In a Cincinnati TV first, WCPO-TV will broadcast one hour of local news at 7 p.m. weekdays starting Monday, Aug. 31.
The expansion of the existing 7 p.m. newscast is temporary for fall. The additional local programming will give Channel 9 more commercial time to sell for political or other advertising through Election Day Nov. 3.
It will be programmed as two half hours, with Kristyn Hartman and meteorologist Steve Raleigh at 7 p.m., and Craig McKee and Raleigh at 7:30 p.m., says Jeff Brogan, Channel 9 vice president and general manger
The List, seen at 7:30 p.m. through this week, will return in November, Brogan says.
Channel 9 also will temporarily double the length of its 11 p.m. Sunday night newscast to an hour on Sept. 6, according to the staton's website. Sports Of All Sorts will be bumped to midnight. WLWT-TV expanded its 11 p.m. Sunday newscast to an hour last spring, benching the local Sports Rock show after live sporting events were canceled by the coronavirus.
"We’ve decided to temporarily add two half-hour newscasts to our schedule in the coming weeks because of the amount of news happening locally and nationally, including the election and because of the demand on our TV commercial inventory. "These newscasts will feature news of the day and weather as well as special coverage around the election," he says.
"The audience is gravitating to us to find out what’s going on in the late evening hours. In July, WCPO 9 News at 7 p.m. captured No. 1 in the key demographic of adults (ages) 25-54 and women 25-54, beating syndicated shows that have been on TV for years," he says, referring to Wheel Of Fortune, Inside Edition and Access Hollywood.
David Muir's ABC World News Tonight also "was No. 1 in those demos at 6:30 p.m., and our 6 p.m. was No. 1 with adults 25-54. Our team has done an excellent job of not only covering the day’s news but breaking down how it impacts people in our area," Brogan says.
For 40 years, Cincinnati stations have broadcast half-hour newscasts at 7 p.m. weekdays, but never a full hour on a regular basis.
Channel 9 did the first 7 p.m. news in 1979 with anchor Jon Esther. It had been canceled by 1987, when Rob Braun anchored a 7 p.m. news on WKRC-TV. Kristyn Hartman has anchored Channel 9's 7 p.m. newscast since joining the station on April 10, 2017, after Carol Williams' retirement.