NBCU Stations Find Waze to Deliver Traffic Reports

Looking to better inform viewers looking for the best way to get to work in the morning, the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations has expanded its agreement with the traffic app Waze.

Waze will now provide real-time traffic information and up-to-the-minute graphics to NBC and Telemundo stations in about two dozen markets of NBCU’s NBC and Telemundo stations.,

KNTV and KSTS-TV in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2017 were the first NBCU stations to join Waze for Broadcasters.

Waze for Broadcasters has deals with 950 TV, radio and digital outlets in more than 70 countries. Early on, deals in some markets were exclusive, but Waze has moved to an open-platform strategy.

Stephanie Adrouny, VP of News for NBC Bay Area, said Waze has been a hit with viewers.

“Traffic in the Bay Area is a terrible thing," Adrourry said. "We have some of the worst traffic in the nation. We’re always trying to find tools that help us tell that traffic story. When Waze approached the station, the app was in wide use in the area, so it was familiar in the newsroom and with viewers."

Adrouny says Waze is a supplement to the stations other traffic reporting systems including WSI, a helicopter and police scanners.

Waze for Broadcasters gives stations access to historical and real-time traffic information shared by local drivers to make their traffic reporting more accurate.

Stations can use Waze graphics on air during traffic reports and post the on their websites and mobile apps.

At NBC Bay Area, viewers are asked to join the NBC Bay Area Wazers group. There are now about 7,500 members who provide information about accidents, construction sites and other tie ups, as well as pictures of traffic-related situations to the stations. Through Waze, motorists can also interact with the station’s traffic reporter Mike Inouye, who acknowledges tips and photos on air.

“It gives us direct information with our public and the traveling public,” said Adourry, who said her station recommended the Waze for Broadcast to the rest of the group.

“We are thrilled to expand our work with NBC and Telemundo Owned Stations as our family of Waze broadcast partners grows,” said Mona Weng, global lead of Waze for Broadcasters. “This partnership is especially exciting because we are collaborating with even more stations to provide real-time traffic updates and help broadcasters share stories with their cities’ viewers first. Through the Waze for Broadcasters program and efforts by our partners, we are collectively tackling congestion and other global mobility issues.”

The Waze for Broadcasters program is offered to stations free and Waze hopes the exposure will grow the number of drivers providing information via the app.

Waze has been working on creating more high-resolution graphics for TV and is working with stations on content for mobile devices.

Before the Super Bowl, Waze worked with the NBC station in Atlanta to create high resolution graphic predicting traffic around Mercedes Benz Stadium.

“We recently brought onboard an Emmy-award winning anchor, Kim Smith Jenkins, as our new partner manager to optimize our onboarding and offer deeper guidance to partner anchors,” Weng said, adding that “Waze does not currently have plans to hire its own on-air traffic expert in the future.”

The NBCU stations working with Waze are in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, D.C.; Houston, the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Tampa, Phoenix, Miami, Denver, Orlando, San Diego, San Antonio, Hartford, Las Vegas, Ft. Myers, Tucson, Rio Grande Valley, El Paso and Puerto Rico.

And yes, the app does know the Waze to San Jose.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.