Local television station making some changes

Despite rumors to the contrary, Craig's Channel 27 isn't going anywhere. In fact, the news station is looking to grow beyond its current "feel-good reporting" philosophy to provide more coverage of events in the county.

The Moffat County Board of Commissioners pulled funding late last year for the translators that air a total of six channels, including Channel 27. That means the station will have to come up with roughly $80,000 to continue to have their signal beamed to viewers.

"People think that we're going out of business," said sales director Michelle McKnight-Skoglie. "But that's not the case at all. The county just pulled the funding to maintain the system. People need to understand that we will still be here."

The station was a two-person team when Jerry Thompson purchased it about 18 months ago. In the last six months it has grown to six full-time employees. Ad sales have increased about 30 percent in the last half year, McKnight-Skoglie said.

Regular programming may extend to a noon variety show, General Manager Audrey Amaday said.

The station is also looking into its options of producing live broadcasts.

"We have tons of ideas for programming," she said. "We still want to concentrate on the good news."

The station received an award for its coverage of Veterans Day events surrounding the November holiday. Representatives from Colorado's American Legion presented the station with its annual TV Media Award at a banquet ceremony late January in Grand Junction.

The recognition has significance because Channel 27 News coverage of veterans' events was chosen as the best among many TV stations around the state, said the station's.

"It didn't soak in until we go there that we were competing with all the other news stations in the state," Amaday said.

Channel 27 reporters interviewed local veterans who have served in the various branches of the armed forces. Coverage also included Veterans Day events held around town and a local school's effort to memorialize veterans. Another segment covered a local Boy Scout troop displaying correct flag etiquette.

"We concentrated everything we could on local veterans' coverage," Amaday said. "We planned a few weeks in advance to make sure we hit all the areas."

Amaday currently dubs the local coverage as "feel-good reporting." That includes coverage of local community events but it leaves out reporting on other issues such as crime, fires and many political events.

Though the station doesn't plan to cover incidents like car crashes in detail in the future, it may send reporters to the scene to answer viewers' basic questions. The station may take a similar stance with crime reporting, listing names and charges listed on the police blotter.

Channel 27 probably won't launch into investigative pieces, Amaday said.

Amaday said the station is considering hosting a live political debate.

But that wouldn't include "digging up the dirt on one candidate," she said.

"It depends on what's good for the community," Amaday said. "If we have to chose to broadcast between what helps and what hinders the community we always want to be on the side that helps."

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or at ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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