BANGOR, Maine — Local station WLBZ-TV will no longer broadcast a 6 p.m. weekday news show out of its Mount Hope Avenue studio beginning Oct. 8, it was announced Friday.
The 6 p.m. newscast will instead originate in Portland on affiliated station WCSH-TV, as do the weekday morning, noon, 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. broadcasts.
Weekday 6 p.m. WLBZ anchor Chris Facchini will be reassigned to report on major stories and do investigative pieces, Judy Horan, president and general manager of the Bangor station, said in a press release issued Friday afternoon. Co-anchor and multimedia journalist Katie Bavoso will anchor the weekend morning shows originating in Portland at 6 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
“We have been solely focused on staffing the evening news time period,” Horan said in the release. “The audience no longer has to accommodate this schedule, and we must accommodate their desire to access news and information throughout the day.”
Of the 39½ hours of news produced each week by News Center staff in Portland and Bangor, the 6 p.m. newscast in Bangor accounts for just 2½ hours, according to Horan.
Content generated by both the Bangor and Portland newsroom staffs is used in the 39.5 hours of programming. Horan said in an email to the Bangor Daily News that the change means Bangor staff and future additions to it will be seen more often in morning, 11 p.m., and weekend newscasts instead of primarily in the early evening.
“Technology, social media and smartphones have shifted habits and the ability of the audience to get news whenever and wherever they want it,” she said. “We need to deploy our staff so they can produce content from central and eastern Maine all day, on television and digital devices.”
The weather broadcasts originating in Bangor will not change. Meteorologist Steve McKay will continue to provide the majority of the evening weather forecasts on Channel 2, Horan said. He will also be seen on the weekend evening news. Portland-based meteorologists Todd Gutner, Tom Johnston and Joe Cupo will deliver the weather during other times of day as usual.
The number of Channel 2 reporters gradually will increase as additional news positions are being advertised, Horan said.