Free Press, the nonprofit organization dedicated to media reform founded in 2002, has released a report analyzing local news coverage on NBC and Telemundo stations following the merger with Comcast. As part of the merger deal, Comcast must submit a report on local coverage to the FCC each quarter.
According to the report, there is a disparity between the local coverage on Telemundo and other NBC stations. Moreover, the report states that the dearth of local news has been an issue since NBCUniversal purchased Telemundo in 2002.
*Update after the jump.
The report, “No News Is Bad News: An Analysis of Comcast NBC Universal Compliance with FCC Localism, ” says that Comcast and NBCU must produce an additional 1,000 hours of local coverage on NBC stations and another 1,000 more on Telemundo stations to be in compliance. The analysis found that local news makes up less than 20 percent of weekly programming on NBC stations and less than three percent on Telemundo stations.
And while NBC stations air about four hours and 42 minutes of local programming per day, Telemundo stations air about 48 minutes of local programming each day. In Denver and Boston, no local news aired on Telemundo stations between January and April of this year. And some advertising content was tallied as news coverage.
Among Free Press’ recommendations are that NBCU and Telemundo go above and beyond the conditions set during the merger to make up for the lack of local news.
*Broadcast & Cable reports that NBCU is launching three 24-hour local news channels in Dallas, Miami, and California. They’re also adding a half hour to some of its existing news programming. Plans for expanded local news coverage on Telemundo are coming in the summer. These steps are being taken in order to comply with the FCC condition for the Comcast-NBC merger.