Southern Cross Austereo is only weeks away from launching a new regional version of Nine News in Wagga, according to inside sources.
The new Wagga newsroom has already poached Prime reporter Priscilla Moca and is expected to build a upon a small team of camera operators and journalists.
The new nightly bulletins, announced after Nine completed its $500million affiliation agreement with Southern Cross Austereo, will directly compete with WIN and Prime for local news viewers in 15 markets across eastern Australia.
The hour-long programs will air at 6pm on weekdays and add local news, sport and weather reports to Nine's existing Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane bulletins.
Charles Sturt University communications lecturer Travis Holland said diversity in news was good for communities, but could further threaten WIN’s commercial position.
“The more voices the better, there’s more opportunities for stories to be covered,” Mr Holland said.
“I think WIN will be threatened, it has already hinted it’s under stress and producing news costs a lot.”
Mr Holland believed the new bulletins were only possible because Southern Cross Austereo secured “more profitable Nine programming”, but it was also a sign of further changes in media.
WIN, the Wollongong-based broadcaster owned by Bermuda-based billionaire Bruce Gordon, now shows the lower-rating programs of Ten.
“I think in general we’ll see less news as there’s more consolidation,” Mr Holland said.
“Not just between media companies but also types, you’ll see radio and television journalists co-located and they’ll be asked to cover a lot more. They’ll each become their own mini-newsroom, producing stories and publishing them online.”
WIN recently warned that the 3000 hours of local content it produced and broadcast each year was "not a profitable exercise" and increasingly at risk without reform of Australia's media ownership laws.
For smaller communities like Griffith, which had long complained of inadequate television news coverage, the new bulletin was unlikely to change the number of local stories produced.
Former ABC News weather presenter Vanessa O’Hanlon was revealed as the new anchor of the Wagga bulletin at a Nine event in Sydney last November.