WOTV 41 News Closes Doors

August 21, 2003
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BATTLE CREEK — LIN Television Inc. today announced its decision to eliminate the local news team at its Battle Creek-based ABC affiliate WOTV Channel 41, effective immediately.

The local news will instead be provided by 24-Hour News 8 on WOTV beginning with today’s 5 p.m. evening news.

The combination of a sluggish economy and an increasingly competitive local media market led to the decision.

LIN Television said it will eliminate 24 employee positions within the news department but will maintain a Battle Creek/Kalamazoo bureau at the station that will be staffed by one reporter, two photographers and one producer. This team will contribute to coverage on 24-Hour News 8.

The local sales team and production team will remain in Battle Creek, as will the engineering staff. Employees were notified of the decision earlier today.

“This was a very difficult decision that was tied with our commitment to maintaining our regional news leadership as well as our ongoing interest in the entire southwest Michigan marketplace,” said Diane Kniowski, WOOD TV-8 president and general manager and LIN Television spokesperson.

“We’ve studied the numbers for years and challenged ourselves to find a way to turn around the situation; however, the marketplace is rich with local news competition coming from Jackson, Kalamazoo and, of course, our own station in Grand Rapids. We are confident that our investment in the Battle Creek community will continue to be an asset as we work to serve the community through the WOTV/WOOD partnership.”

WOTV Channel 41 will maintain its ABC affiliate status, continuing to provide ABC network news and programming.

“WOOD TV-8 will put more resources to work to ensure viewers in southwest Michigan continue to receive the kind of hometown, local news from where they live,” said Kniowski. “We are also looking forward to expanding the amount of local news available to viewers in that area with our longer and more frequent local newscasts.”

The 24-Hour News 8 local news lineup airing on WOTV Monday through Friday begins at 5 a.m. with two hours of news prior to “Good Morning America.” WOTV will air the first half of 24-Hour News 8’s noon news. Evening newscasts begin at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. Access to four and one-half hours of local news programming, including weather forecasts, will be a significant addition for WOTV-41 viewers, she said.

LIN Television manages and operates four television stations in West Michigan: WOOD TV-8 (NBC), WOTV Channel 41 (ABC), WXSP (UPN) and WZPX (PAX).           

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