CLTV, the local cable news operation started in 1993 when Tribune Co. owned WGN-TV, is being closed by Nexstar Media, which acquired the station earlier this year.
The channel--ChicagoLand TV--recently had been running mostly re-runs of WGN newscasts and was viewed by only a few thousand households, according to the Chicago Tribune.
CLTV was one of a number of local news startups in the early 90s. At that point cable news was just beginning and WGN produced only two newscasts.
“Unfortunately, with news now available 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week across a variety of multi-media platforms, it has become increasingly difficult for CLTV to hold on to its audience and remain competitive, despite the high-quality of the local journalism it produces,” said Paul Rennie VP and general manager of WGN and CLTV in a memo to staff. “Ending production of CLTV will give us a chance to continue expanding local programming and local news here at WGN-TV.”
Rennie said that WGN plans to expand its weekend news during the first quarter of 2020 and add new local programming focused on sports and politics. WGN now produces 70 hours of local news per week.
As a result of the shut down, there will be a small reduction of staff, Rennie said, adding that most CLTV employees will have the opportunity to apply for open jobs at WGN.
Chicago media maven Robert Feder said about a dozen CLTV employees will be offered jobs with WGN, while another four or five are expected to be laid off.