PITTSFIELD -- WNYT NewsChannel 13 in Albany, N.Y., plans to broadcast news content that focuses more on Berkshire County through an independent television station that WNYT is in the process of buying.
WNYT, Albany's NBC affiliate, announced in February it was purchasing WNYA "My4Albany" for $2.3 million, according to documents filed with the Federal Communica-tions Commission. The transaction is expected to receive final approval from the FCC within the next few months, according to WNYT General Manager Stephen P. Baboulis.
WNYT currently includes some Berkshire County news in its broadcasts, but Baboulis this week said the station would be able to provide "a tighter focus" on Berkshires coverage through WNYA.
Baboulis said WNYA will present news from New York's Capital Region in addition to news from Berkshire County.
WNYA's main studio is in Schenectady, N.Y., but in 2009 the FCC issued the station a license to operate a television station in Pittsfield. That license expires in 2015. WNYA General Manager Duncan Brown did not return a telephone call Wednesday seeking clarification on why the station's location and license are in different places.
WNYA is owned by Venture Technologies of Los Angeles, and WNYT is owned by Hubbard Broadcasting of St. Paul, Minn. Of the station's general strategy in the Berk-shires, Baboulis said: "We cover [those] stories now, and when news happens, we try and cover it.
WNYA is owned by Venture Technologies of Los Angeles, and WNYT is owned by Hubbard Broadcasting of St. Paul, Minn. Of the station's general strategy in the Berk-shires, Baboulis said: "We cover [those] stories now, and when news happens, we try and cover it. But since WNYA's city of license is Pittsfield, we want to expand on that. Maybe there will be a deeper level of coverage because of the license aspect of things. We'll be there more often."
In documents filed with the FCC, WNYT states that part of its news programming on WNYA will focus on local news in Berkshire County because NewsChannel 13 believes "there is no full-power television station with a news operation with such a focus on local coverage of Berkshire County news."
In addition to expanded coverage in the Berkshires, Baboulis said WNYT anticipates having extended coverage of important local issues through a "town meeting program" it would broadcast on WNYA. That program likely would include roundtable discussions and interviews with local officials, as well as coverage of important issues in and around Berkshire County, WNYT's FCC filing states.
Baboulis said Wednesday it hasn't been determined how WNYA would present news coverage in the Berkshires and the amount of staff it would need to move forward with the project.
"It's really hard to say what our workforce will be or the matter of how our resources are delegated," he said. "We don't have to throw a whole bunch of people at something to change the focus or content that we have now."
The FCC generally prohibits one television station from purchasing another in the same market. But WNYT has asked the federal government for a waiver from the FCC's multiple-ownership rules be-cause of financial problems at WNYA.
Unlike NewsChannel 13, WNYA is not affiliated with a national television network. My4Albany had "significant negative operating cash flow" between fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2012, according to the FCC filing. Those financial problems include a net income operating loss of $607,494 in fiscal 2012.
"As an independent station, WNYA has struggled to compete effectively in this market," WNYT states in its FCC filing.
WNYA programming in-cludes reruns of several classic 1970s-era television shows, in-cluding The Partridge Family, Good Times and Sanford and Son.
WNYT is the only potential buyer that has extended an offer for WNYA, according to the FCC filing. WNYA has been on the market since 2009.
In 2001, NewsChannel 13 signed a five-year lease to rent office space in Pittsfield for use as its Berkshires newsroom. Although WNYT currently has one reporter covering the Berkshires, it closed its bureau in the county after the recession in 2008, Baboulis said.
He said he didn't know if WNYT would open another bureau in the Berkshires.
"To be determined," he said.
To reach Tony Dobrowolski: TDobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com (413) 496-6224