So why not take this a step further? During the day, have local stringers (or local stations) report on truly local stories. That will give a lot of that “local oooomph” that the cable news channels seem to go for anyway, but would allow local news to actually do some specific news reporting instead of simply repeating AP reports. Use the cable news channels as giant producers, and they can rotate the stories on a slow progressive rotation. The variety would also help keep people hooked – instead of more of the same local (but remote) tragedy bounced to national attention, it would be a new local (but remote) story – but you don’t know what it is! A mystery!
Have you noticed that the cable news channels are essentially using a lot of local stories lately? I have the misfortune of working somewhere where televisions are left on all day long, so I see a lot of this.