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New Network Newscast by Nexstar


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Just a few pics from tonight’s newscast (weekend premiere). Overall energy is down from Tuesday but nothing they can’t overcome.

 

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Definitely more technical errors on the weekend newscast and a lot more anchor reads with only one live package (Nancy Loo from the Patriot Prayer gathering). Definitely feels more like a newsradio type operation with graphics and video just there for background purposes, using B-roll of Serena Williams instead of footage from the US Open, and the six pack screen not collapsing properly. 

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On 9/5/2020 at 7:25 PM, tjt24 said:

And unlike the weekday broadcast, there was no talent open for the weekend broadcast. At least out of the first block. 

I just caught a talent open at the end of the A block of the 10pm ET hour of tonight's NewsNation.

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God, the weekend talent is awful, minus the weather kid and the black woman. The main guy aaron looks like he belongs in Albany. 
the field reporting is also still pretty rough.

 

The weekend newscast looked like a local newscast in market 30. Not awful, but not great by any means. 

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Remember back when it was mentioned that Nexstar was looking for segment sponsors? Here's that sales pitch, right on the network's website. Early graphic mock-ups hinted at a different base font for the network, and very vibrant color usage from feature to feature, differing quite a bit from the muted, earthy tones of the final on-air product.

 

https://wgnamerica.com/wgn-videos/news-nation-sponsorship-trailer/

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18 minutes ago, 24994J said:

Remember back when it was mentioned that Nexstar was looking for segment sponsors? Here's that sales pitch, right on the network's website. Early graphic mock-ups hinted at a different base font for the network, and very vibrant color usage from feature to feature, differing quite a bit from the muted, earthy tones of the final on-air product.

 

https://wgnamerica.com/wgn-videos/news-nation-sponsorship-trailer/

 

Some of those segment titles align with the cuts that Stephen Arnold produced. Was wondering why a package cut was labeled "Movies for America"! Notably this video has no equivalent sponsored segment proposal for automotive which has a special cut in the music package.

 

Definitely an early/rough cut, and I have to wonder when this was made (pre- or post-pandemic). Also interesting the shift from something that might have been a bit more up-to-date to Proxima Nova. I wonder if COVID-19 and the media environment it produced prompted changes in the visual direction that Troika was implementing.

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A Twitter exchange I had at 1am that turned bizarre led me to think a lot tonight about NewsNation and how it's playing to potential viewers.

 

So far, most Twitter conversation about NN has been from the right-of-center to right. This is a consistent theme I have noticed monitoring social media in recent days, and I have identified several reasons this might be the case:

  • Slogan promotion turns off potential viewers on the left. Looking at you, "balance, not bias". In trumpeting their adherence to this principle, they may be actually causing their viewership to become even more imbalanced. Casual left viewers might be hearing that slogan and feeling like this is a competitor to Fox News.
  • In this moment, conservatives might be more inclined to sample a new news product they haven't heard of. It feels like people on the left and center-left want to stick to names they know (e.g. CNN, MSNBC), whereas people on the right are actively looking for new voices—particularly if they are disaffected viewers of Fox News Channel. If you're not familiar with Nexstar, as is the case for the average TV viewer, NewsNation looks like TV news startup #47. Nothing about it provides the cues that say "mainstream media" on a national level—even though, ironically this operation is as "legacy" as new news operations get, given its reliance on decades-old local TV newsrooms and people that once worked in them! This is one factor that might boost interest on the right but dampen it on the left.
  • Is Antenna TV promotion hurting? The thread that got weird on me fast actually was about someone on the left who was skeptical about NN merely because it was being heavily advertised on Antenna TV alongside other "conservative grifters" and MyPillow.
  • Is "both sides" a structural fallacy? From the bracket logo on down, Nexstar's "both sides" positioning might be flawed, and this is a macro problem well beyond Bradley Place. I think this is growing ever more common as a theme on the left, where most people and actors expect the two-party system of American politics to display some symmetry whereas it's actually becoming increasingly lopsided. The entire concept of NN as it is positioned might actually be playing into a structural fallacy. And it's one that generally doesn't bother local TV stations, from which NewsNation borrows so, so much in terms of content and presentation.
  • Potential gatekeepers: It's so weird to think this, but in 2020, Nexstar has built a new news product that will in about a month go behind a TV Everywhere paywall. That will remove a lot of cord cutters—and young, left-skewing people—from the audience. (It also appears WGN America has lost some distribution here and there in its years of general irrelevance, and it doesn't seem to be on many vMVPDs.) Oh, and Nexstar REALLY needs to get WGN America's West Coast feed sorted out so this program airs live nationwide.
  • The wind on this archery target might already have been pushing the audience to the right of the dead-center bullseye given the middle America focus.

 

I was asked why I was even looking at tweets about NN. I know the #KHive people won't see this message, but I might as well say it. I've been interested in the local TV business since I was little, and I was practically raised on cable news. This is the most ambitious project related to local TV news in years. It's the biggest gamble of Perry Sook's career, and there is intense scrutiny on whether this will be a winner or a failure we file alongside News Out of the Box or This Day. When Sook bought Tribune, he bought WGN—which included a lot of extra studio and building space, people with expertise in national television production, and a directionless cable channel already in millions of homes that was an effective blank slate. All three are part of the NewsNation recipe, as are (of course) all the Nexstar newsrooms.

 

And a personal note. I'm a news junkie! Of course NewsNation is not my only source of news. Certainly I consume content that would be recognized as further toward the left, whether that be CNN or The Intercept. But I also have found it useful enough as a complement to those other sources to follow and watch regularly.

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1 hour ago, Samantha said:

Potential gatekeepers: It's so weird to think this, but in 2020, Nexstar has built a new news product that will in about a month go behind a TV Everywhere paywall. That will remove a lot of cord cutters—and young, left-skewing people—from the audience. (It also appears WGN America has lost some distribution here and there in its years of general irrelevance, and it doesn't seem to be on many vMVPDs.) Oh, and Nexstar REALLY needs to get WGN America's West Coast feed sorted out so this program airs live nationwide.

Very good write up Samantha.  One thing I will say about WGN America’s loss of MVPD May be changing around. Last year when I renegotiated my Comcast package they told me WGN America wouldn’t be available in new packages and will be pulled.  Well about two months ago I noticed it reappeared as an available channel. I’m curious if Nexstar were renegotiating or willing to make concessions About carriage feeds so this program and big gamble would have the largest audience. 
As for a west coast feed I’d think it would be difficult to pull off unless they added more staff. Or they could have someone from the weekend team to do updates for the west. 

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11 minutes ago, newsbot said:

Half the News Nation audience disappeared in three days - and it's even worse in the demo. Perry's folly?
https://www.ftvlive.com/sqsp-test/2020/9/7/news-nation-loses-half-their-audience-in-3-days

Doesn't this remind you of the the "News Central" layout Sinclair had in the early 2000s. once they tried to add a national flavor. it was dead. Same could be true for Nexstar.

 

For those that need a refresher on "News Central": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_Central

 

Edited by Kenneth Kissel
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5 hours ago, Samantha said:

A Twitter exchange I had at 1am that turned bizarre led me to think a lot tonight about NewsNation and how it's playing to potential viewers.

 

So far, most Twitter conversation about NN has been from the right-of-center to right. This is a consistent theme I have noticed monitoring social media in recent days, and I have identified several reasons this might be the case:

  • Slogan promotion turns off potential viewers on the left. Looking at you, "balance, not bias". In trumpeting their adherence to this principle, they may be actually causing their viewership to become even more imbalanced. Casual left viewers might be hearing that slogan and feeling like this is a competitor to Fox News.
  • In this moment, conservatives might be more inclined to sample a new news product they haven't heard of. It feels like people on the left and center-left want to stick to names they know (e.g. CNN, MSNBC), whereas people on the right are actively looking for new voices—particularly if they are disaffected viewers of Fox News Channel. If you're not familiar with Nexstar, as is the case for the average TV viewer, NewsNation looks like TV news startup #47. Nothing about it provides the cues that say "mainstream media" on a national level—even though, ironically this operation is as "legacy" as new news operations get, given its reliance on decades-old local TV newsrooms and people that once worked in them! This is one factor that might boost interest on the right but dampen it on the left.
  • Is Antenna TV promotion hurting? The thread that got weird on me fast actually was about someone on the left who was skeptical about NN merely because it was being heavily advertised on Antenna TV alongside other "conservative grifters" and MyPillow.
  • Is "both sides" a structural fallacy? From the bracket logo on down, Nexstar's "both sides" positioning might be flawed, and this is a macro problem well beyond Bradley Place. I think this is growing ever more common as a theme on the left, where most people and actors expect the two-party system of American politics to display some symmetry whereas it's actually becoming increasingly lopsided. The entire concept of NN as it is positioned might actually be playing into a structural fallacy. And it's one that generally doesn't bother local TV stations, from which NewsNation borrows so, so much in terms of content and presentation.
  • Potential gatekeepers: It's so weird to think this, but in 2020, Nexstar has built a new news product that will in about a month go behind a TV Everywhere paywall. That will remove a lot of cord cutters—and young, left-skewing people—from the audience. (It also appears WGN America has lost some distribution here and there in its years of general irrelevance, and it doesn't seem to be on many vMVPDs.) Oh, and Nexstar REALLY needs to get WGN America's West Coast feed sorted out so this program airs live nationwide.
  • The wind on this archery target might already have been pushing the audience to the right of the dead-center bullseye given the middle America focus.

 

I was asked why I was even looking at tweets about NN. I know the #KHive people won't see this message, but I might as well say it. I've been interested in the local TV business since I was little, and I was practically raised on cable news. This is the most ambitious project related to local TV news in years. It's the biggest gamble of Perry Sook's career, and there is intense scrutiny on whether this will be a winner or a failure we file alongside News Out of the Box or This Day. When Sook bought Tribune, he bought WGN—which included a lot of extra studio and building space, people with expertise in national television production, and a directionless cable channel already in millions of homes that was an effective blank slate. All three are part of the NewsNation recipe, as are (of course) all the Nexstar newsrooms.

 

And a personal note. I'm a news junkie! Of course NewsNation is not my only source of news. Certainly I consume content that would be recognized as further toward the left, whether that be CNN or The Intercept. But I also have found it useful enough as a complement to those other sources to follow and watch regularly.

 

I saw this via Henry Jesssel's TVNewsCheck, and we have a situation that no one seems to talk about, expediency bias among others.

https://www.rhetorica.net/bias

 

The point is this: NewsNation in it's first week has a long way to go, if they cut out the "balance not bias" mantra, and just bring the news, you'll be fine, otherwise you'll have to reach John Q. Public that don't care for "generic" local news.

 

Edited by YardLionREW
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I've been watching this new news program over the week and here is my two cents

 

When I heard the music, I thought the newscast would resemble like a the PBS hour or the networks evening news - it is not. 

 

I do no like idle banter between the anchors - just pass the story to the person and that's it. News should be presented in a no nonsense delivery. I know this does not fit

with the new generation - but the new generation does not watch the news - don't try to please someone who is not watching. I don't care if the anchors like each other.

 

Sunday night, preceding the weather about the extreme weather conditions, instead of using their music package they play Billy Joel's I Go To Extremes. Cheapens product imo

 

A survey about Taco Bell dropping menu items - please - just an ad insertion - same with the movie plug - I wouldn't see that on ABC (definitely not on PBS).

 

With all that time, the stories should be long form in no particular time limit - to get both sides of the story you need time -the pieces presented are something you will see in USA Today - 

stories that skimmed over with no details explained - these corresponders present a 1 minute piece - what do they do all day but to set up the shot?

 

The weather segment should be there in extreme conditions only (storms that affect regions) Temperature listing is a joke - go local for that

 

Yesterday they showed the fires in California with a helicopter shot - they can't show the source 'KTLA in the upper left corner"

 

Also they claim that they 5500 journalist, yet they only show the people they hired for the network. Not once did they say let's go to xxxx at our affiliate KTLA or let the local news go national.

 

When show a problem in Chicago for example, the piece should show how other cities are handling the problem.

 

 

 

 

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I've been watching for the past few days and I am not sold on NewsNation. I'm on the left, but I don't watch much traditional cable news - I stick mostly to the PBS Newshour/NPR for domestic news and analysis, and BBC World News for international news. 

 

One issue I have with NewsNation is the incessant repetition of "Balance, Not Bias". Casting aside the fact that this evokes the early days of Fox News Channel, I take issue with any news platform branding themselves as being immune to bias. Bias isn't just editorial slant, it is reflected in the way reporting resources are distributed, which stories come first in the running order, diversity/pay equity, what stories are omitted etc. It's noble of NewsNation to want to work toward impartiality, but I'd rather them actually do it instead of them talking about doing it.

 

Additionally, I was troubled by a lengthy series of soundbites from members of a far-right group that were not qualified as such - NewsNation seems hesitant to have any level of interpretation in their reporting for fear of appearing biased. Whether it is a far-left or a far-right group, I would expect a reporter to neutrally reference extremist content - under NewsNation's "Balance, Not Bias", that's oddly a bridge too far. I don't think the groups should be censored, but they should be noted for what they are. Under NewsNation's "Balance, Not Bias", editorial policy is viewed as some type of arithmetic - as if featuring two extreme perspectives that negate each other will create a moderate editorial outlook (and in the process, validating them both).

 

My biggest issue, however, is the lack of analysis and contextualization, which they've somehow spun as the thing that makes them impartial. I applaud NewsNation's desire to let viewers think for themselves, but they seem to have interpreted this as a total omission of any substantive analysis in their reporting. I understand that they want to avoid the forced debates on cable news with six talking heads screaming, but analysis is crucial to making sense of the day's news. Look at the PBS News Hour or the BBC - they present a report, and then afterwards have a short, well-moderated discussion, featuring someone who offers a perspective that further illuminates the initial report. This isn't telling viewers how to think - this is acknowledging that people from different contexts can share knowledge with others, adding a "Why?" to the "What/When?" of the report.

 

I think a great deal of these issues stem from the emulation of the local news format - for local news it is assumed that the viewer is of the region and knows enough of the context to interpret reporting without analysis/interpretation. On a national scale, I don't always understand the context of a story. Watching NewsNation, I've found myself craving just an inkling of historical/economic/social context to be added so I can better understand places I am less familiar with. Just because a broadcast can offer that doesn't mean they're doing the thinking for me - instead I think they'd be more fully doing justice to the story. 

 

I wish NewsNation the best, I don't doubt that they're trying their best to break the entrenchment that is the cable news landscape right now. But as it stands, I don't think I'll be a regular viewer - I watch the news not only to learn about what is going on, but to better understand perspectives that are not my own. I fear that a newscast that equates contextualization with bias will do little to change the current failures of cable news. 

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There are a few things that everyone needs to keep in mind.

 

1. NewsNation does not have the benefit of "star power", a big-time name personality with automatic recognition a la Shepard Smith. Really, Dean Reynolds (CBS) and Rob Nelson (World News Now) are the only air talent with previous name recognition. It's both a good thing (less salary and less worry about ratings right away to justify the salary) and bad (the lack of a big draw that results in people tuning in out of curiosity). But sometimes... generic is good? Look at “no-frills” supermarkets like Aldi and compare them to Kroger.

 

2. WGNA is a network that is now in a transition mode. The west coast feed only came about when the channel finally rid itself of the last few vestiges of anything Chicago beside the name. But what has been the purpose for WGNA since 2013? They had something going with original scripted programming until the Sinclair takeover attempt killed those plans, since then it had been programmed with blocks of procedural reruns and a few sitcoms. I'm not sure NewsNation benefits from having Last Man Standing as a lead-in, nor is it really necessary to run Blue Bloods episodes on a loop during the daytime. (That’s what Ion is for lmao.) The intent is clear that WGNA will shed the remainder of their rerun inventory and replace it with more news and information programming, thus making the west coast feed unnecessary. As to when that happens? Well, it should have been this past Tuesday, but I have no idea if contractural agreements with satellite distributors are causing or resulting in a hold-up.


3. Perry’s stance on “news, not bias” sounds somewhat kitschy (if it’s repeated endlessly for brand reinforcement), but it’s clearly with purpose and with merit. He’s basically going the total opposite direction that Sinclair had gone with their “must runs” and overt focusing on news from a partisan lens, and is doing it on purpose. Case in point, a memo he sent to his stations in early June during the initial protests over George Floyd’s murder that called for them to not go down the path of “endless adrenaline shots of conflict.” It’s more than being fair, it’s about de-escalating alongside objectiveness. And I’m gonna be blunt, the cable nets did a ton to escalate that unrest because they had no reason to be dispassionate. They were playing to their audience.

 

4. It’s about the advertising. Nexstar is able to get blue-chip advertisers for NewsNation that are not going to buy with Fox News primetime (for obvious reasons) and/or MSNBC. In that sense, they’re already better off than they had been with previous entertainment fare, plus they can keep the money outright instead of paying the entertainment programming distributors. Shedding that inventory has helped allay the cost of building out the operation, and they’ve been very forthright about that. Ratings may initially be down now but it’s making more money with a totally different audience to boot.
 

5. One thing that is kind of striking is how Nexstar hasn’t slacked off on the presentation of NewsNation one bit. There would have been so many ways this could have gone sideways—either from a reporting/anchoring perspective or from a visual perspective—and they didn’t. Perry Sook and Jen Lyons’ commitment to this is deeply visible as it wasn’t pushed back drastically or abandoned due to covid, and it’s obvious he sees something good in this for the industry, not just his conglomerate. I kinda joked that Perry’s running this effort as if Nexstar is the successor to Tribune, not a company that merely acquired Tribune.

 

6. The biggest flaws are totally out of the hands of anyone in Chicago, the technical aspects, the online distribution of the program post-September, and the overall state of WGNA. Nexstar’s gonna have to learn the hard way about the benefits of OTT streaming for all of their stations and for NewsNation. Expansion of the news production is inevitable as syndication contracts run out. That west coast feed is problematic. And then there’s the channel name itself and how that factors into this overall evolution.

 

All that being said, this program wasn’t built for ratings right off the bat. And that’s the point. Ted Turner wanted to think big with CNN and Headline News because news gathering meant and means a lot. This program does think big and should be allowed to do so. I hope it succeeds, even if their definition of “success” is much different from other applications of the word.

Edited by Myron Falwell
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9 hours ago, Samantha said:

A Twitter exchange I had at 1am that turned bizarre led me to think a lot tonight about NewsNation and how it's playing to potential viewers.

 

So far, most Twitter conversation about NN has been from the right-of-center to right. This is a consistent theme I have noticed monitoring social media in recent days, and I have identified several reasons this might be the case:

  • Slogan promotion turns off potential viewers on the left. Looking at you, "balance, not bias". In trumpeting their adherence to this principle, they may be actually causing their viewership to become even more imbalanced. Casual left viewers might be hearing that slogan and feeling like this is a competitor to Fox News.

 

I think slogan promotion turns off potential viewers period regardless of their political ideologies. I personally don't like the idea of having anchors/reporters say such things during a newscast when their responsibility is to be objective/impartial. Save that for the promos. 

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This is just me, but I know what I like and I know what I don't and I like NewsNation and I will keep watching it and I know in time people may possibly see the benefit from it and realize on those other cable shows in primetime that the news matters first not for their name to be in the title. And personally I don't care about the ratings as should a lot of people. News matters first.

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3 hours ago, Kenneth Kissel said:

First it was the Broadcast Networks, Now CNN is upset with Nexstar. Get Ready to see NewsNation be the biggest failure in company History. https://www.ftvlive.com/sqsp-test/2020/9/8/nexstar-vs-cnn

First, I am not associated in any way with the television industry, I am just a consumer. But I know what it takes to run a business.

 

When I read what Perry Sook told his staffers not to release any videos/reports to any news outlet before it runs on News Nation was a pure asinine decision. Did he not think that these news outlet would retaliate against News Nation and other Nexstar properties? 

 

Not sure if I would want this guy to run my company

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4 hours ago, Kenneth Kissel said:

First it was the Broadcast Networks, Now CNN is upset with Nexstar. Get Ready to see NewsNation be the biggest failure in company History. https://www.ftvlive.com/sqsp-test/2020/9/8/nexstar-vs-cnn

 

I saw that coming a mile away. Earlier this summer the company surveyed all the stations for how much feed video they were using. A station like KTLA doesn't use as much as people realize, in proportion to the amount of news they do. It's the mid-large stations that do gobs of news, like my station or WJW-TV or KDVR, that are much more reliant on feeds to fill the time. I figured the survey was the first step toward cutting CNN altogether.

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6 hours ago, Kenneth Kissel said:

First it was the Broadcast Networks, Now CNN is upset with Nexstar. Get Ready to see NewsNation be the biggest failure in company History. https://www.ftvlive.com/sqsp-test/2020/9/8/nexstar-vs-cnn

I guess that explains why we were locked out of the CNN Newsroom yesterday.

 

Terrible, horrible, no good, really really bad move that disproportionately affects non-affiliates imo. CNN was a godsend when we were in the first few weeks of covering protests. I can't imagine this policy holds up for long, but time will tell.

Exclusives don't matter if you don't have the viewership. They'd be better off funneling all of their VO through NewsNation and making CNN run that as the courtesy.

Edited by TheGuru
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I understand NewsNation may be getting more "blue-chip" advertisers, but I have to assume they are getting it cheap, because if they bought based on the numbers that were there before, someone's getting a refund or reconsidering their investment.

 

Ultimately, this thing needs attention, and the only way they are going to do that is if they break their own news. Not something being brought up from the local stations, but something they sourced, developed, etc. on their own for the national level, that then gets picked up by other outlets. Do they have the resources for that? Because it seems like they tout so much about having all this coverage with all their local newsrooms, but what dedicated reporters does NewsNation have that can work their own stories?

 

I'm not saying that won't come in time, but right now, this thing seems to be mainly a headline service.

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Losing CNN won’t be that big of a deal for big four affiliates. CNN certainly provides a lot, but it’s all content that everyone else has from being CNN affiliates. I don’t think relying too much on CNN content is a very good producer habit, and at least the network feeds provide something that you know your competitors likely won’t have.

 

Losing CNN will, however, screw over any station that’s not a big four affiliate, particularly WPIX, KTLA, WGN, and KRON. A patchwork content feed of Nexstar stations is a poor substitute.

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On 9/5/2020 at 10:46 AM, YardLionREW said:

948296.jpg?b64lines=IEkgS05PVyBJVCBXQVNOJ1QgR1JFQVQsIEJVVAogV0hBVCBSSUdIVCBETyBZT1UgSEFWRSBUTwogQ09NUExBSU4_IA==951216.jpg?b64lines=IEFTIEEKIExPWUFMIFZJ953301.jpg

 

I get it, NewsNation isn't your cup of tea, but I don't think reruns of Blue Bloods is coming back anytime soon. So, yeah. Sorry dude. And also selling the network to a WarnerMedia or some other company isn't going to make things better either.

 

You can NOT operate ONE cable channel today. That's not the way the industry works anymore. Nexstar has proven they don't have the ability to even present a product that viewers let alone advertisers want. Reruns would do much better...and were...in demos/sales. 

Nobody is buying it. They're giving ads away like crazy. The ad agencies are laughing at it. As I have said in multiple posts since this turkey even went on the air, SELL WGN AMERICA NOW, NEXSTAR, while you can still make something off of it. NEXSTAR KILLED WGN AMERICA. It is NOT salvageable. 

 

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30 minutes ago, CalItalian2 said:

You can NOT operate ONE cable channel today. That's not the way the industry works anymore. Nexstar has proven they don't have the ability to even present a product that viewers let alone advertisers want. Reruns would do much better...and were...in demos/sales. 

Nobody is buying it. They're giving ads away like crazy. The ad agencies are laughing at it. As I have said in multiple posts since this turkey even went on the air, SELL WGN AMERICA NOW, NEXSTAR, while you can still make something off of it. NEXSTAR KILLED WGN AMERICA. It is NOT salvageable. 

 

Did Perry Sook run over your dog?

Edited by 24994J
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