Time Warner Cable (TWC) launches its Buffalo news channel, called YNN (as in Your News Now), tomorrow. The channel will be staffed by 21 employees, who will work out of TWC's building in downtown Buffalo. Buffalo native Jim Aroune, formerly an anchor at TWC's cable channel in Rochester, manages the newsroom.
The news infusion is a welcome one for upstate New York, which saw a reported 40-plus employees at WTVH Syracuse lose their jobs recently when struggling broadcast groups Granite and Barrington announced a shared-services partnership. "The upstate markets have really seen contraction, but Time Warner Cable is willing to invest in local programming," says TWC Regional VP Steve Paulus.
TWC has a strong news presence in upstate New York, with round the clock channels in multiple cities, including Syracuse and Rochester. The channels share content when appropriate, such as news about the governor that affects the whole state. With Verizon's FiOS service stepping up its presence in Buffalo, Paulus says a news channel is a key factor in retaining cable subscribers. "The company really sees these as a churn-preventer," he says.
Buffalo, the #51 Nielsen DMA, has been in an economic slump for decades. But Paulus says it's a lively region where local pride runs as deep as the snow. "People that live there are very chauvinistic about the city," he says. "They feel like this is something Buffalo deserves."