John Wallace, the new president of the NBC owned and operated stations, is urging his general managers to put as much of a local stamp on their product as possible. "You’ll see a big change in the focus on local, in terms of our digital strategy," he says. "It's our intent to have a bigger presence in niche communities and get away from general news."
Wallace stressed the significance of "local portals" on the Web that cover topics such as health, entertainment and sports on an ultra-local level. He cited Digphilly.com, the social networking site launched by NBC station WCAU Philadelphia last spring, as the model.
Each station's content, he says, will reflect its DMA. "There are a lot of unique qualities in each marketplace," Wallace says. "There’ll be a very different look and feel to how we present content in that marketplace. There’ll be major reliance on [general managers’] local expertise."
Wallace also vowed to make mobile distribution more of a priority. He promised to forge ahead with equal parts caution and ambition: "We’ll move at the right pace, but we’ll take some big swings too."
A 19-year veteran of the company, Wallace steps in for Jay Ireland, who was named president and CEO of GE Asset Management.