WPGA’s nightly newscast off the air, show’s future uncertain

The future of WPGA’s nightly newscast is uncertain after the Iowa-based company that produced the show filed for bankruptcy last week.

The 7 p.m. news show didn’t air Monday, and Lowell Register, president and CEO of Register Communications Inc., said he didn’t know when or if it will be back. Register Communications owns WPGA-TV Channel 58, also shown locally on Cox cable channel 6. The station is the Middle Georgia ABC network affiliate.

“Our whole infrastructure was based on them,” Register said of the news consulting service.

The service, Regional News Network Co., which was doing business as Independent News Network, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Iowa, according to court documents.

An e-mail sent to Register indicated that news would stop at the end of last week, he said. No other programs will be affected, he said.

Register Communications contracted with Independent News Network in July 2007 to begin providing a 30-minute nightly newscast at 7 p.m. for WPGA. At the time, the station also launched an 11 p.m. news show, but that was later dropped for economic reasons, Register said.

While three reporters worked in Macon, they fed the information to anchors based out of state. What will happen to those reporters was unknown Monday, Register said.

“Obviously if we’re not doing news, we probably won’t be needing a ton of news people,” he said.

Register said the news of the bankruptcy surprised him. Although he found out about it last week, he said he has been unable to get in touch with anyone at Independent News Network, despite repeated phone calls.

WPGA previously had a news program that began in April 2001, but that newscast was dropped nine months later.

Three other TV stations in Macon — WMAZ, WGXA and WMGT — currently offer a news broadcast.

Register Communications and The Telegraph entered a partnership in August to produce the morning show “Kenny B and Charles E Your Mix in the Morning” on WPGA-FM 100.9. The show is on the radio station from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and is broadcast on Channel 58 from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.

To contact writer Jennifer Burk, call 744-4345.