ION: Positively Local?


I had an interesting chat with Ion chief Brandon Burgess in our new issue. The short version appears in the new magazine, while the much longer one–covering the FCC and spectrum, mobile plans and what sort of version of “News 2.0″ Ion might try in the future–appears here.

Ion is a peculiar animal: 59 stations covering major markets around the country, but they’re not stations in the typical sense. They don’t do local news, and what you see on WPXN in New York is what you see on KPXN in Los Angeles.

Burgess says he wants Ion to be more local. He acknowledges that trying to compete with the more established stations with local news would be quixotic, but he’s curious about perhaps creating some non-traditional news programs.

Burgess says:

There’s no question that one of the best opportunities for us is localism. At the same time, the local marketplace is a tough one to break into. We would have to compete with very, very well-established and competent news organizations. Whether that is our best contribution, I don’t know, but maybe there is a different form of news that could evolve in the digital age. I’ve always been a big fan, at least intuitively, in citizen journalism; whether that is something that allows us to do some version of News 2.0, I’m certainly supportive of exploring that.