The Locally Owned Voice of the Capital Region

WTEN, WXXA share staff under new plan

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
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— A behind-the scenes consolidation of two Capital Region television stations became apparent to the viewing public this weekend when on-screen reporters from ABC affiiliate WTEN appeared on FOX affiliate WXXA.

The move is part of a shared services plan announced this summer by Shield Media LLC, which bought FOX 23 this summer, and Young Broadcasting, which owns WTEN. One of the first visible signs of this partnership was the coverage of the shooting at the Sandy Hook School in Connecticut, with WTEN's Amy Cutler appearing on FOX 23.

WXXA has let go some of its top leadership, including the general manager and news and sales directors, according to two sources familiar with the move who weren't able to speak publicly about the changes. These functions will now be performed by WTEN staff.

A receptionist for WXXA said Tuesday that Bill Sally, the former general manager, no longer works there and that Andy Alford, the WTEN general manager, has that job. A call this afternoon to Alford at WTEN was not immediately returned.

Moving forward, reporters from both stations will be appearing on each other's stations, including at this afternoon's broadcasts.

Additional operations, like social media, will also be shared between the two stations, according to sources.

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December 18, 2012
4:29 p.m.
wmarincic says...

There goes unbiased news not that there was any to begin with.

December 18, 2012
8:56 p.m.
Fritzdawg says...

wmarincic: I wouldn't worry about it. WTEN, is owned by ABC/Disney, and is already pretty corporate and right wing friendly.
They should call WTEN "the fear station", because not a newscast goes by that they they don't warn us of some perceived danger, or impending doom.

You'll still have plenty of stories to become illogically enraged and fearful over.

I thought WTEN was broke. They have more technical goofs than any of the other area news station, because they hire on people who'll work for peanuts, and that's about all they're worth.

December 19, 2012
9:07 a.m.
BillP says...

It's too bad they didn't include the Daily Gazette in the shared services agreement. As I recommended many year's ago the only way the Gazette could make it online was to find a partner.

For me it's worth paying for the E-edition of the Daily Gazette. We've been subscribers since day one but we're rare and I know you're losing money. It's annoying that I can't share links to local Gazette stories on Twitter or Facebook (although there are tricks if I really want to)

Maybe you guys need to talk to the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the owners of WRGB.

Bill Pytlovany

December 19, 2012
3:11 p.m.
poupore says...

I disagree with BilP about making the Gazette online edition free. I won't comment on partnerships, but I will say that the news model just doesn't work when you give away your content for free. That is why the WallStreet Journal and NY Times have a pay wall. It costs money to produce content and web ads, while certainly a source of revenue, have not become a big enough source to fund an operation like the Gazette. I think that rather than encouraging more papers to abandon the pay wall, I think that more papers should adopt it. When I was a kid someone told me that you get what you pay for, and I have found that to be true with free "news". I will continue to subscribe in both print and online and encourage the Gazette publishers to keep fighting the good fight.

December 19, 2012
6:56 p.m.
dan says...

WTEN is owned by Young Broadcasting, not ABC/Disney.

December 19, 2012
10:33 p.m.
Fritzdawg says...

But they get their marching orders from ABC.

December 21, 2012
6:56 p.m.
BillP says...

"You know, at one time there must've been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I'll bet the last company around was the one that made the best ... buggy whip you ever saw."

I'm pleased to see someone else with the passion to want the Daily Gazette to survive. For the record I'm not suggesting the Daily Gazette give away any content their reporters work hard to gather and verify. I want a news team that works independently of one group of advertisers. I want a news team that includes a fact checker, a copy of the AP Style guide and has an education in journalism. The staff I know from the Gazette are professional journalists. I certainly don't want to depend on Twitter of Facebook for my news.

The Daily Gazette does not have the audience of the WSJ or NY Times. They will not be able to provide the news I described based on a subscription model. If it was possible I'd say go for it but they can't live in denial like our friends in Rochester did. Sometimes you need to change or you die. I'm not saying a partnership with WRGB is the solution but it can't be business as usual.

I'm also with Dan. I used to work at ABC/Disney and they didn't have a clue what WTEN was doing.


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