The area’s public radio station, 89.5 WETS-FM/HD, delivered its first news broadcast Tuesday, marking the start of the station’s first news department.
Wayne Winkler, WETS station manager, said the creation of the news department was a way of trying to mirror broadcasts similar to National Public Radio.
He said the department is currently focusing on local headlines contributed from the Johnson City Press and Kingsport Times-News, but the station is looking to adopt a news package similar to NPR, and picking up news topics such as education, environment and the economy, as well as local and state government.
“The things that we want to cover are primarily the things that maybe aren’t so glamorous, but do affect ... a lot of people,” Winkler said. “Right now we’re concentrating on just newscasts, just basically local headlines of three and four minutes at a time, but we hope that we’ll be able to develop that. When we have the resources of the university behind us and the manpower that the communications, journalism departments potentially have for us, we think some great things can be done.”
Longtime East Tennessee State University administrator and veteran reporter Fred Sauceman will be delivering the local and regional news on WETS during the National Public Radio newsmagazines “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” weekday mornings and afternoons.
“(Sauceman has) worked with the news media in this area for 20-odd years as a director of university relations. His background prior to that was in news, radio and television news,” Winkler said. “When he retired from his position at ETSU, he wanted to stay on and do a few other things and it just worked out that we were looking for a news person the same time he was looking for something.”
For more information, call WETS-FM/HD at 439-6440.