WSYR-TV meteorologist pinch-hits on Utica's WUTR/WFXV

March 21, 2013 by

UTICA -- A few months since ABC affiliates NewsChannel 9 (WSYR-TV) in Syracuse and WUTR in Utica became reunited under the same corporate umbrella, history appears to be repeating itself: a member of the WSYR-TV team is appearing on newscasts for WUTR and sister station Fox 33 (WFXV) this evening.

Storm Team meteorologist Julia Wieden, who regularly appears on all of NewsChannel 9's weekend newscasts, is pinch-hitting for Eyewitness News chief meteorologist Jeff Matthews, at least for tonight.

In years past, when both stations were owned by The Ackerley Group, it may have been possible for Weiden to appear on WUTR's newscasts from the WSYR (then-WIXT) studios, via a fiberoptic connection.  For a number of years, in fact, all weathercasts for WUTR and fellow "hub" stations WWTI in Watertown and WIVT in Binghamton were originated from Syracuse.  Among other items, WUTR also aired "Consumer Reports" segments hosted by Syracuse's Rod Wood, along with "Rick's Recipes" from former channel 9 anchor Rick Gary.

Of course, back then, all of the stations used nearly-identical graphics and there was a separate weather studio and control room to allow the "sister station" weathercasts to be presented live, independently of channel 9's own live newscasts.

Today, that secondary weather set is practically ancient history at channel 9, and WUTR's graphics look considerably different from WSYR's.  For this assignment, Weiden was sent to Utica in person, as seen in a newscast promo video posted to WUTR's Facebook page this evening.

Apparently she didn't mind the hour-long commute from Syracuse or the windy climb up Smith Hill, as evidenced by some tweets this evening:

Jeff Matthews is the only meteorologist based at WUTR and WFXV, meaning viewers are often in store for a surprise whenever Matthews is on vacation or otherwise off for a day or two.  Previous substitutes have included Amanda Gabeler and Rich Lupia, who longtime viewers remember as former competitors of WUTR, during their years across the street at Utica NBC affiliate WKTV.

Nexstar Broadcasting owns WFXV and operates WUTR through a shared services agreement with Mission Broadcasting.  In December, Nexstar acquired WSYR-TV and many other stations which were formerly owned by Newport Television.

As mentioned previously, WSYR (then WIXT) and WUTR were formerly co-owned by The Ackerley Group, but when Clear Channel bought Ackerley in 2002, the FCC approved the deal on the condition that Clear Channel would spin-off either WUTR or four of the nine radio stations it owned in the Utica-Rome market at that time.  Clear Channel chose to stick with radio, eventually shutting down WUTR's newsroom in 2003 and selling to Mission in 2004.  (Three years later, Clear Channel would exit the market altogether, with the nine radio stations being divvied-up among multiple buyers.)

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