The local ABC affiliate in Northeastern Pennsylvania has added another two hours of live local news broadcast to its morning schedule on a digital channel.
WNEP-TV on Monday began airing two additional hours of Newswatch 16 from 7 to 9 a.m. weekdays on its secondary digital channel – WNEP2.
WNEP’s morning team for the broadcast consists of Mindi Ramsey, Tom Williams, Joe Snedeker and Ryan Leckey, said news director Erik Schrader.
Schrader said the station’s severe weather coverage “will expand to an unrivaled level” for key travel hours, and the station will be able to provide more in-depth coverage to early-morning breaking news. He said coverage was expanded to benefit “parents who are getting their kids ready for school and people going to work at 9 a.m.”
Schrader said incorporating four short simulcasts into the broadcast was an “interesting” challenge. During the expanded broadcast, the news team provides “cut-ins” to “Good Morning America” on the station’s primary channel. The nationally aired morning program allows affiliates to air two- to three-minute news updates at 7:25, 7:55, 8:25 and 8:55 a.m.
“It was a real timing issue, but we were practicing all last week and it went well,” Schrader said of Monday morning’s broadcast.
Schrader also said Monday’s weather provided the perfect introduction for the new broadcast.
“It was a heck of a day to do it just because of the way the snow broke,” Schrader said, noting that heavy snow began falling right around 7 a.m., giving the station the opportunity to warn commuters about road conditions.
Also new on Monday was Marisa Burke’s debut as anchor for Newswatch 16 at noon.
Schrader said viewers who use antennas and have installed digital converter boxes can access WNEP2 on digital channel 16.2. The station can also be accessed on the wnep.com Web site 24 hours a day, and on most local cable television systems.
Locally, WNEP2 can be found on Channel 131 for Blue Ridge Cable viewers, Channel 243 for Comcast, Channel 14 for Metrocast, Channel 10 for Service Electric in Hazleton, and Channel 90 for Service Electric in Wilkes-Barre.