>A Nonstop Train of Fools

>So there is a new 24 hour local news channel here in New York. I almost hesitate to call it a “news” channel, but I also find NBC’s description of a “round the clock information and lifestyle channel” a bit too dense.

This channel (for those who don’t watch WNBC, which well, is probably a significant part of the market, based on the ratings) is called New York Nonstop, and it’s a part of NBC’s nationwide focus on local programming via the new digital channels. (If it’s successful.)

Since it only debuted yesterday, I will say that everything could very well change as the channel gets its footing.

And it needs all the footing it can get.

  • The logo and onscreen graphics look like they are straight from the early nineties.
  • The content is high on style and low on substance.
  • The “new” programming is basically weekday runs of those inane lifestyle shows that WNBC used to run at times when no infomercial could be found.

Richard Huff of the Daily News called it in today’s paper when he described the channel as “Time Out New York TV.”

Therein lies the problem. New York Nonstop seems to think by repeating things fast, frequently, with lots of pretty colours and hipster-speak, that they will differentiate themselves from the mothership’s operation (yet, why place so much focus on Chuck Scarborough’s 7pm newscast?), as well as their other competitors (the other local stations and New York 1).

I don’t think that’s the ticket.

Hipness is the last thing people need from their news or even “lifestyle” programming. Case in point: Headline News.

Once upon a time, Headline News was the headlines repeated every 30 minutes–no flash, no substance. It was bare-bones and loved for it.

Then it changed.

The anchors started thinking that–or were ordered to, most likely–become more friendly and casual. They added banter, which really annoyed more than entertained. It also made the anchors more important than the stories they presented.

Since few other organisations are foolish enough to create another direct competitor, Headline News can continue with this changes, but there is definite dissatisfaction out there. (Remember the old saying “do one thing well, instead of several things poorly?”)

So one has to wonder what WNBC is thinking by emulating some of Headline News’s worst decisions.


One comment

  1. Anonymous · March 10, 2009

    >i think a lot of changes at cnn were knee-jerk responses to fox news — and not as part of a conscious attempt to remake the network.

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