T.O.’s CityNews builds arsenal to compete against CP24

Citytv Toronto exec Tina Cortese talks about how the upstart all-news Toronto TV station aims to hook viewers by migrating the familiar 680 News radio format.

Here’s some breaking news: Rogers Media is ramping up its CityNews Channel as an all-news TV channel competitor to CP24 in the Toronto market.

The broadcaster’s latest move is to give CityNews Channel a new home on the Rogers cable dial, channel 15, as well as online and mobile.

The move follows Tina Cortese, VP of news and GM at Citytv Toronto, launching the upstart 24/7 local news channel on Oct. 3.

That’s the same Tina Cortese that got CP24 off the ground and on air before it became part of CTVglobemedia and later Bell Media in 2008.

Yes, Cortese, who remained with Citytv as it eventually landed in the Rogers Media fold, knows Torontonians may question the need for another 24-hour local news station, when one already exists in CP24.

“Why not offer viewers a choice?” she says.

And that choice will come by way of an attachment to the Citytv brand, long an iconic presence in Toronto.

“If you are a Citytv fan, you will follow us to CityNews Channel,” Cortese said.

To draw viewers in, Cortese migrated the format of Toronto’s 680 AM radio news channel – also owned and operated by Rogers Media – to distinguish CityNews Channel from the established CP24 brand.

“CP24 been around for a decade and the screen and look hasn’t changed,” she insisted.

CityNews Channel, by contrast, is developing a look and feel she hopes proves addictive for Toronto news junkies, running traffic and weather on the 1s, sports on the 15s and 45s, and city business on the 26s and 56s.

“At the basic level, it’s taking the 680 format, taking that familiarity and regularity, to TV,” she says.

The TV channel will cover breaking news as it happens in Toronto, a staple of CP24.

Cortese will also capitalize on Rogers Media’s cross-platform push by using talent from Rogers’ radio, TV and magazine platforms to report and comment on CityNews stories.

“Everyone needs content. Is it easy to take someone from radio and publishing and make them work on TV? No. But that’s the job of the TV producer to ensure they do work on TV and it plays to their strengths,” she said.

From Playback Daily