Sinclair to launch national morning news program on fifth-net stations, online

(Image: Sinclair Broadcasting Group/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

Sinclair Broadcast Group will hire more than two dozen journalists for a new morning news program that will air across the country on many of its broadcast stations.

The new show, which has yet to be named, was described as a “headline news service” that will air from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. across Sinclair’s CW and MyNetwork-affiliated stations. The show will also broadcast on STIRR, a free streaming service that Sinclair owns.

In a press release on Thursday, Sinclair executives said the new morning news program would contain “commentary-free content” produced by Sinclair’s broadcast stations across the country, including those affiliated with other networks.

Sinclair said the morning news program would offer national news stories interspersed with local information.

“With this new service, a solo anchor will bring viewers on a journey across the country to highlight stories happening in the moment, covering the issues and events that are driving the day’s conversations,” the press release said. “Audiences will be taken on a minute-by-minute journey to the intersection of news and their community, offering an understanding of how the news impacts them.”

It wasn’t immediately clear how much time Sinclair planned to set aside for local news inserts or how community matters would be covered on STIRR for viewers who live in areas not served by a Sinclair station.

Sinclair said the initiative came out of the recent global health pandemic brought on by the novel coronavirus COVID-19 as well as national protests over police brutality and race relations in America.

“he ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the demonstrations occurring across our country has reminded us of the important, invaluable role that local news plays in our communities,” Chris Ripley, the chief executive officer of Sinclair, said in a statement. “Every national story has its roots in local communities and with this new platform, we will ensure that more voices and stories are elevated to the attention of viewers everywhere. This headline news service is part of our ongoing commitment to connect more viewers with more content everywhere.”

Over the coming weeks, Sinclair said it would hire 25 new employees to fill various positions connected with the morning show initiative. Those positions include anchors, produces, reporters, editors, photographers and directors, the company said.

Sinclair owns nearly 200 broadcast television stations in nearly 90 metropolitan areas across the United States as well as nearly two dozen regional sports networks.