KLRT Launches 9 p.m. Newscast

KLRT-TV, Channel 16's long-awaited foray into daily broadcast news began Sunday.

A big party helped launch the newscast last Thursday night.

The Fox affiliate's 9 p.m. news show features some on-air talent familiar to the Little Rock market, including co-anchors Donna Terrell and Kevin Kelly, weatherman Troy Bridges, sports director David Raath and investigative reporter Dewayne Graham. Michael Fabac is news director.

Terrell most recently was main anchor at WWJ/WKBD-TV, a CBS and UPN joint venture at Detroit, where KLRT's new managing editor, Lisa Borich, worked in promotions. Kelly most recently was at KPNX-TV at Phoenix, where he was morning news anchor and co-anchored a Friday night high school sports show.

Bridges most recently was at Oklahoma City's KFOR-TV as a weather forecaster. Raath has been a sports reporter for WEYI-TV at Flint, Mich., and for Fabac's old station, WNEM-TV, at Saginaw, Mich.

They've also got Doppler weather radar, a new satellite truck, a large renovated studio packed with the newest broadcast production tools and some strong lead-in programming.

The crew spent all of last week in full rehearsals of the real thing.

They have the challenge of filling an hour broadcast, taking the younger demographic associated with Fox programming and getting them into news, or taking older viewers away from the network programming of KARK-TV, Channel 4, KATV-TV, Channel 7, and KTHV-TV, Channel 11. As for news coverage, there weren't many details available at press time, but an Internet check shows www.klrt.com as a nicely designed Web site using the same basic design as sites for other Fox affiliate newscasts.

The site last week featured national news with local news starting this week.

Interestingly enough — perhaps due to their audience demographic — also prominently displayed are music news, video game reviews and reviews of odder films such as the remake of "Dawn of the Dead" and "Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla Venture."

KLRT's bid will be the third recent 9 p.m. news bid in Arkansas and the second in Little Rock in recent years.

KKYK-TV, Channel 22, now known as KYPX-TV, canceled its ill-fated newscast in 2000 after two years and millions of dollars, while KPOM-TV, Channel 24/51, in Fort Smith is chugging along after an investment of more than $5 million in 2000.