11Alive adds temporary 7 p.m. newscast on WATL-TV to accommodate Ossoff/Handel political ads

This was posted on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 by Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV talk blog

WXIA-TV, known as 11Alive, on Monday added a 7 p.m. newscast on its sister station WATL-TV with no fanfare, replacing a repeat of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Why not promote the addition of more local news?

Two sources at 11Alive said the newscast is temporary and tied directly to accommodate a flood of political ads promoting (or taking down) either Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel vying for the hotly contest House seat left behind by Tom Price, now the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. They said the newscast will end after the runoff is over June 20.

The current newscast commercial inventory is otherwise too tight at the NBC affiliate, the sources said. In other words, the bonus newscast is more a place to air these ads for a few weeks rather than an actual consumer service.

Melissa Long is anchoring the 7 p.m. newscast as well as the regular 10 p.m. newscast on the station, known as MyNetwork and TheATL and owned by Tegna. That 10 p.m. newscast debuted in 2006 and competes with WAGA-TV/Fox 5.

John Deushane, general manager for 11Alive and WATL-TV, did not respond to inquiries for comment via email or text.

Do the newscasters get any additional pay for the additional work? Not that I know of.

11Alive for several years aired a 7 p.m. newscast but dropped it in early 2015 in favor of “Wheel of Fortune.”

And don’t worry, “Andy Griffith Show” fans. The 7:30 p.m. repeat remains.


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