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New Fox-KBJR 9 p.m. news program off to rousing start

The boys of summer finally put their bats away following a five-game "subway series." James Cameron unleashed his dark sci-fi superwoman, Jessica Alba, in his TV debut "Dark Angel."...

The boys of summer finally put their bats away following a five-game "subway series." James Cameron unleashed his dark sci-fi superwoman, Jessica Alba, in his TV debut "Dark Angel."
All that meant one thing early this week: "News 6 on FOX21" finally got clearance from the tower and was ready for takeoff.
The show, featuring KBJR news staff and feeds from Fox's national network news, debuted Monday. It had been announced in August and slated to begin Oct. 2, but the show was delayed when Fox premieres and sports programming in October interfered with its 9 p.m. time slot.
The partnership, between NBC affiliate (and Budgeteer News news partner) KBJR and Duluth's new Fox affiliate KQDS, is not as unusual as it may appear. In fact, 27 of the 106 Fox affiliates offering local news have a similar arrangement. The time slot, unique in the Twin Ports market, is the focus of an election-oriented advertising campaign by the station.
Contacted Wednesday for a phone interview, KQDS general manager Ray Spellerberg said the response was already good, despite some technical difficulties with the sound Tuesday night.
"Actually, it's going well," he said. "We've been pleased with how it looks."
Spellerberg said the response has been good from both advertisers and viewers. "We've got some things in there from Fox News that people are responding very well to," he said.
Mark Mallory, a member of the KBJR news team who is anchoring the program, said he's also heard positive things from viewers, and he likes the niche the program is appealing to.
"It has a different edge to it, I think," Mallory said. "We're a little more loose, and we want to have fun with that."
He said the Fox feeds take a serious tone toward the news, but noted that some other segments -- particularly an entertainment segment toward the end of the show -- have a different feel. "That can be pretty wild at times," he said.
Mallory has also heard from impressed viewers and is glad to be offering another option for area viewers. He said while many of the viewers are younger, some are older people who just want to go to bed earlier.
"The response has been really positive so far," he said.
Spellerberg said safeguards had been put in place to solve the audio problem, which likely happened during a glitch in the complex production process, and that the station is pleased with the product, planning only to "hone and perfect" it as time goes on.
Asked about the relationship with competitor KBJR, Spellerberg said, "To date, it's been an excellent relationship. The people at KBJR really stepped up to the plate to put together this newscast."
KQDS broadcasts on Channel 21 (or Channel 11 on Charter Communications cable), and KBJR broadcasts on Channel 6 (cable Channel 5). Terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
Kyle Eller is news editor of the Budgeteer News. Contact him at 723-1207 or at kyle.eller@duluth.com .

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