Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

TV Stations Ready for Changes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

TV Stations Ready for Changes

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Elliott, Times-Union sports writer

Let the battles begin.

On the eve of the first major change among Jacksonville's news stations since ABC affiliate WJXX TV-25 was taken over by NBC station WTLV TV-12 several years ago, the competition to keep television viewers as well as bring in new ones is set to begin in earnest tomorrow among the city's four major TV stations.

That's when WJXT TV-4 drops its 53-year network tie with CBS to become an independent. At the same time, former UPN station WTEV TV-47 takes over as Jacksonville's new CBS affiliate.

The station changes will result in additional newscasts by both TV-4 and TV-47, which means more sportscasts.

TV-12 and Fox TV-30 will keep their sports shows in the same time slots, but both will be affected by the changes happening at the other two stations. The result will be a competitive battle among the three sports departments (TV-30 and TV-47 is owned and operated by the same group) to have Jacksonville's sports enthusiasts tune in to one of their midweek or weekend broadcasts.

TV-4 sports director Sam Kouvaris has enjoyed the highest ratings due to the big numbers posted by the station's evening newscasts. But when the totals of TV-12 and TV-25 are combined, in which sports director Dan Hicken appears simultaneously on the two stations, it often makes this an even battle in terms of total ratings and viewers. TV-30 has lagged behind in third despite not having any news competition in the 10 p.m. slot.

In the all-important evening news, if this was a tournament, the semifinal pairings would put TV-4 against TV-30 in the 10-11 p.m. newscasts with TV-12 now matched up against the rookie, TV-47, in the 11 p.m. news shows. That puts Fox TV-30 sports director Ryan Elijah competing against both Kouvaris and Hicken.

"We're looking forward to the challenge of doing six shows daily, three on both stations," Elijah said. "We will do different shows with different looks from our Fox-30 reports compared to that on CBS. We will often cover the same events in our shows, but we'll look at them from contrasting angles. …

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