The content-sharing partnership between WJBK-TV (Channel 2) and WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) started this week, allowing the Metro Detroit Fox and ABC affiliates, respectively, to pool resources at general news events and eliminate duplicate efforts.
Earlier this month, both stations' parent companies, Fox Television Stations and the E.W. Scripps Co., made similar moves in Phoenix and Tampa in a venture called Local News Service or LNS.
Fox and NBC affiliates in Philadelphia were the first in the country to test-drive the LNS method last year, and when top brass realized they were saving money and their reporters and photographers suddenly had more time to devote to enterprise stories, they were sold.
"Now when the news of the day breaks, there won't be 15 news cameras and microphones jockeying for the same footage," says Jeff Murri, WJBK's vice president and general manager. "It's a necessary evolution for our business."
While WXYZ and WJBK are partners, they do not share on-air talent, and both stations will continue to operate independently, including the way they gather news, break stories and use shared footage. In time, the two stations could expand the content-sharing pool to include other local stations as well as radio and newspaper outlets.
"This strategy will promote an even more competitive local news environment," says Bob Sliva, the vice president and general manager of WXYZ. "All broadcasters realize that their future success is tied to serving their respective local-market customers better than ever before, and that's particularly true of all the TV stations here in the Detroit market."
Look for Sterling Heights native and college senior Steve Dials on Wednesday's "Wheel of Fortune," which airs at 7 p.m. weeknights on WDIV-TV (Channel 4). Dials attends Purdue University.