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News product placement

KNSD: Going green for big green?
KNSD: Going green for big green?

What’s news to NBC-owned TV station KNSD, at least according to its latest federally required “issues and program list,” covering the operation’s news coverage during the period between April 1 and June 30? First, a little something to make a certain German car dealer happy: “With nearly 40-percent of its energy produced on-site, BMW leads the country in relying on renewables. The Environmental Protection Agency was sufficiently impressed, and recently added BMW to its green power partners list.” And mention of a local tourist powerhouse: “The grand opening for Legoland’s new hotel in Carlsbad is today! Legoland says its hotel is designed to bring children’s imaginations to life. All 250 rooms are themed with one of three popular Lego toy lines — pirates, adventurer or Kingdom. All rooms have a queen-sized bed for parents, plus a sleeping area for kids. The hotel also has interactive play areas, a pool and restaurant.”

Another KNSD top story: “TV viewers in L.A., Phoenix, and San Francisco will be seeing ads asking them to vacation here in San Diego. The promotion is branded ‘Happiness is Calling.’ It was sponsored by the city’s tourism authority and SeaWorld.” And there was this Memorial Day update: “From the San Diego Zoo, to the Gaslamp District, tourism traffic was booming. We got a sampling of feedback on how our visitors enjoyed the time they spent here, and what it means for our local economy. Everybody we interviewed had great things to say. And plans to return, too.”

The station’s top political reporter looked into the business practices of an online competitor for advertising dollars: “The local search site ‘Yelp’ is a widely used online resource for small businesses. But some object to its methods and promotional practices. NBC 7’s Gene Cubbison is here with perspective from two local firms who share suspicions about Yelp’s ‘good faith’ in the marketplace.” And in other developments: “Tonight, a giant asteroid is approaching Earth. It’ll pass us at a distance of three-point-six-million-miles. It won’t get that close to us for another two centuries.”

In a more serious vein, the station also waded into a labor-management controversy: “A potential conflict of interest in the ranks of San Diego’s school board, now under the scrutiny of district lawyers. In his second term as board trustee, Richard Barrera last week accepted the position as executive director of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. This local coalition of unions includes the teachers union.” KNSD news director Greg Dawson said by phone this week that the federal government requires a representative sampling of news coverage by the station, explaining in particular that the BMW environmental story had been part of a bigger “Green Week” package of stories run by the station.

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KNSD: Going green for big green?
KNSD: Going green for big green?

What’s news to NBC-owned TV station KNSD, at least according to its latest federally required “issues and program list,” covering the operation’s news coverage during the period between April 1 and June 30? First, a little something to make a certain German car dealer happy: “With nearly 40-percent of its energy produced on-site, BMW leads the country in relying on renewables. The Environmental Protection Agency was sufficiently impressed, and recently added BMW to its green power partners list.” And mention of a local tourist powerhouse: “The grand opening for Legoland’s new hotel in Carlsbad is today! Legoland says its hotel is designed to bring children’s imaginations to life. All 250 rooms are themed with one of three popular Lego toy lines — pirates, adventurer or Kingdom. All rooms have a queen-sized bed for parents, plus a sleeping area for kids. The hotel also has interactive play areas, a pool and restaurant.”

Another KNSD top story: “TV viewers in L.A., Phoenix, and San Francisco will be seeing ads asking them to vacation here in San Diego. The promotion is branded ‘Happiness is Calling.’ It was sponsored by the city’s tourism authority and SeaWorld.” And there was this Memorial Day update: “From the San Diego Zoo, to the Gaslamp District, tourism traffic was booming. We got a sampling of feedback on how our visitors enjoyed the time they spent here, and what it means for our local economy. Everybody we interviewed had great things to say. And plans to return, too.”

The station’s top political reporter looked into the business practices of an online competitor for advertising dollars: “The local search site ‘Yelp’ is a widely used online resource for small businesses. But some object to its methods and promotional practices. NBC 7’s Gene Cubbison is here with perspective from two local firms who share suspicions about Yelp’s ‘good faith’ in the marketplace.” And in other developments: “Tonight, a giant asteroid is approaching Earth. It’ll pass us at a distance of three-point-six-million-miles. It won’t get that close to us for another two centuries.”

In a more serious vein, the station also waded into a labor-management controversy: “A potential conflict of interest in the ranks of San Diego’s school board, now under the scrutiny of district lawyers. In his second term as board trustee, Richard Barrera last week accepted the position as executive director of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. This local coalition of unions includes the teachers union.” KNSD news director Greg Dawson said by phone this week that the federal government requires a representative sampling of news coverage by the station, explaining in particular that the BMW environmental story had been part of a bigger “Green Week” package of stories run by the station.

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The real problem with KNSD Channel 7 is that it frequently prefers to broadcast infomercials instead of the NBC Nightly News on weekends. The NBC-owned stationed gets to pocket the infomercial ad revenue. If it airs the Nightly News, most of the commercials during that broadcast are national ones from which KNSD can't enjoy, or make, any $$. In other words, KNSD is telling viewers, "If you want national or international news on the weekend, watch KFMB Channel 8 or KGTV Channel 10. Don't ask us to broadcast the Nightly News; we're busy making as much money as we can." It's hard to believe that the NBC News suits in New York are allowing KNSD to get away with this. If it wanted to, NBC could order KNSD to take its role as a news outlet seriously and responsibly.

Aug. 1, 2013

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