Getting a jump on early risers, WNBC, NBC Universal's New York flagship, will expand its early morning local news by one half-hour. Beginning March 1, Today in New York will begin at 4:30 a.m. and air until 7 a.m.
WNBC joins a growing number of stations that program local newscasts earlier than the traditional 5 a.m. start. WPIX-TV, Tribune's The CW affiliate became the first station in New York to begin its local news at 4:30 a.m., in Sept. 2008.
The early morning daypart is increasingly more lucrative for stations, because more people are tuning in earlier. According to Nielsen, viewers to morning news increased 8 percent last quarter compared to a year ago.
"Expanding Today in NY to 4:30 [a.m.] allows us to respond to the changing dynamics of our audience and ensure we remain their source for local morning news," said Susan Sullivan, vp of news for NBC New York.
With the additional half-hour, WNBC brings its total number of original programming hours to more than 50 hours each week.