Sinclair Broadcast Group To Launch Headline News Service

Sinclair Broadcast Group plans to launch a headline news service in early 2021, with plans to hire 25 new employees.

At the start, the service will air weekday mornings from 6 AM to 9 AM on Sinclair’s CW and MyNetwork TV affiliates, and it also will be shown on the broadcaster’s streaming service, STIRR.

The service will feature a main anchor and a “Live Desk,” which will report in real time new details on significant stories of the day. Sinclair said that it will draw on content from Sinclair stations, as well as original content produced specifically for the program.

The service also will feature national stories, but no commentary. Sinclair stations previously ran must-run opinion segments on their local news programs, but those were scaled back in December.

Sinclair indicated that the headline news service grew out of two streaming channels that it debuted this year — COVID-19 News and Election 2020. The emphasis on local stories could help distinguish the service from the highly lucrative morning show franchises on the broadcast network affiliates and cable news networks.

Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair, said in a statement that “the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the demonstrations occurring across our country has reminded us of the important, invaluable role that local news plays in our communities. Every national story has its roots in local communities and with this new platform, we will ensure that more voices and stories are elevated to the attention of viewers everywhere. This headline news service is part of our ongoing commitment to connect more viewers with more content everywhere.”

Sinclair said that it plans to hire anchors, producers, reporters, editors, photographers and directors.

The broadcaster is one of the largest station groups in the country. It owns or has service agreements with 191 stations in 89 markets.

The largest broadcaster, Nexstar, is launching a nightly newscast, News Nation, on WGN America on Sept. 1.

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