OTTUMWA — With the city’s first NBC affiliate starting its local newscast on July 16, Ottumwans will be able to view four market-based TV networks: Fox, NBC, CBS and ABC.
“In January, we started carrying NBC — and NBC has ordered a local newscast,” said Pat Brink, news director at KYOU. “They bring viewers to us, we bring viewers to them.”
That’s the deal all across the country with the National Broadcasting Company, which has 200 affiliates.
Brink explained NBC wants a connection to what’s happening in those communities in addition to the big national stories the NBC journalists cover. In this market, with reporters in Ottumwa and a reporter based out of Kirksville, Brink feels KYOU is going to put out a solid news product.
“We’ve hired Leah Kemple as our anchor; she’ll also be a reporter,” said Brink, who himself covers news in addition to assigning it.
“We train our people to be good videographers,” he said. “We want to show viewers in Ottumwa they have a choice at 10 p.m. when we start KYOU’s 10 o’clock news on channel 15.2.”
And no, he answered, this new 10 p.m. newscast, which starts on July 16, won’t be a repeat of KYOU’s local news from Fox 15 at 9 p.m.
“We have stories of interest to our viewers,” Brink said. “They’re two different newscasts. At 9 p.m. on 15, our anchor is Chase Scheuer. At 10 p.m. on 15.2, it’s Chase and Leah.”
The vice president and general manager of KYOU, Mike Elrod, said NBC news in the past came out of a bunch of different places, like Kansas City. That wasn’t helpful to viewers in Wapello County, who didn’t have a “cord” on their TV, like the ones used for cable or leading to a satellite dish.
“Around a quarter of the market is watching over an antenna, a free antenna,” said Elrod.
KYOU allowed a glimpse behind the scenes of the television business: Elrod wants to reach more than just those potential viewers using satellite or cable.
“We saw there was a void: No NBC. Now in our local market, our ‘cord cutters’ get all four major networks over the air, free,” he said.
Brink said the NBC shows have their own powerful draw — including NBC Nightly News. To get people to watch the local news, he’ll continue chasing the stories he knows people are curious about.
“When I got here, I couldn’t understand why there were all these placarded houses around town,” he recalled.
He pursued the subject, he said, before other media showed an interest. But the public was interested. The more he reported on the placarded houses, the more he saw the city begin to work on the issue.
“I like to think that we do stories that are important to you,” Brink said.
“We’re proud,” said Elrod. “NBC was number one this season. They’ve always been a powerhouse with their iconic shows: Today, NBC [Nightly] News, the Tonight Show. We’re really thrilled.”
Staff writer Mark Newman can be contacted at MNewman@ottumwacourier.com. Editorial Note: This story was posted at 2:15 p.m. and edited at 2:34 p.m. that day, then 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. on June 26 to reflect revisions to the start date.