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'Buzz' Gets Busy

Morning news program The Daily Buzz is gaining buzz on a daily basis. The young-adult– skewing show has cut a deal for carriage on the new CW Plus group, a collection of small-market, cable-only and broadcast affiliates similar to the former WB 100+ station group. Designed to run from 6 to 9 a.m., Buzz also recently re-upped with the CBS Television Stations and is now in 138 markets across 39% of the country. Buzz is looking to bolster its national footprint by pushing a combination of local and new-media elements.

Buzz has been a joint venture between Emmis Communications Corp. and ACME Communications Inc. since January 2004. Emmis remains a partner even as it tries to sell its remaining three TV stations. “It's a great alternative for us to the other morning news shows,” says CW Plus Senior VP of Programming and Distribution Lynn Stepanian, who moves over from the same role with The WB 100+.

Buzz Senior VP of Business Development Dave Ward says his goal is to have 50% penetration by fall, and he hopes to make a big push between NAB and the upfront season in May. The former senior VP of programming and marketing for Emmis is trying to do so by convincing stations of the show's ability to cater to localization, a big trend in syndication. Buzz has local weather, traffic and news that can be sold by stations. “The more they localize the show,” Ward says, “the better it works.”

With Buzz giving stations locality in a daypart usually reserved for paid programming and second-run shows in many markets, it allows them to go after a new pool of ad dollars and pursue wider buys. The stations usually keep about 365 spots per week in the show.

“The show gives them the news inventory they wouldn't have,” says Stepanian. “It's three hours of a different kind of inventory.”

Buzz is promoting itself via Internet platforms. It produces a daily eight- to 10-minute original show that affiliates can put directly on their Web sites to sell. There are also podcasts of Buzz's first hour shown every day. All are part of the effort to expand the show's reach across the U.S.