1,000 hours added in select markets
NBC-owned and -operated stations pledged a dramatic increase in local news programming Thursday in keeping with a commitment new parent company Comcast was required to make in order to secure the greenlight for its acquisition of NBCUniversal.An additional 1,000 hours of news, information and public affairs programming will come to stations in Miami, Dallas and several markets in California later this week. The content will come in the form of “Nonstop” channels, which offer programming 24 hours a day on each station’s digital multicast channel and local cable systems. The news infusion will also manifest on primary broadcast channels. For instance, new hourlong newscast “NBC Miami News at 5 PM” will begin airing weekdays. “We’re happy to announce that we’ve begun to fulfill the localism commitment we made on the day we announced our transaction,” said John Wallace, president of NBC Local Media. “We’re excited about building on our already significant contributions to local television journalism, and we’re very proud to be able to deliver this important service to our viewers.” Telemundo O&Os are expected to undertake a similar increase in local news programming later this summer. Media watchdog org Free Press issued a report Monday that was sharply critical of alleged cutbacks to resources Telemundo has devoted to local news. “We challenge Comcast to go above and beyond its merger commitment and provide Spanish-speaking audiences with the local news programming they need and deserve,” said Corie Wright, policy counsel at Free Press.