The television station in Grand Forks will merge its news programs with its parent station in Fargo by the end of the year, according to the station’s general manager.
Joshua Rohrer, general manager of WDAY-WDAZ, confirmed to the Herald Friday afternoon that WDAZ will be consolidated with WDAY. Rohrer informed staff at WDAZ in Grand Forks Friday morning and, late in the day, informed the staff at WDAY in Fargo.
WDAZ and WDAY both are owned by Forum Communications Co., which also owns the Herald. The television stations are affiliated with the national network ABC. Rohrer said the company will continue to have a television news, sports and sales presence in Grand Forks.
The consolidation officially will take place Dec. 22.
WDAZ began broadcasting in Grand Forks a half-century ago; its 51st anniversary as a standalone station would have been next month. It created a niche for itself as a small-market station with a tight focus on local news.
During the Flood of 1997, the station never went off the air and broadcast from trailers parked outside its building. It won an Emmy for its 2013 coverage of the search for an 11-year-old who later was found dead in the Red River.
“Changes to distribution of television, emerging technologies and economic factors in our area led to this being the best strategy to continue having newsrooms in both the Fargo and Grand Forks areas to accomplish our goal of covering the top stories when and where they happen each day,” Rohrer said. “While viewers in the northern parts of our coverage area will begin to see some new faces in 2019, WDAY and WDAZ are committed to continuing and growing our award-winning news, weather and sports broadcasts in our area.”
Rohrer said he fully expects future newscasts to report Grand Forks news, sports and happenings. He emphasized that it’s a programming consolidation.
“We will continue to gather and report news in the Grand Forks area,” he said.
Rohrer said an official public announcement was delayed Friday as he worked to inform the staff at both stations, who work various shifts and hours.