More news, more crews as Boise area TV market continues to evolve

By Don Day

BOISE – Leaves weren’t the only things changing across the Treasure Valley landscape this fall — the local television landscape was undergoing a dramatic shift of its own.

The month of September saw an unprecedented number of changes to each of the local stations that produce news – with changes to nearly every station’s lineup.

Local television has seen a major expansion of its available news product over the last 12 years or so. On any given weekday in 1999 just three channels presented a total of nine hours of local news.  Today viewers have access to more than 19 hours across seven stations: KTVB, 24/7, KIVI, KNIN, KTRV, KBOI and KYUU.

 

KNIN

The most heavily-promoted changes came to KNIN-TV channel 9.  The station, which started life as a Home Shopping Club affiliate, continued its evolution to a top-tier network affiliate. Now known as Fox 9, the Journal Broadcast Group-owned outlet traded low-rated CW programming for well-known shows like House, American Idol and Glee.

It also restructured its

commitment to news programming. Once famously known as “Idaho’s No-News Channel,” KNIN added a 30-minute nightly news program in 2009 at 9 p.m. when it was acquired by Journal Broadcast Group – which also owns local ABC affiliate KIVI.  The show was anchored by KIVI’s talent and grew out of Journal’s deal with the Federal Communications Commitment to merge the two stations.

With the move from CW to Fox on September 1st, a glossy new hour-long newscast premiered, anchored by a separate team. Texas native Tamara Jolee had been paired with former KTVB morning anchor Roland Beres for the show.  The station later replaced Jolee with KIVI anchor Michelle Edmonds. While the show shares a set (brand new), graphics (also new) and reporting team (partly new) with KIVI, some unique-to-KNIN features are mixed in to help the show stand apart.

KTRV

After losing the Fox affiliation to KNIN, KTRV spent the summer fashioning a new program lineup.  The station now calls itself 12KTRV and is playing up the moniker “Idaho Independent TV.”

KTRV added an hour of morning news from 8-9 a.m. – giving it a three-hour block that starts at 6 a.m.  Weekend anchor Bri Eggers moved to mornings and the station has added live segments in the early morning hours.

In place of Fox shows in prime-time, channel 12 now runs syndicated repeats of 30 Rock and Law & Order Criminal Intent leading into its established 9 p.m. newscast.

The station also is running Friday Football Live, a weekly high school football matchup produced in association with Impact Radio Group.

KBOI

The third partner in the television Do-Si-Do is KBOI and co-owned station KYUU.  Digital channel 2.2 had been home to a classic sitcom service known as Retro TV – but after KNIN dropped CW programming, KYUU remade itself as a full affiliate of the network.

Like KNIN, KYUU had a fledgling 9 p.m. newscast – but also took the new affiliation as a chance to beef up its presence in the time slot.  Former KBOI morning anchor Trina Cobbley produces and appears alongside reporter Alana Brophy for the 30-minute show, which features traditional local news headlines and weather with lifestyle segments and entertainment news.

On its main CBS affiliate, KBOI launched a new morning show known as AM Extra with former sports director J Bates and market newcomer Stephanie Smith. Much like its 9 pm cousin, the new morning show is going outside the traditional local news formula by adding personality and lifestyle segments to the steady diet of news, weather and traffic.

KIVI

Channel 6 has rehired some of the staff lost during a round of layoffs in 2010. It also shares a new set with KNIN and introduced new graphics and music to complete the look. Market veteran Bob Anthony returned to the station for his second tour of duty as weekend weather anchor at channel 6, after spending several years at KTVB followed by time out of TV news.

KTVB

No major changes at KTVB – though the station (disclosure: my employer) is putting added emphasis on the live newscasts on its digital station, now known as Idaho’s Very Own 24/7.  The 6:30 p.m. newscast has been revamped, and a number of features added to the morning news at 7 a.m.

Don Day, Internet sales and product manager for KTVB News Group, is a former Idaho Press Club state board member.