KGWN to open Northern Colorado bureau

FORT COLLINS – Cable or not, Cheyenne’s KGWN-TV will staff and equip a bureau in Old Town Fort Collins by October to provide news coverage and sales support for the Northern Colorado market.
KGWN’s hammer-and-nail entry into the region comes as the station wages a campaign to be added to Comcast cable television’s lineup in Fort Collins and Greeley. While prospects for that appear no better, nor worse, than when the CBS affiliate’s owners met with Fort Collins and Comcast officials early this year, the station’s management said the time was right to establish a foothold in the city.
“What we’re trying to communicate is that Northern Colorado is extremely significant for us,´ said Louis Wall, president of Atlanta-based Sagamore Hill Broadcasting LLC, owner of KGWN and television stations in Birmingham, Ala.; Laredo, Texas, and Rochester, Minn.
Channel 5 has leased a two-story, 1,300-square-foot storefront at 334 E. Mountain Ave., just west of The Melting Pot restaurant in Old Town. The bureau will open in early October with two sales representatives in first-floor offices and a reporter working from the second floor, equipped with video editing suites where local news stories will be produced.
“We’re taking baby steps, because we’re not yet at a point where we can have a full staff there,” KGWN General Manager Joan Turner said. “We see a point in the future when we will have multiple reporters and sales representatives.”
KGWN has not been part of local cable offerings for a decade. But the Cheyenne station is hoping to sweeten the deal for Comcast not just by beefing up local news coverage in Northern Colorado, but by negotiating a deal to broadcast Colorado Eagles hockey games, events that are routinely sold out at the Budweiser Events Center.
Turner and Eagles owner Ralph Backstrom have met several times to discuss the possibility, and she said she was optimistic about the chances.
“I think there is a lot of interest there on both sides,” Turner said