NBC-owned WMAQ-TV is beginning to target 250,000 cable subscribers in north, northwest and south suburban areas by incorporating special reports for each zone into their regular newscasts at noon, 4 and 6 p.m.
The cut-ins will consist of 4 1/2-minute reports prepared by Suburban News Source, a joint venture of WMAQ and two suburban newspaper chains. Ed Planer, a former NBC News exec, will preside over the new service, working closely with former NBC prexy Bob Mulholland, now chairman of the broadcasting department of Northwestern U.’s Medill School of Journalism.
Each segment will include one minute of advertising time, allowing sponsors, for the first time, to reach specific regions in the Chicago area. The cut-ins will be fed to suburban cable operators Centel Videopath. They will not be available to cable viewers in the city of Chicago or other regions served by Tele-Communications Inc., which has its own plans to launch a 24-hour-news/weather/sports channel in partnership with Fox’ WFLD-TV.