Gainesville Television Network to add nightly local newscast

GTN News is scheduled to air weekdays on CBS4, NBC9 and MY11.


Published: Sunday, August 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 31, 2010 at 10:42 p.m.

The Gainesville Television Network will bring a new local newscast to its three stations starting in late September or early October.

GTN News is scheduled to air Monday through Friday at 5:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. on WGFL-CBS4; 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on WNBW-NBC9; and 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on WMYG-MY11.

"We felt it was the right time for us to give the Gainesville area another choice in local news," said Michael Yanuzzi, president of the New Age Media company, which owns and manages GTN.

To help attract Gainesville viewers, the newscast will have the familiar faces of Myra Monroe as news director and Joe Girvan as sports director.

Monroe has served as anchor and executive producer for WCJB-TV20, anchor for ABC affiliate WTXL-TV in Tallahassee and journalist and mentor for UF's WUFT-FM/TV.

Girvan has served as sports director for WCJB-TV20, sports anchor for Bright House Sports Network in Tampa and sports director for NBC affiliate WPMI-TV in Mobile, Ala.

The newscast's stories and local news will be produced by a Gainesville staff, while the anchors and production duties will be based in Iowa through International News Network, a company that helps small-market newscasts air productions typical of major-market newscasts. Its technology and support will help GTN avoid mistakes typically found in smaller newscasts, Yanuzzi said.

It also will allow GTN News to focus on content instead of production.

"Our expertise is to be on the ground in the market with reporters and videographers and people that know the Gainesville market," he said.

Mark Leeps, news director for UF's WUFT-TV, said GTN News has its work cut out for it.

"It's very hard to start from scratch and take on a dominant local news presence like TV20," he said.

He said one important aspect is scheduling newscasts around popular network programming. Yanuzzi agrees, saying he hopes CBS' 10 p.m. television shows will attract viewers to its 11 p.m. newscast.

He also hopes the programming - and coverage of Gator football games - will conquer another issue GTN News faces - changing viewer habits. Gainesville viewers have watched TV20 for so long they might be reluctant to switch to another newscast, he said.

GTN plans to use the first year listening to viewer feedback and adjusting its content to give Gainesville residents what they want.

"Our main focus is to concentrate as much of our resources on local new stories as possible," Yanuzzi said.

Advertising will not be an issue for GTN News, he said. He said advertisers are looking for another market because it's better to have advertising money in several markets in case ratings fall. GTN News should spur growth in advertising as well as take some from TV20, Yanuzzi said.

However, Carolyn Barrett, president and general manager for WCJB-TV20 and CW Gainesville, said she is not worried about advertising.

She also expects TV20's ratings to remain strong. It has been on the air for almost 40 years, and she said people depend on its local news and identify with its long-term anchors, including Paige Beck, David Snyder, Lisa Wolf and Bob Williams.

And even though the newscast always strives to improve, she said competition will bring out the best.

"We're going to keep doing what we're doing and hopefully do it better and better and better," Barrett said. "We serve the community, and that's what we're here for."

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top