Contrary to the belief of some, WTHI-TV has not taken all of its sports programming off the air.
In fact, persons within the station have simply switched the sports format, giving sports stories no more importance than any other story in the newsroom.
Jeannie Garner, News Director for WTHI-TV, says that the new format, which applies the same criteria to sports stories as to news, believes that this is the right direction to take with the channel's sports programming.
"Instead of forcing sports programming onto the air, we are making sure the story is meritable and interesting to our viewers, just like we would with any other story," she said.
Popular segments like "In The Zone", the Friday night football show, and other local stories will still be on the air, she said.
"We just don't want to fill two or three minutes of air with something our viewers won't be interested in because the space is for sports only," said Garner.
There haven't been many complaints, Garner said, mostly because WTHI's studies showed that the change in format is what viewers want.
"According to surveys and other work we have done, this is how the viewers want the station to be," she said. "We didn't just take sports off of the air."
Several other stations are doing this, she said, in a move that has "caught on like wildfire in televised news."
Now, she said, the viewer will only see sports stories that are local or of interest to the community.
"We'll still be covering the playoffs, the Indianapolis 500, Colts camp, all of that," she said. "We still have two reporters with a background in sports. We are just going to focus on what's important to the community and not fill up time with some story that nobody is really interested in. I think, in turn, our programming will be much more focused."