It looks like Nexstar Broadcasting Group is banking on a bright future for local news, spending lots of money and effort to open new regionally based broadcast facilities that will create programming for more than one station located in the market. It’s a cost-saving move that can bring many benefits, to both the production staff (increased productivity) and viewers (better programming across multiple platforms). Nexstar owns, operates, programs or provides sales and other services to 72 television stations and 13 related digital multicast signals reaching 41 markets, or approximately 12.1 percent of all U.S. television households.
On June 1, the company will open a new broadcasting and news production facility in Memphis, TN, to support the operations and associated digital services of its WPTY-TV (ABC affiliate) and WLMT-TV (CW affiliate) serving Memphis (DMA 49) and WJKT-TV (FOX affiliate) serving Jackson, TN (DMA 176).
With expanded news production facilities, viewers will see a contemporary-looking news set for WPTY and WLMT. In addition, the new facility will feature technology for HD production for all on-air programming. The Nexstar studios will be operational and fully staffed on June 1.
The 27,000-sq-ft facility, a former call center in the Shelby Oaks Corporate Park, will feature a news studio outfitted with HD studio cameras, enhanced meteorological forecasting technology and advanced weather and traffic presentation equipment. The production and master control infrastructure will enable HD commercial production and playback.
The Memphis facility will also launch a news content center that allows the stations to transcend the traditional news presentation by providing local viewing audiences access to the newsgathering and technical process.
Nexstar partnered with Belz Enterprises, a real estate developer, and Belz Architecture and Construction, for all architectural services and construction of the new broadcast facility.
“Our staff will benefit from the market’s most contemporary facility, fostering greater creativity through a modern work environment,” said Ardyth Diercks, Nexstar’s vice president and general manager for the Tennessee operations.
The company is also building a new broadcast facility in Branson, MO, for KOLR-KOZL, Nexstar Broadcasting’s duopoly in Springfield. The facility, which is on Main Street in Branson, is slated to open in early June. KOLR-KOZL will also provide content to Nexstar and Mission Broadcasting stations in Joplin, Fayetteville, AR, and Little Rock, AR, from the space.
“The Branson area remains one of the fastest-growing regions in the television market,” vice president and general manager Leo T. Henning said in a statement. “It is a significant driver of the economy for our region. It makes sense to have a daily point of presence there. In fact, it is long overdue.”