Sky News programming will continue to be broadcast on Free-To-Air Television across regional Australia
The 24-7 news network has signed a new affiliation agreement with Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) in a move that will see the existing Sky News on WIN channel rebranded as Sky News Regional.
Sky News Regional will now air on seventeen SCA owned regional TV stations on channel 53 across Victoria, Queensland, and Southern NSW from August 1.
Additionally, Sky News Regional will also be broadcast on the WIN network in Northern NSW and South Australia.
The new deal for Sky News comes after WIN Television recently secured a new 7-year affiliate agreement with the Nine network in a move which blindsided current affiliate partner SCA.
Sky News Regional will feature opinion-based programming featuring shows with Peta Credlin, Alan Jones, and Paul Murray. The channel will also continue to produce a dedicated Headline News breakfast program, and provide updates from Fox Sports News.
The rebooted channel will also see controversial columnist Andrew Bolt return to free-to-air after his program was previously dropped from Sky News on WIN.
The extension of the Sky News Regional service comes at a time when regional broadcasters are slashing journalism jobs.
The changes to the affiliate agreement from July 1 will also see Nine discontinue the three regional news bulletins which it currently produces for Southern Cross Austereo stations in Victoria, Queensland, and Southern NSW. This move has already resulted in a number of job losses, with more to come.
Southern Cross Austereo is yet to confirm any plans to air local news content on its regional TV stations from July 1. However, TV Blackbox understands SCA intends to air short news updates across its regional network, which will be produced from its studios in Tasmania.
Announcing the new channel, Paul Whittaker, Sky News Australia Chief Executive said:
“We have established a strong and dedicated free-to-air audience in regional Australia and we are pleased that, through this new multi-year agreement with Southern Cross Austereo, we can now provide viewers on the SCA network with the opportunity to discover Sky News content through a new dedicated channel, Sky News Regional.
“As we celebrate 25 years of broadcast in Australia, we look forward to introducing new television audiences to our unrivalled news coverage, together with informed analysis and context from our leading journalists and commentators.”
Southern Cross Austereo CEO, Grant Blackley added: