to an extended hour-long edition of Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer from CBS News. Additionally, WBNS, WTHR, and ONN are committed to primetime debates for key senatorial and congressional races. WTHR will be producing a debate for the Indiana governor’s race, and all three stations are working with community partners to host a 2012 Presidential Debate.
Finally, on Election Day, each station will be a resource for viewers with the League of Women Voters staffing phone banks throughout the day to answer viewer questions.
“Our commitment to the local communities we serve is paramount to our success as a media organization and critical to the expectations the public has for us,” said Michael J. Fiorile, Dispatch Broadcast Group vice chairman and CEO. “There is no more important example of these responsibilities than quality election coverage and community stewardship in the electoral process.”