The ABC affiliate in Tri-Cities, Tenn.-Va., this week launched half-hour newscasts at 6 and 11 p.m., the first broadcasts produced in-house since 2008. The station has spent about $250,000 to rebuild its news department and has added eight fulltime and three part-time staffers, HD cameras and other gear.
Effective this past Monday, Holston Valley Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate WKPT Tri-Cities, Tenn.-Va. (DMA 96), resumed airing half-hour local newscasts produced at its studios in Kingsport at 6 and 11 p.m.
The station, which aired half-hour local news programs from its inception in 1969 until 2002, has rebuilt its news department under the direction of veteran anchorman Jim Bailey, who joined Holston Valley Broadcasting in January of last year as director of TV news and public affairs. (From 2002-2008 WKPT aired newscasts produced at another area station.)
“Over the past few months we’ve built a homegrown news team,” said Bailey. “Our assistant news director, all of our reporters, my co-anchor and our meteorologist are all from the Tri-Cities area.”
George DeVault, WKPT’s general manager, who is also president of Holston Valley Broadcasting, praised Bailey’s efforts in re-building a local news team. “We’ve been producing eight-minute news briefs anchored by Jim Bailey for several months while the new full team was being assembled,” DeVault said. “Now we again have a traditional television news department such as we had from 1969 to 2002. Kingsport again has a full-service television station with ‘People you know…. News you need!’ ”
In addition to Bailey, the station has hired eight full time and three parttime personnel associated with the expanded local news effort. Capital expenditures have totaled around a quarter of a million dollars, the station said, and include high-definition cameras and associated equipment and vehicles. WKPT has also rejoined the Associated Press and ABC’s NewOne.