The Fox affiliate WAGA-TV started a 4:30 a.m. new program two months ago. NBC affiliate WXIA-TV joined soon after. Beginning July 5, ABC affiliate WSB-TV will be the third in town to extend their local news a half hour earlier.
UPDATE: WGCL-TV is starting a 4:30 a.m. show as well on July 5 using the “Better Mornings” staff.
WAGA’s rationale was to build audience into its 5 a.m. news. Obviously, if everybody does it, it dilutes any one station’s advantage.
“We studied the trend across the country,” said WSB-TV general manager Bill Hoffman. “It’s now a common practice. The other two stations jumped in. We’ve been studying it for awhile. We decided we’d do it once we made some adjustments inside to make sure we had the resources to do it the way we wanted to do it.”
Fred Blankenship will anchor and Karen Minton will provide weather at 4:30 a.m. Carol Sbarge joins in at 5 a.m. WSB is the leader in ratings in early morning news, followed by WAGA, WXIA, then WGCL.