WHBF-TV will triple its weekday news time before the end of this month.

The station, which brands itself "CBS4," will add a 90-minute morning newscast beginning at 5:30 a.m. Sept. 12. On Sept. 26, its 6 p.m. news will return after a 14-year absence.

"News expansion is something we have looked at for a long time, but, for one reason or another, the timing was never quite right," general manager Marshall Porter said in a news release.

"Over the last 12 months, as we transitioned to HD (high-definition), our company has made significant investments both technically and operationally. That, combined with the continued growth of our existing newscasts, has put us in an ideal position to make the move now."

The two hours of news supplement the station's current 60 minutes, a half-hour each at 5 and 10 p.m. daily. "Inside Edition," airing at 6 p.m., will move to 12:35 a.m.

The morning newscast, the station's first, according to longtime staffers, will be anchored by Meredith Dennis, who worked for 2½ years at KWQC-TV under her maiden name, Meredith Haley.

She left there in January 2010 to work as a manager at Johnny's Italian Steakhouse in Moline.

"We're going to hope to vary things up every half-hour, and not just do the same thing every half-hour," said Dennis, a Cedar Falls, Iowa, native.

The morning meteorologist will be Travis Michels, who worked at the ABC station in Salisbury in his home state of Maryland. He and Dennis are among five new staffers added for the expansion.

Chloe Morroni, who anchors the 5 and 10 p.m. news, will add the 6 p.m. newscast as well, with the news release saying the hiring of a co-anchor is possible.

CBS4's three hours of news still will lag behind the top two-ranked stations in the Quad-Cities.

KWQC has five hours of news weekdays, with a 4-4:30 p.m. newscast being added Sept. 12.

WQAD-TV broadcasts 5½ hours of news weekdays, plus the 9 p.m. newscast it produces for KLJB-TV.

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