First, they launched a 24/7 local news channel covering northern Michigan. Then, they were hired to help build another news network airing on 5 TV stations in Nebraska. Now, the team behind MI News 26 hopes to take their model national with the launch of LNN – billed as a 24/7 news channel without pundits, panels or shout shows, and they’ve taken to crowdsourcing site Kickstarter to do so.

Eric Wotila

“In recent years, we’ve heard more and more complaints about existing 24/7 national news channels,” explained Eric Wotila, Owner of MI News 26 and the driving force behind LNN.

“At the same time, we’ve received constant compliments about the straight-to the-facts, no-nonsense and commentary-free local news coverage we provide on MI News 26. So, we thought, ‘Why not take this model national?’”

For the MI News 26 team, the answer to that question was funding. Launching a national network isn’t cheap, but the team hopes a successful crowdfunding campaign will allow the launch of LNN – or the “Local News Network” – from the existing MI News 26 studio in Cadillac, creating new jobs locally in order to launch the national network.

“Eventually, we want to open bureaus across the country,” explained Wotila, “but at launch, we expect that every single job created by LNN will be based right here in Cadillac, and that’s part of the reason we’re reaching out to Michigan for support of our Kickstarter campaign.”

That campaign aims to raise $100,000 – but there’s less than 50 days to do so, and funding is all-or-nothing. If the campaign succeeds, that money will be used to pay for the new equipment and staff that will be necessary to handle the workload of national broadcasts. If the team behind the new startup doesn’t reach their fundraising goal by mid-November, no pledges will be collected, but the network won’t launch, either.

“It’s a no-risk way for people who support the idea of a news channel free of commentary and opinion to bring the idea to life,” explained Wotila.

Anybody contributing to the crowdfunding campaign for the startup will receive one of several rewards, ranging from their name in the national networks’ credits for several months to their name in the title of a show – but, in the eyes of LNN’s founder, the true reward is access to straight, opinion-free news.

“If people support this project – we truly believe we can bring credibility back to 24-hour national news.”

To support the LNN Kickstarter campaign, you can visit or

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