Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Attention News Choppers: Savings in Aisles 4 and 25

With sagging viewership and declining ad reveuues, local television stations in Boston--the nation's seventh largest tv market--are looking to conserve money and pool resources. Beginning June 1, WFXT-TV (Channel 25) and WBZ-TV (Channel 4) will share a helicopter for aerial news coverage. The Boston Globe today reports that the two stations also will share footage for non-aerial stories such as press conferences and commencement ceremonies. Leasing a helicopter is costly for local stations, ranging from $750,000 to $1 million annually. The respective news directors at the Fox affiliate and WBZ also can use the copter for exclusive enterprise stories.
Great; now both stations can fire up the eggbeater to do reconaissance over suburban communities in their endless quest for a moose that strayed into a home swimming pool. Too bad the stations don't pool their limited resources to cover financial skullduggery in the State House on Beacon Hill. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm afraid the product of this joint venture will be less like "Lou Grant" and more like "Whirlybirds."

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