Monday night will see Nine launch its latest foray into regional news broadcasting.
Nine News Local is the brand for three new state-based bulletins that will broadcast at 5:30pm in regional markets on Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) affiliate stations across Southern NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
The return of local news on Nine comes after the network took the decision to suspend its previous 6pm regional news bulletins in March.
At the time the network blamed a need to focus resources on COVID-19 coverage for the closure however, it’s clear a dramatic downturn in the regional advertising market was also a key factor.
The decision by Nine to restore regional news comes after the Federal Government last month guaranteed $20 million in funding to rural TV broadcasters including SCA. The new bulletins have been streamlined compared to the previous model, with a reduction of journalists in each market.
Natassia Soper is the new presenter for the bulletin in NSW replacing previous newsreader Vanessa O Hanlon. Soper is considered a rising star at Nine having worked at Today and as a Senior News Reporter and Chief of Staff in Illawarra.
Samantha Heathwood and Jo Hall will remain as the presenters for the Queensland and Victoria bulletins. NSW based weather presenter Gavin Morris will provide forecasts for all three states.
The new regional service will air at 5:30pm allowing regional viewers to still enjoy the traditional metro bulletins at 6pm.
Under the refreshed regional news model, Nine will now employ two journalists and two camera operators on the ground in each of the following submarkets.
- Wide Bay
- Far North Queensland
- North Queensland
- Sunshine Coast
Southern News South Wales and ACT
- Central West
- Border North East
Each submarket will contribute, two 90 second new packages, and two voiceover stories for the nightly state-based bulletins. Local news updates will also be broadcast during primetime commercial breaks.