Al Jerome, president of KCET Los Angeles said Wednesday that the revamped BBC World News half-hour newscast it has just begun distributing in conjunction with the BBC has been cleared in all 30 of the top 30 markets, including 28 on the primary PBS affiliate in each.
Only one noncom station in every market can carry 100% of its lineup, with other noncoms limited to no more than 25%. The show is cleared in 47 of the top 50 and 83 of the top 100.
He also said the show has gotten time period upgrades in Chicago, Denver, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City and others.
The newscast is anchored from London, and has led each of its first five days with news of the financial meltdown, which Jerome says highlights the need for global perspective. "the U.S. audience is very much in need of in-depth international news and perspective. It has become a much smaller world as we have all learned over the last couple of years, and most recently with the financial crisis that certainly is s global one."
He said that with domestic news resources shrinking, BBC by contrast has 70 bureaus, with reporters often living where they work.
Jerome said that KCET had sought one station in each market to boost the BBC World News brand and make it more integral to the station's brand in the market. He also said the newscast would look better because of a new L.A. uplink that would avoid weather problems that affected the feed when it was going through the Southeast.
Richard Porter, head of news at BBC World News, agreed with Jerome that the economic crisis put a spotlight on the importance of the newscast to U.S. audiences. "I can't take credit for the timing of the launch, but everything that is happening in the global economy right now is a perfect illustration of how we can serve our audience."
He said the show could place the crisis in a global context, adding that he expected Wednesday night would make it six for six lead stories on the economy.