SYRACUSE — ABC affiliate NewsChannel 9 (WSYR-TV) says it will become Syracuse’s first TV station to produce local programming in high-definition, starting next month. Viewers can also look for a brand new studio set, a few anchor lineup changes and a different logo.
According to a story on NewsChannel 9’s website, the changes are “scheduled to take place in February.” While an exact date has not yet been announced, we’ll put our money on or near February 3rd — the first day of the Nielsen ratings sweeps period.
The story says all local newscasts and the locally-produced talk show Bridge Street will be broadcast in HD. For quite awhile, the station has already offered ABC network programming in HD, but has always switched back to SD for everything else, including locally-inserted commercials during network programming.
Coinciding with the change to HD, the station says it’ll be making some anchor lineup changes.
- Christie Casciano will move from early mornings to late nights, anchoring NewsChannel 9 @ 10:00 on the 9.2 subchannel. She’ll also join Rod Wood as co-anchor of Eleven @ 11:00.
- Tanja Babich will take over Christie’s old assignment, co-anchoring with Dan Cummings on The Morning News.
- Kaylea Nixon, who started as a substitute co-host on Bridge Street during Tanja’s maternity leave, will keep that title permanently. Additionally, Nixon will provide the traffic reports during The Morning News, a duty currently performed by Casciano.
- James Gaddis, currently anchoring the 10pm newscast on 9.2, will begin anchoring the station’s weekend evening newscasts, with a few days of reporting during the week.
Last but not least — in addition to rearranging some faces and unveiling a brand new studio set, the station will have a brand new graphical look. A new logo will accompany the transition to HD programming.
With all due respect to his former co-workers at channel 9, your editor can’t help but question why a logo change is needed. Guess we’re just so used to the existing logo, which has been around since the mid-1990s. At the very least, we would have hoped for something more original than what appears to be a clone of the logo for Kansas City’s KMBC. But considering sister station 13WHAM’s new HD logo appears to be modeled after Houston’s KTRK, we can’t say we’re surprised.
Either way, we’re still looking forward to seeing local news in true HD. If the “enhanced widescreen” launched last month across town at WSTM/WTVH/WSTQ-LP is even just a preview of what’s to come, we’ll be expecting some fantastic pictures and graphics when WSYR-TV completes its upgrades.