NBC Affils Like the Weather

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The forecast looks bright for the co-owned digital weather/news alert channel that NBC and its affiliates have been considering (B&C, Nov. 17) as part of a DTV multicast service. The affiliates are overwhelmingly gung ho on the plan, according to a survey.

NBC affiliate board Chairman Roger Ogden reports that 92% of the affiliates responded that they have a "strong interest" in pursuing the channel. "We will move ahead now from concept stage to planning stage to put a structure in place to own and operate the channel," said Ogden, who is president and general manager of Gannett’s KUSA-TV Denver.
If the planning stage goes smoothly, the service could begin by midyear. Meanwhile, ABC told the FCC of plans to multicast three separate program signals on its digital channels in all 10 of its markets "in the near future." In addition to the main local signal (including prime time and sports in HDTV), each station will transmit a signal carrying repurposed news and public affairs, with a separate signal devoted to weather.
ABC said its Fresno, Calif., DTV station has been transmitting a package of signals like that for over a year.
Like NBC, ABC urged the FCC to require cable companies carry all DTV signals that consumers would get free over the air. It said it has succeeded in negotiating marketplace deals but fears that many affiliates may not have the leverage to do so.

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