Telemundo Stations to Expand Local News Programming by 25%



NEW YORK - NBCUniversal's Telemundo said Monday that its TV station group will increase local news and public affairs programming by more than 25 percent by January.

As part of the move, the Spanish-language media company will launch local weekend news program in New York and local public affairs programs in LA and New York, the nation's largest media markets, among other things. Overall, it will add more than 1,000 hours of news and public affairs offerings.

Comcast promised regulators when it acquired NBCUniversal that it would expand news and public affairs content on local stations. Management reiterated during a quarterly earnings call last week that Telemundo and boosting local TV news are key growth opportunities.

The Telemundo Station Group on Monday announced the launch of morning news shows in LA and Houston; local weekend news programs in New York, Dallas and Puerto Rico; weekday news programs in Denver; and local public affairs programs in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix and Puerto Rico. They will all be launched by the end of Jan. 2012.

The group also said it is making a multi-million dollar investment in upgrading local technical infrastructure at its top Hispanic market stations to give them local HD news production capability.

“This expansion of local news and public affairs programming at the Telemundo owned stations reinforces our commitment to the communities we serve," said Ronald Gordon, president, Telemundo Station Group. "A focus on local service has been an ongoing priority at Telemundo, and we have made significant investments to enhance our local news programming, resulting in substantial ratings growth in our markets."

As part of the news push, the hour-long weekday program Buenos Dias Los Angeles, returned to KVEA in the 6am slot as of June 13.

Among other changes, starting in September, Telemundo will launch new public affairs programs, which will be locally produced, in eight markets. "These programs will help audiences understand the key role played by Latinos in our country and, as the 2012 election season approaches, will underscore the importance of Latino participation in our nation’s political process," the company said.

By January, new 30-minute local editions of weekend news will launch in New York (on WNJU) and other markets. They will air at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

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