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Telemundo: We’re Delivering on Comcast Promise

Washington —Telemundo,
NBCUniversal’s Spanish-language
broadcaster, this week will
unveil its plans for adding 1,000
hours of news and local-public affairs
programming on its dozen
owned TV stations within the next
six months, a top executive told
MultichannelNews last week.

Those efforts will include new
weekend local newscasts in New
York and Dallas and weekday
newscasts in Denver.

NBC Local Media signaled back
in May that it would outline its
game plan for Telemundo’s news
expansion in the summer, and is
planning to deliver on that promise
— made during the Comcast-
NBCUniversal merger-approval
process last year — with an announcement
today (Aug. 8).

Telemundo Stations Group
president Ron Gordon said
that the planned multimilliondollar
ramp-up — he would not
put an exact figure on it — predates
the raft of public-interest
pledges Comcast made to secure
government approval of the merger that put the nation’s
largest cable operator in control of Telemundo parent
NBCU. One of the voluntary commitments the FCC made
enforceable through that order was, “Comcast-NBCU’s
O&O NBC and Telemundo stations … will provide thousands
of additional hours of local news and information
programming to their viewers.”

“We had made over the past few
years a recommitment to our local stations
for local news in particular and
this has been in the plans for several
years now,” Gordon said. “We were
very willing to make [the commitment]
because it was the right thing for
us to do, the right thing for our station,
the right thing for our community,
and the right thing for our business.”

Telemundo said its promised 1,000
hours of additional local news and
public-affairs programming
will increase
its output
by more than 25%.
Content has been
added in stages,
with eff orts beginning
back in June
and concluding in
January 2012.

Free Press, which
has criticized
Comcast’s followthrough
on deal
conditions, put a
spotlight on the Telemundo
side of the
company’s pledge
back in May. The
advocacy group said Comcast needed to
“commit to significantly improving local
news production and distribution across
all Telemundo stations.”

Gordon said the company has done
just that, having made a multimilliondollar
investment in upgrading to local
HD news production over the next six months.

The additional news hours and half-hours will include
new morning, weekday and weekend newscasts and public-
affairs programs that will, among other things, encourage
civic engagement in the ramp-up to the presidential election.

The news expansion has already begun with the June 13
launch of Buenos Dias Los Angeles on O&O station KVEA, a
Monday-through-Friday local and world news program tailored
to Hispanics in Southern California. (Buenos Dias Miami
is already airing on Telemundo’s WSCV.)

Telemundo could eventually be saying Buenos Dias to
viewers in New York and Chicago, Gordon added.


Telemundo’s plan to ramp up local news coverage from September forward:

September 2011: Monthly public-affairs programs will launch in Los
Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Dallas and Phoenix, and
a weekly program will start in Puerto Rico. Telemundo describes the
programming as helping viewers understand “the key role played by
Latinos in our country.” It will also stress the importance of participation
in the political process as the 2012 election approaches.

October 2011: KDEN Denver is launching a pair of weekday, half-hour
newscasts at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

January 2012: KTMD Houston will launch Buenos Dias Houston, featuring
a format modeled on Buenos Dias Los Angeles and BuenosDias
, including local, national and world news; weather and traffic
reports; and special segments tailored to the unique interests of
Houston’s Latino community.

January 2012: Half-hour local weekend newscasts will launch at
6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on WNJU New York, KXTX Dallas, KTMD Houston
and WKAQ Puerto Rico.