Sinclair and its newly acquired WJLA-TV Washington have hit on a way to program primetime, town hall meetings on topics of interest without having to preempt network programming — it is an ABC affiliate.
The Sinclair station has slated a half-hour town hall meeting on the midterm elections for Oct. 30 at 6:30. The station is billed as holding the meeting, but it will not carry it on air, which would necessitate preempting ABC programming. Instead, it will be taped for air on co-owned regional news network NewsChannel 8 at 8: 30 p.m. and will be streamed on not only WJLA's web site but all Sinclair TV station websites across the country (78 stations).
Sinclair lined up similar carriage for a town hall meeting on terrorism Oct. 1 — the first such collaborative effort — and on the Ebola threat Oct. 27.
Lined up for the politically balanced Oct. 30 midterm town hall — in the form of a roundtable of journalists and political leaders — are Washington Post political reporter Sean Sullivan, Washington Times political reporter Stephen Dinan; and Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran and former Virginia Republican Rep. Tom Davis (Davis's seat is now held by Democrat Gerry Connolly, who has also already been a guest for the Ebola town hall).
A station spokesperson said to look for "many more" such WJLA/NewsChannel8 tag team events. In fact, a follow-up, post-election town hall is being planned, most likely for Nov. 5.