Cable TV for Smaller Newspapers: 32,000-Circulation Pennsylvania Daily Produces Two Weekly 30-Minute Shows Covering Local News and Sports for about $100

Article excerpt

Three years ago, the Herald-Standard, in Uniontown, Pa., made a move that some smaller newspapers might consider too speculative and resource-consuming.

In an effort to broaden its audience, the 32,000-circulation daily began producing its own cable television news programs.

While initially the newspaper was warned that hundreds of thousands of dollars would be necessary to finance production and equipment costs, the Herald-Standard currently produces two weekly, 30-minute television programs, one covering news and the other covering sports, for a total cost of about $100.

Since the first show aired in December 1990, the staff of the Herald-Standard has produced and aired 280 programs over two cable television systems which serve 72,000 households combined.

A sports show airs on one of the channels, with a news program on the other. Program format varies, but the news program usually includes Headlines of the Week, a review of the week's top stories. The camera pans noteworthy stories and photos in the newspaper while editors discuss and comment on the events.

Also, the news program features a segment where a reporter or editor from the Herald-Standard interviewing a local public official.

The obvious benefit of the cable programming is the supplemental exposure that the cable market offers the Herald-Standard.

Involving viewers in alternate delivery of the content in the newspaper creates an opportunity to reach consumers in the marketplace who might not be Herald-Standard readers.

Through offering same content, different delivery, the Herald-Standard maintains and strengthens its position as the main information provider in the community.

Not having the benefit of other smaller newspaper's efforts in the same area, the Herald-Standard experimented with various production methods and strategies in the early days of the program.

The first shows were produced by students and faculty at an educational classroom/TV studio at California University of Pennsylvania in nearby California, Pa. …