WNBC Debuts Digital Channel

WNBC-TV is set to launch its new digital TV side channel Monday (March 9). Called New York Nonstop, the round-the-clock local information and lifestyle digital channel marks a major departure from the traditional appointment viewing TV model.

This isn’t the first time WNBC has launched a digital side channel. In mid-2006, WNBC experimented with a lifestyle and content digital channel called WNBC4.4. Then there was NBC Weather Plus, which the network and its affiliates decided last year to shutter.

More resembling a Web site or news radio station, programming on New York Nonstop will be presented in short pod-like segments interspersed with news updates every 15 minutes. It will even sport an on-screen up-to-the-minute news ticker time with widgets for time and temperature. In theory, 5.7 million New Yorker digital households can tune-in any time and get the scoop on their city.

As part of New York Nonstop’s line up, WNBC is moving its ratings-challenged 7 p.m. newscast anchored by Chuck Scarborough to the digital channel and expanding it to an hour. (Scarborough will continue to co-anchor with Sue Simmons WNBC’s 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts).

The channel will also air encore programming from LX.TV, the local lifestyle production firm NBC acquired in Jan. 2008 to provide programming for a number of local venues including WNBC, its Web site, as well as NY10, its video network in NY taxis.

“New York Nonstop is all about telling the stories of New York,” said Tom O’Brien, president and general manager of NBC Local Media in New York, which has reorganized its station’s newsroom to handle content across all of NBC’s local outlets.