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NBC Local Media Sites Now For Newshounds, Not Nightcrawlers

When did NBC Local Media overhaul its websites?

In the fall of 2008, the NBC O&Os announced a splashy rebrand of their sites, featuring the “Locals Only” tagline and featuring way more lifestyle content than the typical news and weather and sports seen on station sites.

Group president John Wallace spoke at the time of creating “a new type of user experience that’s less an extension of our TV stations and more of an online destination for the latest local news, information and entertainment.”

I just checked out a few of the NBC owned station sites, and they’re back to leading with local news, with lifestyle content present but not nearly as prominent as before., for one, leads with two stories about local politicians, another on Gadhafi, and another on the drenching rain scheduled to hit tonight. even put a story about an allegedly crooked politician ahead of the latest legal foibles involving Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan.

Notably, I don’t see the phrase “Locals Only” on any of the sites.

They actually look real good–clean, understated, substantive.

There was no splashy press release accompanying the web overhaul this time around. called the recent overhaul “a hybrid approach that plays to the individual O&O’s broadcast identities, while trying to focus narrowly on web-only content that hones in single areas of news coverage that reflects something about the respective cities’ cultural interest.”

NBC often trumpeted that traffic on the slick Locals Only sites was way up over their predecessors, but when I reported my open letter to new NBC chief Steve Burke (coincidentally, one of the points I made to Burke was to scrap Locals Only and bring back news sites), multiple insiders said the numbers were misleading: NBC needed serious news consumers, not the cultural tastemakers, and wasn’t getting them.

Last month, NBC Local Media launched a feature called “The 20″ that showcases 20 au courant bloggers in a given market.