Small Screen: KAAL prepares for 2015 screen makeover
Even though we just crossed the midway point of 2014, KAAL-TV, channel 6, is planning big things for 2015.
Along with its planned move early next year to a state-of-the-art facility near TJ Maxx Plaza in Rochester, the ABC station is also planning a shake-up with its news programming. Currently, the station broadcasts "ABC 6 News Good Morning" from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 30-minute news programs at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. During the nightly news, most stories are covered inside a 90-second window. News director David Springer said the station would like broadcast a news program that would air longer investigative pieces.
"We're shooting for something a little different from the norm and plan on giving ourselves more time to talk about the big stories of the day or the week," Springer said.
While Springer said nothing is concrete yet, the station has asked Betsy Singer to co-anchor the show, and she has agreed to do it.
"It will be more in-depth reporting, investigative stuff, more to the story that what you can see in a typical newscast. We will be getting more involved with issues and investigations," she said.
Singer anchors the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. news. She still has a year left on her three-year deal, but KAAL wants to lock up Singer long term before she leaves the nightly news anchor desk for the proposed new show, tentatively set to begin in September 2015.
During her news career, Singer, a Winona native, was a news anchor at KTTC-TV and worked at markets in Columbus, Miss., Tallahassee, Fla., and Memphis, Tenn. She came to KAAL in 2009. Though other TV stations have reached out to her over the years, she plans on staying in southeastern Minnesota.
"I'm committed to staying here," she said. "I love the idea of the new show. My GM (David Harbert) has shown awesome faith in me."
The station is currently searching for a new anchor/producer. Springer said the station has not lost any on-air anchors and the search is precautionary. If the proposed investigative show hits the air, Springer said the station will need to hire another new producer.
Down for training
If you're a fan of cable channel 19, you've probably noticed it's been down for some time.
Eileen Schneider, in the Rochester City Clerk's office, said the channel should be back up and running soon. The city has switched software to Tightrope, and Schneider and others still need to complete training before they can upload current information on the channel. She will finish the training between July 15 and 24.
After that, the channel will resume broadcasting Rochester City Council agendas, local job opportunities, bus information, current events and many other news items by the end of the month. Most days, channel 19 will rotate more than 200 slides.