Family celebrates first birthday with Pennsylvania TV station-themed bash

Talk about strong news branding: A Pennsylvania station’s music and graphics have managed to lure in a 1-year-old super fan who marked his first birthday with a party centered around the station.

WNEP, the Tegna-owned ABC affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, has become such a big part of Kooper Kibler’s young life that his family decided to use the station as a theme for his first birthday celebration.

“We always watch it every single morning. It’s a morning ritual for him, and then he became oddly obsessed with the news,” Nicole Kibler, Kooper’s mother, told WNEP. “Every day, he watches it at noon, watches it in the evening.”

Kooper is “apparently” a big fan of the station’s news theme music, the so-called “dance version” of “Move Closer to Your World” that was originally composed for WPXI in Pittsburgh. Unlike most of its sister stations, WNEP has retained its theme since the Tegna takeover.

Kooper’s dad also mentioned that the colors seem to captivate the young news junkie — WNEP uses the standard Tenga graphics package that’s known for its unique color palette.

For the big day, WNEP dispatched news staffers Jon Meyer and Renie Workman, who are married, to “crash” Kooper’s party.

The party included a banner of morning meteorologist Joe Snedeker, who is one of Kooper’s favorite personalities, plus WNEP-themed shirts for guests (though ironically, Meyer and Workman were not wearing “16” shirts), as well as a cake decorated to look like a five day forecast graphic (this isn’t the first edible version of the Stormtracker 16 forecast that’s been baked).

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WNEP is known for producing some of the highest rated local newscasts in the country. It has dominated local ratings for decades and its news team are often local celebrities. 

Many of those personalities, and the station itself, are household names in the viewing area.

There’s no word what Kooper’s plans are for his 16th birthday, but WNEP might want to pencil in that “sweet” date for 2037.

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