With respect toward the legacy of the station and the evolution of a product for today’s news consumer, WKYT continued to strengthen its product in 2016 by developing the market’s only investigative unit, finding unique ways to make newscasts and digital content more engaging, and becoming a leader in how to incorporate social media – especially Facebook Live – into the lives of its viewers.
In addition to producing seven hours of newscasts each weekday on WKYT (CBS), the news department produces two hours of news each day on Sinclair-owned WDKY (Fox), and a newly launched 6:30 p.m. newscast on WKYT’s digital sub-channel. WKYT is also home to Kentucky’s longest running and most respected weekly public affairs program.
LEADING IN SOCIAL MEDIA: Embracing the impact of social media, the explosive growth of digital sources for information, and the challenge of how to differentiate itself from competitors, WKYT continued to evolve its delivery of news and information in 2016. During breaking news and other coverage, the impact of engaging directly with our viewers through social media is powerful. Through coverage exclusively on Facebook Live or done simultaneously on air, WKYT’s anchor and reporters are able to answer viewers’ questions in real time and share with their perspectives with others.
REINVENTING COVERAGE: By launching the first regularly scheduled weekday newscast on its second channel, WKYT looked at how a local newscast on The CW at 6:30 p.m. could build a engaged, younger audience by hyper local focused coverage; content presented in a more conversational format; segments designed to bring more context and perspective to the day’s news; and the incorporation of social media live on the air. As technology evolves, so does how WKYT gathers news. While our team of reporters and photographers utilize the latest generation of cameras and laptop editors, the ability to use their phones for newsgathering and even live shots proves to be a great tool. Our anchors have even embraced the ability to use their phones to shoot entire packages that don’t sacrifice quality but give us maximum flexibility.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: In January, a massive fire destroyed a 70-year-old beef cattle auction business, and WKYT was the only television to break into Saturday afternoon programming with continuous coverage of the worst fire in the city in more three decades. Throughout 2016, WKYT spotlighted and investigated the growing problem of drug addiction in Kentucky. From a heroin epidemic to newer drugs with deadly consequences, coverage went beyond statistics to put real faces with what’s described as one of the greatest challenges facing the state. August marked the 10th anniversary of the crash of Comair flight 5191 which killed 49 people at Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport. WKYT was the only station to broadcast live the memorial service to mark the anniversary of one of the worst tragedies in Kentucky history.
TACKLING A POLITICAL DIVIDE:In a year marked by a divisive presidential campaign that included one of Kentucky’s senators as a candidate and the other as a party leader, politics and the direction of the country took center stage. WKYT was home to the market’s only live coverage of Kentucky’s first presidential caucus in four decades. In the only weekly public affairs program, WKYT’s “Kentucky Newsmakers” included the first interview with embattled Rowan Co. Clerk Kim Davis other her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and insightful discussions with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Rand Paul, and other notable Kentuckians who realize the program is the state’s premiere spot to talk politics. Through an unsurpassed commitment to coverage of important issues, WKYT looked at the issues that divided Kentuckians and their impact.
ENGAGING VIEWERS: In 2016, the WKYT FirstAlert Weather team’s Weather Watcher program engaged viewers to work hand-in-hand with them to provide weather condition updates from all over Kentucky. By being part of the team of WKYT Weather Watchers, viewers share real-time weather information and images, are part of events designed to teach our Weather Watchers about meteorology, and gave them the opportunity to better know the WKYT FirstAlert Weather team.