Continuing a war cry that has been heard at NATPE for years, five heads of station groups continued to declare “content is king” at one of Tuesday’s panels. This time, though, it’s with a twist.

That content stems from local news and local public service; the solution is making sure it fits the proper demographic.

“The person who figures out how to put timely and interesting news content on iPods will be a success,” said Deb McDermott, president of Young Broadcasting.

Joining her at “Is Over the Air Over” – answered with a resounding “no” – were David Barrett, prexy/CEO of Hearst Argyle Television, Jim McNamara, prez of Telemundo, Pat Mullen, prexy of Tribune Broadcasting, and Dennis Swanson, exec VP and chief operating officer of the Viacom Station Group.

All agreed that local programming, specifically news, needs to be in line with the rest of station’s network programming. Affils of the WB and Fox should make sure news broadcasts and morning shows have content that the younger auds can relate to, and that the content needs to be a part of their world away from the television. Most are addressing that need by creating Web sites; the next step is getting content sent to phones and news alerts on instant messaging systems.

Pat O’Brien, host of “The Insider,” moderated the panel.