UTICA — After several years without any local newscasts, Eyewitness News HD is set to debut on ABC affiliate WUTR and Fox affiliate WFXV today. As of this writing, that first newscast is one hour away. Traditionally, newscasts on WUTR have struggled to compete with longtime market leader WKTV, but today’s launch has the support of at least three people very familiar with WKTV’s inner workings.
First and foremost, Stephen Merren, the VP/GM of Nexstar Broadcasting’s Utica properties. Before joining Nexstar, Merren was the longtime GM at WKTV. Merren announced the plans to launch local news on WFXV and WUTR back in March, during a party celebrating WFXV’s 25th anniversary.
Just a little less than a month ago, when Merren made the surprise announcement that the newscasts will be produced in HD, we also learned that Caroline Gable has been named the primary co-anchor of the new venture. To take the job, she left WKTV, where she was a reporter and part-time anchor.
And just today, we’ve learned former WKTV News Director and Operations Manager Jerry Walsh has been doing a lot of work behind-the-scenes to help with today’s launch. Walsh left WKTV in 2007 to become the News Director at Nexstar-owned CBS affiliate WROC in Rochester. According to today’s edition of Northeast Radio Watch, Walsh has been recently promoted to “a corporate position” with Nexstar. As part of his new role, Walsh has been tapped to assist with the Utica launch.
WUTR’s newscasts will air weeknights at 6pm and 11pm, while WFXV will offer a 10pm newscast. The 6pm WUTR newscast will be repeated on tape at 7pm on MyNetwork affiliate WPNY-LP. Gable will be joined at the anchor desk by News Director Joe Parker and Chief Meteorologist Jeff Matthews.