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NBC Lets Local Stations Add a Crawl to ‘Today’

Dec 8, 2003  •  Post A Comment

No more waiting for 25 minutes after and five minutes until the hour to bring “Today” viewers up to date on the news, traffic and weather in local markets. NBC last month gave affiliates and network-owned stations permission to run a local crawl during the network portions of “Today.”
“It’s just one more effort to provide local information,” said Roger Ogden, president and general manager of Gannett-owned KUSA-TV and NBC affiliate board chairman. He tested the crawl for several months on his station in Denver, where the early news competition is about to intensify with the launch of a local morning show on Fox-owned KDVR-TV.
WNBC-TV in New York instituted its local ticker, in the network-approved bright yellow, in early November. The total number of NBC affiliates and owned stations that have taken the network up on the opportunity was not available at press time.
Local NBC stations cannot work commercials or promos for any programs but their own newscasts into the crawls, but the stations can include local and regional news headlines, weather forecasts, traffic conditions, sports scores, school closings, community announcements, teases for features coming up on “Today” and on local newscasts.
The network prohibits the local crawl during commercial breaks and is asking stations to limit its use during major breaking national news events to local aspects of the national story.
“Nothing is less productive than a crawl that is repetitive. Showing viewers the same few lines of copy over and over again signals to them that not much is happening in their community and that there is not much reason to watch the crawl or the program with which it appears,” the stations were told when they were given operational and font information about the ticker. “In order to avoid that, stations without the staffing necessary for constant updates may want to consider running the local crawl over `Today’ for just the first few minutes of each block.
“We hope your station will make the commitment to produce a local crawl that will be most valuable to your viewers,” said the network communique. “Our objective is twofold: to enrich `Today’s’ national news coverage with additional information that viewers most need to start their day and to maintain a uniform look for the program wherever it appears across the country.”