NBC O&Os launch local news subchannels

As part of campaign to win approval of its merger with NBC Universal, Comcast is making good on its stated commitment to produce an additional 1000 hours a year of local news and information programming. The move was encouraged by the FCC in an effort to quell those who feared consolidation and was, in fact, mandated by the FCC Order approving the merger deal between the two companies.

Last week NBC Local Media increased local news coverage across its owned-and-operated (O&O) stations in Dallas, Miami and California. The local stations in those three markets launched round-the-clock local news and information channels that air on each station’s digital multicast channel and local cable systems. This brings 24-hour news programming on NBC stations to a total of nine markets.

The companies are also committed to having the Telemundo O&Os produce an additional 1000 hours of news and information programming each year, and details of that initiative will be announced this summer, the company said.

Each news channel features a nightly local newscast, which airs five nights a week and is designed to complement and expand the evening coverage already provided by the news team at each station. In the case of California’s channel, which combines the resources of the three local stations NBC LA (KNBC), NBC Bay Area (KNTV) and NBC San Diego (KNSD), each local station is producing and airing its own newscast in its respective market.

NBC’s Miami O&O, WTVJ, in addition to offering additional news on its digital multicast channel, has extended evening coverage on its primary broadcast channel by 30 minutes, adding a new hour-long newscast airing weekdays entitled “NBC Miami News at 5 p.m.” The program replaced a half-hour news program that previously aired at 7 p.m.

NBC’s Dallas O&O, KXAS, also recently expanded the news coverage on its primary broadcast channel, adding “NBC 5 First Weather,” a half-hour of local weather coverage airing weekdays at 4:30 am.

Additional local news programs include “The Rundown,” a half-hour show airing on all three new channels that spotlights topics of interest to viewers in each market. The shows are presented by the various local anchor teams. Also, “Morning Mix,” an hour-long weekday morning news program, is airing on both the Dallas and California channels and features local news coverage tailored to each market.

“These new offerings continue our ongoing effort to expand our local news and information programming in our 10 O&O markets,” said John Wallace, president of NBC Local Media. “We’re happy to announce that we’ve begun to fulfill the localism commitment we made on the day we announced our transaction.”