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Local TV Stations Send Correspondents to the Beijing Games

NBC Universal will churn out 3,600 hours of Olympics coverage, but that“s not quite enough for some local affiliates. WBAL-TV, the Hearst-Argyle-owned NBC affil in Baltimore, is sending in its own folks to cover local athletes competing in the Games, according to an article in TV Week.

Hearst-Argyle is sending a team of nine people to provide live shots from Beijing for use across its 26 stations. LIN TV of Providence, R.I., will also be sending a team to feed its 29 TV stations, including WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Mich. The area is home to five Olympians.

NBC said its owned-and-operated stations were sold out of local time during the Games, while NBC affiliates owned by other station groups still had inventory on the books. Those groups reported somewhat slower than expected sales due to the state of the economy, but ads will be sold right up to and during the Games. The piece in TV Week said Olympics ad revenue can represent as much as 3 percent of a station“s total annual revenues--a particularly important opportunity as the bottom falls out of automotive, financial and retail ad segments.