Hubbard Broadcasting NBC outlet WNYT and Freedom Broadcasting CBS affiliate WRGB are in talks to share sports content, with an eye on kicking off the joint venture next month. The stations envision a file-sharing system for local sports video, with each station putting its own stamp on its sports report.
“We’re working out the technical part of it,” says WNYT VP/General Manager Steve Baboulis. “When it’s ready, we’ll go.”
The WNYT-WRGB talks were previously reported in Schenectady’s Daily Gazette, which says the stations’ unions are crying foul over the potential agreement.
Baboulis says the arrangement could extend to general news, though the initial plan only calls for sports.
WRGB VP/General Manager Bob Furlong was not available for comment at presstime.
The #57 DMA in upstate New York has been hit hard by the nation’s economic ills; the Daily Gazette reports that WNYT laid off 15 in December. Baboulis says the potential agreement is not designed to lay off more bodies, but to free up resources to chase down more enterprise stories.
Calling the stations “friendly competitors,” Baboulis says the two will remain hotly competitive for ratings and revenue. “It’s my goal, and I believe Bob’s goal, to maintain the distinctive natures of what our stations do,” he says.
Competing stations have been increasingly sharing video in various markets, such as Philadelphia, Chicago and Cleveland.
Other Albany stations include Young’s WTEN and Newport’s WXXA.