WNBC Launches ‘Nonstop’ Digital Channel Next Week

WNBC New York’s long-awaited 24-7 news and lifestyle channel debuts the morning of March 9. Named New York Nonstop, the digital channel is described by NBC as a “unique round-the-clock local information and lifestyle digital channel.” It premieres to 5.7 million households in the New York DMA.

WNBC President/General Manager Tom O’Brien says Nonstop will attempt to mirror the lively market it airs in. “New York Nonstop is really about capturing the energy, the excitement, the uniqueness of New York in a different way than is traditionally presented on television,” he says.

WNBC is also moving star anchor Chuck Scarborough’s 7 p.m. newscast to the cable channel. New York Nightly News at 7 PM expands to an hour on Nonstop. A 35-year WNBC vet, Scarborough’s 7 p.m. newscast debuted in September 2007. WNBC, which has struggled to get viewers at 7 p.m., will air Extra and Access Hollywood in that hour. Scarborough will continue to anchor the 6 and 11 p.m. news on WNBC.

With an estimated $10 million price tag, NBC Local Media announced plans for the channel in May. Central to its operations is the WNBC “content center,” a multimedia workflow setup where content can be simultaneously shifted to broadcast TV, the Web and cable. Building on the content center began in early September. New York Nonstop’s launch was set for late fall, but was pushed back to March.

Nonstop will offer a mix of news and lifestyle programming in a wheel format. There will be news and weather updates every 15 minutes, along with recurring segments like “Sidewalk Stories” and “What’s the Deal”, the latter attempting to answer often whimsical questions that are unique to the New York market. Random New Yorkers, interviewed on the street, will play a prominent role on the channel. Programming from NBC’s production outfit LX.TV, such as Reel Talk, will round out the schedule.

Nonstop will feature the time and temperature in the bottom corner of the screen, similar to Time Warner Cable’s NY1 News, which has slavishly covered topics like politics, transit and weather for Gotham viewers for 16 years. Time Warner Cable’s Regional VP of News Steve Paulus says New Yorkers reflexively turn to NY1 for breaking news, and says his channel traffics in lighter bailiwicks like Broadway and Fashion Week too. “I think we do a decent job of covering lifestyle [programming],” he says.

WNBC V.P. of News and Content Vickie Burns says Nonstop will “open the tent a little more” in terms of what a station would typically report. "It's a channel about New York and all things newsworthy in New York," she says. "Not just what you'd find in a 30-minute newscast."

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.