Raycom, owners of WMC-TV5 in Memphis and WAFF-48 in Huntsville has picked up 15 tv stations owned by the Liberty Corporation. (press release link).
Peggy mentioned the merge today and says it might help whenever there’s news in Jonesboro that Memphis wants to cover. But I think the biggest winner in all of this may be WAFF.
Liberty owned WSFA-TV12 in Montgomery, Alabama, a dominant #1 NBC affiliate for as long as anyone can remember. Montgomery being the state capitol of Alabama, there will be many instances of when this partnership will prove priceless for the Channel 48 in Huntsville.
If I were the beneficiary of having a partnership with a station several hours away in the state capitol, I’d have some sort of agreement with the sister station to provide state capitol stories from the dedicated WSFA reporter covering state business.
Send them a microphone flag and make them a regular part of the newscast. I’d even call them “Channel 48’s state capitol reporter”. I’d put their bio on the website, invite them to town for meetings with the local delegation. I’d have a promo on the air next week that says “WAFF is the ONLY STATION IN THE VALLEY with a reporter covering state government.”
I’d do everything I could to make them appear to be full-time employees of WAFF.
It wouldn’t be like that cheesy way WREG has it’s anchors tossing to CBS network reporters either. If you’ve seen them you know what I mean: “Newschannel 3’s Julie Chen has the story” or “Newschannel 3’s Bob Schieffer has details.”. I never understood why they thought viewers would buy the idea that WREG had actually hired Bob Schieffer or Richard Schlesinger to report for a Memphis tv station. I didn’t do it one day and got an earful from an executive producer instructing me to introduce them as our own.
This merge will be good for many of the Raycom stations, but WAFF can really take advantage of having a sister station in the state capitol.