Two regional cable news nets fold

Time Warner Cable, Belo joint ventures shutter

NEW YORK — The glut of TV and cable news has claimed two fresh victims: Regional cable news networks News 24 Houston and News 9 San Antonio folded on Friday.

Both nets were part of a joint venture for 24-hour local news between Time Warner Cable and the Belo Corp. That venture, announced with some fanfare almost four years ago, also has gone out of business. A total of 190 full-time and part-time staffers will lose their jobs in Houston and San Antonio.

The third network in the venture, Charlotte, N.C.-based News 14 Carolina, will continue on the air but under the sole ownership of TW Cable.

Time Warner Cable and Belo “decided to break apart and kill the venture because we didn’t see the long-term sustainability of it,” said a TW Cable spokesman. “We evaluated the alternative business models, but couldn’t find one that worked.”

Not enough aud

A spokesman for Belo said, “We just weren’t building audience fast enough” in Houston and San Antonio. He said Belo contributed $37.8 million to the joint venture and will end up losing $18.7 million.

TW Cable will try to improve the financial performance of the Charlotte station by linking it more closely with a TW Cable-owned regional in Raleigh that also goes under the News 14 Carolina brand, the TW rep said.

In addition to Charlotte and Raleigh, TW Cable owns regional cable news nets in New York City (NY 1); Rochester, N.Y. (R News); Austin, Texas (News 8 Austin); Albany, N.Y. (Capital News 9); and Syracuse, N.Y. (News 10 Now).

While the joint venture with TW Cable failed, Belo owns successful cable news regionals in Dallas, Seattle and Boise, Idaho. In partnership with Cox Cable, Belo co-owns news regionals in Phoenix, New Orleans and Norfolk, Va. There actually are two regionals in Phoenix, one English-language and one Spanish-language.

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