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Raycom Media to roll out hyperlocal Web sites in 35 cities

Raycom Media will deliver hyperlocal news coverage via neighborhood-oriented Web sites.

The broadcast group, which owns or operates 46 TV stations in 36 markets across 18 states, plans to launch hundreds of the Web sites in 35 cities across the United States. The first is expected to be operational before the end of April.

DataSphere Technologies in Bellevue, WA, will provide its LocalNet service, technology and ad sales force to support Raycom Media’s hyperlocal Web strategy.

The agreement between the companies was announced March 3. It is the latest hyperlocal news agreement for DataSphere Technologies. To date, five media companies have deployed DataSphere Technologies’ LocalNet service to launch and support more than 160 neighborhood sites. They include Fisher Communications, which initially launched 43 hyperlocal Web sites and later expanded to more than 100 sites, and Cowles California Communications, which has rolled out 40 hyperlocal sites. Last month, Fisher announced a $1.5 million strategic investment in the company.

Raycom Media will launch its hyperlocal Web sites in cities served by its TV stations and will provide local communities with news, events, entertainment and personalities relevant to their daily lives. The neighborhood-oriented sites also will allow local businesses to target their potential customer base.

According to Raycom Media president and CEO Paul McTear, the LocalNet service will let the media company further fulfill its vision of serving local communities by “seeking out divergent points of view and creating an atmosphere of community dialog.”