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Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy: ‘We Are Retiring the Typical Anchorman’

In a presentation to 21st Century Fox investors today, Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy said the station group is “retiring the typical anchorman and replacing him with multi-skilled personalities and journalists” as part of a push to evolve the local news model.

Abernethy said the financial success of local news over the last four decades has “made the news business very resistant to change and innovation and stagnant in style and form,” but said the Fox owned stations are evolving in a number of ways, including replacing the traditional anchor and newscast models and using technology and social media more effectively.

Abernethy also cited “Chasing New Jersey” as an example, saying the launch of the WWOR show — which replaced the station’s only newscast — was because it’s “easier to start from scratch at times than waiting to evolve.”

“It replaces a traditional newscast, uses new technology in a fast-paced, cost-effective environment that can best be described as TMZ for local news,” Abernethy said. “We are located in Trenton, the state capital, and we are fortunate to be focusing on Jersey at a great time with Chris Christie and Cory Booker in the national spotlight.”

Abernethy also said the company continues to look for opportunities to acquire new stations, echoing an industry-wide trend. He noted Fox’s recent purchase of a duopoly in Charlotte as an example of the purchase of “under-performing stations that are accretive.”

“This investment will pay for itself in less than two years as a result of our ability to operate highly successful stations and the bottom-line impact of retrans,” he said.

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