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KRON launches 8 p.m. news, expands 4 p.m.

KRON4 has moved “Dr. Phil” to 5 p.m. and replaced him at 8 p.m. with an hour of news anchored by Pam Moore and Chris Murphy. KRON has also doubled the length of its 4 p.m. news from 30 minutes to an hour. The station is now doing 9 1/2 hours of local news every weekday.

For financially struggling KRON, the expansion comes just in time for the election season. Political advertisers prefer spots on local newscasts, believing news programs attract likely voters. So the expansion will give KRON a lot of inventory to sell.

For news junkies, KRON’s moves mean at least one station in the market will have a local newscast every hour from 4 through 11 p.m. on weekdays

KRON started a 9 p.m. newscast in 2002 after the station lost its NBC affiliation. In September 2006, KRON canceled the 9 p.m. news to make way for a short-lived series of soap operas offered by MyNetworkTV. Ratings fell, but the station’s profit margin improved because the network’s programs were free, management told financial analysts at the time.

Since then, however, other stations have rolled out newscasts to fill the hours between the traditional 6 and 11 p.m. news shows. In January 2007, KGO ABC7 launched a 9 p.m. hour-long newscast with Dan Ashley, Sandhya Patel and Larry Beil that airs on TV20. This January, KTVU began a half-hour of news at 7 p.m. on co-owned KICU Channel 36 anchored by Gasia Mikaelian. In late February, CBS5 started a half-hour newscast at 10 p.m. on co-owned KBCW Channel 44 featuring its main news anchors, Dana King, Ken Bastida, Dennis O’Donnell and Roberta Gonzales.

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