Share this article

print logo

Channel 7 delivers the good news

You might recall that I’ve said more than a few times that Channel 7 doesn’t have a news image and that’s been one of its problems as it has fallen deeply into third place in the local news ratings.

Because the old Andre Agassi commercial that proclaimed “image is everything” is true now more than ever.

Recently, Channel 7 began a new branding campaign – “Good Things Happening” – that established its image as the anti-Channel 2 News, which itself has been copied in recent promos by Channel 4.

“While others think our community is plagued with problems, at Eyewitness News we know Buffalonians are doing good things every day,” Channel 7 co-anchor Joanna Pasceri says in the promo.

Near the end of the 30-second spot, co-anchor Keith Radford adds: “It’s not about us, but you.”

Ouch. Take that Channel 2.

I don’t know how successful the upbeat promos will be. After all, this community does have problems that news departments need to address.

But third-place Channel 7 is wise to differentiate itself from a station that has risen to the top by “asking tough questions” and “keeping people in power accountable” because those Channel 2 messages, as well as the slogan “2 on Your Side,” are becoming more than a little repetitive and annoying to some viewers who want a less dramatic form of news.

Channel 7 also is making itself an alternative to Channel 4, which seems to be attempting to “borrow” Channel 2’s news style to the point Channel 2 is now airing promos directed at Channel 4 as being a copycat.

Some “good things” appear to be happening at Channel 7 under energetic new General Manager Mike Nurse because at least the station is trying to do things differently.

The new morning show with Cole Heath and Tiffany Lundquist will start Aug. 12 with a new, simple title “Good Morning.” That’s it. Nurse said the name switch was made to separate the newscast from former formats.

“We’re trying to show through look, feel and sound that this is something new and fresh and not simply different people at the same old, same old,” said Nurse.

“Good Morning” also will have a new look and a second reporter, Rachel Elzufon, who has been working nights, to do features or cover news. She joins meteorologist Mike Randall, Jacqueline Asztalos and Business First’s Elizabeth Carey on the morning show. Nurse said a traffic and lifestyles reporter also will be added shortly.

The station also is preparing to premiere what Nurse calls “a new interactive ‘storyteller’ system … that is essentially a 65-inch iPad that allows us to creatively and interactively show stories.” Sounds expensive.

In addition, Nurse reports that weekend sports anchor Shawn Stepner and “AM/Buffalo” host Linda Pellegrino have signed new contracts.

Channel 7 also will remain “the official station” of the Buffalo Bills after renewing its contact with the National Football League team for three years to carry preseason games, a live pregame show, “Buffalo Bills Live,” at 11 a.m. Sunday and a wrap-up show, “Buffalo Bills Tonight” at 11:35 p.m. Sunday.

If good things finally happen on the field for the Bills, that will be a bonus for a station that has had as little success as the NFL team in the last decade.