New York - New NBCU CEO Steve Burke is "extremely committed" to local stations, said Ron Gordon, president of the Telemundo Television Station Group at B&C/Multichannel News' Hispanic Television Summit on Tuesday.
In August Telemundo announced its station group would add more than 1,000 hours of news and public affairs programming by January as part of the conditions of Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal.
"You're seeing that across our company, whether it's the NBC stations or the Telemundo stations, that reinvestment in local stations which is fantastic to see," Gordon said in a keynote conversation with Michael Malone, B&C deputy editor.
As such, Telemundo will launch a Sunday public affairs show in the style of Meet the Press the first Sunday in November.
"I think the public affairs show will be a very nice platform for us to bring candidates, talk about issues that impact the community and make them responsible," Gordon said.
Engaging in political coverage, especially voter registration is crucial for the local communities Telemundo stations serve, Gordon says.
"People are turning to the local station and they see us as a source for advocacy for news information. I think it typifies the role that local news plays in the communities that we serve."
One issue in particular Gordon sees the Hispanic market covering well is that of immigration.
"The sad part is that the general market doesn't cover it with the energy and commitment and passion that we cover it with," he said. "To some degree I'd love to see more of that. We have an opportunity to bring this issue to the table. We need more of that."
There is an opportunity particularly because the Hispanic audience, unlike the general market audience, is growing. The results of the 2010 Census show Hispanics as the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, but Gordon thinks it's a bit too soon to see that growth reflected in local news ad revenue.
"I think it might be a little early, I think we're going to see more of that next year," he said. "This year was the information year. I think as people start planning and putting dollars against the demographics I think you're going to start seeing an investment that reflects the 2010 census."
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