The crux of the situation is that ad revenues are way down for local TV stations, even in spite of the fact that satellite and cable companies are making billions just by carrying the channels. None of that money makes it back to the stations, however. And with time-shifting there's less incentive to tune into your local station when you can watch your favourite program anytime in a six-hour window.
If I may offer my two cents though, I think this is emblematic of deeper problem: how are you to encourage people to watch their local station when everything on it, with the exception of local newscasts, is exactly the same as the others? Sure, there may be one or two different programs squeezed in between network mandated programming line-ups, but there's actually very few hours in the day that a local station can call their own. Not to mention there's a real lack of separate identity: it's CTV Southwestern Ontario now, not CKCO Kitchener. The irony is, in the case of the A-Channel stations at least, that before being folded into the A-Channel network, all those stations were pretty individualistic.
But no matter how we got here, the point is still important and timely. At the very least, information that affects you daily, that has or will have an immediate impact on your life, will be seen on your local newscast. It's like why I say voting in municipal elections is important: it's where 99 per cent of the things that affect you a daily basis happen. The national news covers national issues, you want to know about school funding, property taxes, local festivals and sports, you go to your local TV station. It's worth saving and supporting.