To compete in local news arms race, KCAL expands to 7 hours of morning TV
There are a lot of things KCAL7 wanted to do this past year.
It wanted to cover the upcoming World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, and to cover the Texas Rangers.
So it bought its own helicopter. It bought its own helicopter pilot. It hired a whole slew of other aviation experts to get there in a hurry.
At one time there were nine KCAL affiliates, all of them clustered on the north side of the metro. The stations had a range of personalities. There was Fox 7, with its morning sports anchor, who was both funny and brassy; and Fox 9 with the news director from Dallas, who was a bit prickly.
But now, less than a decade after the station went on the air, there are only seven. Fox 4 in El Centro moved to a new home in South Texas, and Fox 5 in Midland, which had to move because the new owner of the station, an El Centro company, wanted to build a tower. Fox 7 in San Antonio, at a time of economic stress, lost its news director. Fox 2 in Corpus Christi was sold and consolidated with news coverage elsewhere. Fox 5 in El Paso, where the news and weather department used to be centralized, folded its news department and re-located its weather to the new station in the city.
KCAL5 is no more. The station is defunct, its future unknown. Its future is probably so uncertain that the new owner, who bought its parent company, wants to put a KCAL affiliate on its new tower in Corpus Christi.
But KCAL7, the new KCAL, is not in limbo. It had its own news director, and it had its own helicopter and pilot.
This new morning news outlet, now under the ownership of KCAL Media, Inc., announced this week that it is changing the direction of its broadcasts: from local to national, to compete directly with WFAA and Dallas-Fort Worth ABC.
In the first half of the broadcast year, it will be broadcasting at a 6:30 a.m. hour. It will become the only station in the nation to cover the World Series of Poker live. It will begin the Texas