Drumming Up the Local Digital Scene

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The Gannett Co. Inc. station group is contemplating a sort of C-SPAN for city councils on its digital channels, and The New York Times Co. may use its stations’ digital spectrum for local 24-hour news channels.

NYT says neither national cable networks nor NYT’s own station newscasts can quench viewers’ thirst for local news.

Both suggestions came in an FCC filing by the NBC affiliate association in support of requiring cable systems to carry broadcasters’ multicast signals. Other NBC-heavy groups adding their exhibits to the proposal were Liberty, Hearst-Argyle and Belo. All were long on the kind of localism offerings that play well in Washington these days.

The filing came on the heels of one by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association in opposition to multicast must-carry. That filing pointed to "a paucity of commercial multicast offerings nationwide" and argued that "infomercials and paid programming"-a category that doesn’t play well in Washington-might be the only model that could pay off.

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