On New Year’s Day, WWAY added CBS to its stable of offerings, making it the local home for that network, in addition to ABC and the CW.
The move came as WILM-TV 10’s contract with CBS expired Dec. 31.
But losing a network and becoming a truly independent station is seen as a plus in the halls of WILM.
“There are some really good things coming out of this change,” said Constance H. Knox, general manager of WILM-TV.
“Prior to the switch we had severe restrictions from CBS on how many basketball games and sporting events we could carry; now we have no restrictions,” Knox said. “So the cool part is I am able to pick up all the sports I want to carry. Sports is going to be a big plus for WILM moving forward.”
Knox explained that she has already picked up 60 basketball games for the first quarter of the year alone.
“We’ll have some Duke, UNC and UNCW games, some N.C. State and some regional games from the southeast,” she said.
WILM will also offer an ACC sports package.
“Only half of the programming we put on the air came from CBS,” she said. “The half that went away, we’ve replaced with new shows, like Celebrity Name Game, Pawn Stars, Access Hollywood Live, plus a lot of the syndicated shows that we have always had.”
Knox also views the change as a great option for advertisers to reach the WILM audience.
“We have a big fan base for WRAL news, and it has increased by 12 hours a week. There’s another plus," she said
WILM remains on all the cable and satellite systems.
Over at WWAY, the change means programming from television’s top network and more sports as well. It makes WWAY the home of the NFL, the PGA Tour and March Madness.
“We’re clearly excited to have this CBS affiliation,” said WWAY general manager Andy Combs. "It’s been a top network across the country for many years.
“And it will be full power in our market, which means that people who don’t subscribe to cable or satellite will easily get the signal, with simple digital rabbit ears.”
Combs said the station has added some new local newscasts and simulcasts local news on both CBS and ABC. That means there is an additional 90 minutes per day of news on the station.
“We’ve added several new staff to our news production department as well,” Combs said.
The station manager also believes the CBS addition could help his bottom line.
“Oh absolutely, it’s always a good thing when you can go out and sell the No. 1 network across the country, so the combination of CBS, ABC and CW, we think we’re reaching all audiences; it’s a great combination,” he said.
WWAY over the air remains at ABC on channel 3.1, CBS on channel 3.2, and CW on channel 3.3. Over on TWC/Charter, depending on location, CBS could be on 4, 5 or 12, and 1209. ABC remains on 1200; CW is on 1212. On DIRECTV CBS is at 5, ABC remains on 3, and CW on 4.
Meanwhile WILM over the air is 10.1 and 24.1, Charter at 709, and DIRECTV on 10.