In case you hadn't notice, Ch. 5 has gone beyond "Eyewitness News at Noon," "Eyewitness News at 6" and "Eyewitness News at 10." Now they've got "Eyewitness 24 Hour News."
Oh, it's nothing to rival the round-the-clock coverage that CNN provides. But Ch. 5 will have at least a minute of news each hour; the minute before the top of the hour."We want to let the audience know we will provide news when they want it," said Spence Kinard, KSL news director. "It won't always be in depth, obviously, but we'll provide local and national headlines."
The minute-long newscasts will supplement those already scheduled by Ch. 5 and CBS. And, for obvious reasons, they won't appear as leadins to regularly scheduled newscasts.
KSL has moved a remote camera into the newsroom, where a variety of staffers will broadcast the minutes live. Everyone from lead anchors like Bruce Lindsay, Shelley Thomas and Dick Nourse to reporters to "new faces" will be taking their turns.
Although the station will be sacrificing a minute of commercial time for each broadcast, it expects to make up the difference with increased ratings - and increased revenues - for the regular newcasts.
"It's being done by about 50 stations across the country, and they've seen their news (ratings) and image go up," said David Manookin, KSL's vice president of programming.
And Ch. 5 is also hoping to prevent some of you channel hoppers from jumping over to CNN to see what's happening at the top of the hour.
UTAH WON'T SEE "AMERICA": While KSL is demonstrating its commitment to news with 24 Hour News, it's not ready yet to make any commitment to CBS' "America Tonight."
The network's new late-night newscast - sort of CBS' version of "Nightline" - won't be seen in Utah anytime soon.
"We're not planning to pick it up right now," said David Manookin, KSL's vice president for programming. "We've got something stable and salable in place. We've got (contractual) commitments to `Love Boat' and `Preview.' And they're both doing real well for us - `Love Boat' is winning the time period."
KSL would be willing to show the show real late (12:30 a.m. or after), but the network won't go for that.
The question hovering over this decision is: If the station is so committed to news, then how can it justify not carrying "America," which is being hosted by respected TV journalists Lesley Stahl and Charles Kuralt?
"We don't know yet if this is just another experiment by CBS," said Manookin, who has seen the network make lots of changes - all unsuccessful - in its late-night schedule over the past few years. "If it's just another one of their experiments, then there's no reason to mess up our lineup.
"If, by next year, they've shown they have a real commitment to the show, then it's a different deal. We'll reevaluate things then."
So, while Mr. Spud is tempted to take Ch. 5 to task for not carrying "America Tonight," he'll hold off for now. It is true that CBS doesn't have much of a track record in late night, and that KSL stuck with the network's disastrous Pat Sajak Show through thin and thinner.
And it's also true that there are already reports that the network may be looking upon "America Tonight" as a stopgap measure until a lineup of late-night dramas is ready sometime next year.
But if CBS makes it clear "America Tonight" is here to stay and if KSL still refuses to carry it and especially if that insipid "Love Boat" is still afloat, then Mr. Spud will have plenty to say on the subject.
LUCKY SWEEP: While CBS may not have been happy to see the American League Championship Series end as quickly as it did, the folks at Ch. 5 weren't particularly upset - the A's sweep prevented a headache for KSL on Saturday.
Ch. 5 was more than happy to pick up an additional Cougar football game, Colorado State at BYU, which it broadcast Saturday at noon. If the ALCS had gone to six games, the 10 a.m. Saturday start would have conflicted with the BYU game.
KSL would have carried the football game regardless (it probably would have shipped the baseball game off to Ch. 14), incurring the wrath of CBS. The network just couldn't see pre-empting a might League Championship game for a lowly local college grid contest.
Let's try to explain it to them. KSL would probably have garnered about 20 fewer ratings points with baseball than with football.