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Raycom starting their own version of Sinclair's "NewsCentral" with WFXG?

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Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker

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So apparently Raycom Media is launching their own version of Sinclair's failed "NewsCentral" with their new Raycom News Network they are sharing between some of their stations.

I have an inside source at WJBF-TV, who produces a local newscast for local Raycom affiliate WFXG-TV in Augusta, GA. I mentioned in an earlier thread that WFXG is launching it's own news department and dismissing the service of WJBF. I have learned that this new newscast venture is ACTUALLY not going to be even produced by WFXG, but actually "out of Savannah's Raycom station"... WTOC-TV?!

In an article I found, Barry Barth, General Manager of WFXG-TV, said the newscast would have "a primarily regional focus". I have also learned from local sources that the only positions that WFXG is hiring for is reporting staff. I've been to WFXG's studios to know that they couldn't hold a newsroom and a studio in the same building, and their studio space is only half the size of a small studio.

From the way it looks, the new FOX 54 News will be outsourced from another market entirely, picking up local news from all over the Southeast (Raycom stations) with very little local news provided by the newly-hired local reporters. I've also been told that new people have been hired at Raycom to anchor these newscasts, so they most likely won't be anchored by WTOC staff or use WTOC's weather/sports department.

If I know anything from the WPIX issue, viewers DO NOT like change, and WJBF is fully understanding of this. I've been told that once WJBF stops producing newscasts for WFXG, John Hart and Kimberely Scott will not be going far, and will still be on the Augusta airwaves. I asked my source if WAGT-DT2's CW Augusta newscasts would be revived with the anchor duo and I was told, "Let's just say I will neither confirm nor deny it at this point. :)"

This should be interesting to see. WFXG plans to have the new newscasts up and running by October 1st. A recent drive by WFXG's studios showed no construction going on at all.

"We're building out a newsroom," said GM Barry Barth. Now I understand how this is going to work, and why they were only looking for field cameras and a live truck, and not more staff, graphics, set, or a larger studio.

Meanwhile out of Augusta, the WAGT/WJBF move to their new studios should be complete by late September, barring any unforeseen setbacks yet again.
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