As Lilly Broadcasting merges the news operations of WICU and WSEE in Erie the viewers are the big losers.
The market's NBC and CBS affiliates will no longer broadcast separate newscasts on weekday mornings and evenings.
The move, which will begin Oct. 12, means WICU and WSEE will air an identical newscast at 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. They'll do the same for their weekday 11 p.m. newscasts.
Of course it saves the company money, but the viewers lose out an having a separate newscast to watch.
And the viewers aren't only getting screwed at night. WSEE and WICU also will merge their morning weekday newscasts into one program, with one set of anchors.
WICU's sunrise broadcast will begin at 5 a.m., and at 6 a.m. WSEE will begin airing the same broadcast.
John Christianson, executive vice president for Lilly Broadcasting, said the company has spent the past three years conducting audience research, holding focus groups, calling viewers, and seeking out the help of consultants.
"The research showed that we were pulling ourselves too thin. We will now take our resources and serve the viewers better," Christianson said. "The perception in the public is that they were seeing the same (broadcast), just with a different presenter delivering it. This is a great opportunity for us that we believe will be well-received."
Christianson said the merging of broadcasts is "not a cost-cutting move."
"It's truly a way for us to cover the local newscape better," he added. "This will give our reporters more time to optimize things, and give us a larger range when we're covering stories."
OK....just keep telling yourself that and maybe you or someone else will be live it. But we at FTVLive certainly do NOT!