Move over CNN Headline News. Beginning Monday, WJZ-Channel 13 will produce daily capsules of local news to be seen on the cable systems serving Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
"Eyewitness News Cable Capsules," to be anchored by Channel 13's Al Sanders and Denise Koch and other news anchors, is scheduled to be seen nine times daily on the CNN Headline News channel of United Artists Cable in the city (Channel 15) and Comcast Cablevision in the county (Channel 10).
Officials of WJZ, the top-rated local news operation, and the two cable operations planned to announce the locally unprecedented cooperative venture at a morning press conference today. About 160,000 Comcast subscribers and 100,000 United subscribers will have access to the news capsules.
"This joint venture is an effort to expand our news product to directly meet the needs of our Baltimore metropolitan viewers," says Marcellus Alexander, vice president and general manager of WJZ-TV.
"We are delighted with this unique cooperation between the broadcast and cable interests. This gives our customers still more quality programming," says Curt Pendleton, general manager of Comcast Cablevision. And United Artist Cable chief Euan Fannell says, "we are excited about this joint effort to bring Marylanders information that is informative and relevant to their daily lives."
Channel 13's news operation will produce three different five-minute spots of local interest news daily on weekdays, with each screened three times at the same time on both cable systems. The schedule includes a morning edition at 9:24, 10:24 and 11:24 a.m.; a mid-day spot at 1:24, 3:24 and 5:24 p.m., and an evening spot at 7:24, 9:24 and 11:24 p.m.
CNN Headline News provides local cable operators an hourly five-minute "window" of time to fill with local material, if desired.
Channel 13 says the capsules, which will not be seen on WJZ, will also include such staples of the station's daily news programming as traffic reports, school lunch information and community calendar items.
The venture is the second significant enterprise on the local news scene to be launched this month. For this past weekend, WBAL-Channel 11 unveiled its new Saturday and Sunday morning news broadcasts.
Saturday, WBAL-AM 1090 radio newsman Dave Durian anchors a live continuous newscast, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with sports, weather, features and live remote reporting.
The Saturday show replaces most of the CBS network children's cartoon fare. But beginning this weekend, the CBS shows "Garfield" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" will return at 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., respectively.
Sunday, Jennifer Johnson anchors a similar news broadcast which begins at 8 a.m. But from 9 to 10:30 a.m., WBAL is still showing "CBS This Morning." The local newscast resumes at 10:30, then is interrupted at 11 a.m for CBS' "Face the Nation," and resumes again from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.