NEW YORK, NY – October 31, 2011 – NBCUniversal today announced a number of enhancements at its 10 owned television stations that are the result of a major investment the company is making to further strengthen the news gathering operations at the stations and ensure they have the resources necessary to effectively compete in their markets. Valari Staab, President of the NBC Owned Television Stations, said the 10 stations are hiring more than 130 new people, producing more local news, launching new consumer and investigative units in five markets and making other enhancements.
“Our stations have a responsibility to deliver critical local news and information to viewers in their respective communities each and every day,” said Staab. “By making these strategic investments in our stations, we will ensure we meet our viewers’ high expectations.”
Staab, who joined NBCUniversal earlier this year after working at local television stations for 30 years, said the company is committed to making sure the stations are well-positioned to serve the needs of their individual communities. The investments, much of which will take place over the next several months, include:
• Hiring more than 130 people across all 10 stations, primarily in the news departments, including reporters, producers and photographers;
• Producing more than 1,200 additional hours of local news a year on the stations’ primary broadcast channels, including:
o An hour-long 5 PM newscast on WNBC/4 New York
o A 30-minute noon newscast on KNBC/4 Los Angeles
o A 30-minute noon newscast on WMAQ/5 Chicago
o Two 30-minute newscasts at 4:30 AM and 11:00 AM on WCAU/10 Philadelphia
o A 30-minute newscast at 11 AM on KNTV/11 Bay Area
o A 30-minute newscast at 11 AM on KXAS/5 Dallas-Fort Worth
o Two hours of news on Saturday and Sunday mornings on WTVJ/6 Miami
o A 30-minute noon newscast on KNSD/7 San Diego
The company has now increased local news programming at its owned stations by more than 2,200 hours since the Comcast/NBCUniversal transaction was approved.
• Establishing investigative and/or consumer units in five markets, including WRC/4 Washington, D.C.;
• Adding 15 new vehicles to the current fleet as well as upgrading 14 more vehicles with live news capabilities;
• Purchasing 20 new cameras and other new equipment;
• Building new sets and/or studios at four stations, including WNBC/4 New York;
• Adding or increasing the hours of helicopter coverage in several markets; and
• Restoring the promotions departments at all 10 stations.
“We want our stations to enterprise stories and truly produce differentiated, high quality local news content; and we want them to make it available to our audiences in as many ways as possible – on TV, online and on the go,” said Staab. “With these investments, our stations will be even better equipped to serve their markets.”