KCBS sees orange

CBS O&O, news cabler to share footage

KCBS Los Angeles has inked a news footage sharing deal with Orange County NewsChannel cabler in an effort to beef up its coverage of the Big Orange.

The reciprocal license agreement gives KCBS the exclusive right to use a limited amount of footage and segments from Orange County NewsChannel (OCN) in all of its daily newscasts, while OCN gets the same access to KCBS’ material, as well as some news footage from the CBS web.

KCBS also will make use of OCN sports reports in its Sunday afternoon sports wrap-up show, “Sports Central.” All of the OCN material picked up by KCBS will be labeled as such on the air.

Santa Ana-based OCN is available in all of Orange County’s 575,000 cable TV homes. The 24-hour all-news cabler was founded in 1990 by Freedom Communications, parent company of the Orange County Register, and sold to cable operator Century Communications in 1996.

John Culliton, veepee and general manager of KCBS, said the deal with OCN was spurred by a desire to expand the depth and breadth of the CBS O&O’s coverage of news, events and human interest fare emanating from Orange County.

Orange County has a population of about 2.7 million, which would put it on the low end of Nielsen’s top 50 TV markets if O.C. was ranked separately from Los Angeles, the second largest TV market behind New York.

KCBS will continue to send its own news staffers to cover breaking news and investigative pieces in Orange County, but the OCN arrangement will facilitate consistent coverage of O.C.-related matters that would otherwise require a significant bump in KCBS’ news budget.

Cost-cutting, on the other hand, was not a factor in the OCN-KCBS arrangement; the Hollywood-based O&O does not have a bureau or any other standing news-gathering facilities in Orange County.

“As big as this (Los Angeles) market is, most of the news coverage is limited to a certain radius starting from wherever the station is located,” said Culliton. “We believe we’re in a unique position to really expand the scope of our coverage.”

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