The CBS 58 News Quickcast aims to give people the news of the day in a quick, easily consumable format that pops up right as they scroll through their social feeds or inbox. “It’s viewer-friendly and fast-paced, putting you in-the-know in almost no time,” according to the Weigel Broadcasting CBS affiliate in Milwaukee.
At 5:58 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10, WDJT, Weigel Broadcasting’s CBS affiliate in Milwaukee, kicked off a new all-digital newscast, the CBS 58 News Quickcast, that’s less than five minutes long. The Quickcast can be streamed on the CBS 58 News App, or on WDJT’s website, https://www.cbs58.com/
According to the station, the CBS 58 News Quickcast aims to give people the news of the day in a quick, easily consumable format that pops up as they scroll through their social feeds or inbox: “It’s viewer-friendly and fast-paced, putting you in-the-know in almost no time,” according the release.
WDJT is the rare CBS affiliate that doesn’t have a traditional 6 p.m. over-the-air newscast. Jeopardy airs in that timeslot.
So how did the station come up with the idea for a streaming-only, less than 5 minute long newscast? And why?
Jessie Garcia, WDJT’s news director, says she’s always thinking about the future of TV news. “It’s a personal passion of mine to think about where are we headed, how can we keep our viewers engaged, how to capture that next generation of viewers.”
Garcia had a member of that next generation of viewers at home — her son Charlie, a recent high school grad headed off to college at Marquette University. Garcia says the news is on all the time in the Garcia household, and Charlie probably watches more news than anybody, so she asked him.
“What would it take to get you to watch television news, a half-hour newscast?”
No commercials, for one, Charlie said. But, “if you pushed a short newscast to my phone every day and it came in at the same time and I knew that I could count on it and that it would give me everything I needed — news, weather, sports — all in a short amount of time, I would be interested in that,” he said.
Garcia took the idea to management. The station was already airing a 4 and 5 p.m. newscast and Garcia says even though WDJT didn’t broadcast a 6 p.m. newscast, “it seemed a natural fit to ping people right about the time they would be expecting a 6 p.m. newscast.”
So the station settled on 5:58 p.m. to stream the Quickcast.
“It’s the end of the day, they want to know what happened in their world,” Garcia says. “People are cooking dinner, at their kid’s soccer game, maybe they don’t have time to watch a full newscast.”
Was it technically possible?
“Could we turn a newscast and push it out to ping you on your phone through the app at 5:58 and how much time did we need,” she says. “What if technically something went wrong and we had to stop and restart. What is our drop dead time? We had all these things to figure out and then we had to practice.”
What about the format? Where would the anchor be? Is there an open? What about transitions, lower thirds and sound bites?
“I mean we went into this with absolutely no idea,” Garcia says. “When you launch something completely new there’s just a lot of questions.”
Garcia says the station is working on some promos for the Quickcasts, but in the meantime, in addition to the push alerts, the station’s using its own social media platforms to promote it.
Feedback has been good, Garcia says.
“People say this is perfect for me because I am a mother or a father, I’m busy, I’m running around, but I count on this,” Garcia says. “I just hit play and I know what is going on.”
I like it. I miss the news most days because of my drive and this give me what I need. Keep up the great work! Michele Straube
I like it! It gives me everything I need in a few minutes so I can get in the kitchen and do my dishes! Wait, I have dishes to do?? Sue Kueh-Ritchey
Fantastic ! Love the Quickcast! I am up to date in matter of minutes! Deb Kehrmann
Garcia says the station got a big bump in app downloads since it launched.
“We are seeing growth and we are excited about that because more and more people are seeing it or are aware that it is happening,” she says.
Maybe the industry needs to be listening to people like Charlie, Garcia says.
“Instead of telling them, this is the way news is done, you fit into this mold, we need to listen to them and say help us discover some new molds,” Garcia says.
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