National News

A New York Staple Is Coming to Los Angeles

Posted August 21, 2018 11:59 a.m. EDT

Flip on your cable box and go straight to a news channel in the style of NY1, New York’s popular local station?

It is coming to Los Angeles.

Charter Communications has announced that a NY1-style local news channel will go live this November for all Spectrum — formerly known as Time Warner Cable — subscribers in the Los Angeles area.

NY1, which is also owned by Charter, is adored by a slice of New Yorkers who are charmed by its homespun feel and its roster of longtime anchors and correspondents like Pat Kiernan, Roger Clark and Roma Torre.

The channel’s laser focus on New York-only stories, especially in politics, often pays off. NY1 was the only news station that had a camera at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign event to chronicle her Democratic congressional primary upset in June.

Whether the 24-hour Los Angeles network becomes as popular as NY1 remains to be seen. Los Angeles is not exactly hurting for local television coverage, but Spectrum insists it is carving out a different space from local news networks like KTLA or KNBC.

“We’re not going to try to compete chasing in a helicopter with the same type of scenes they would,” said Mike Bair, executive vice president of Spectrum Networks who will oversee the new network.

Bair said that 125 people would be hired for the newsroom and that they were already more than halfway through staffing up the network. The new channel — he would not reveal its name — will be headquartered in El Segundo, near the Los Angeles International Airport and The Los Angeles Times’ new headquarters.

Spectrum has several local news stations around the country, including in Florida (Orlando and Tampa) and Texas (San Antonio and Austin). Bair said that the local news stations are very popular and “create a higher level of retention” for the cable service.

In November, around 1.5 million Los Angeles Spectrum homes will get the new channel.

“We don’t have to worry about two-minute sound bites,” Bair said. “If an interview takes three or four minutes, we stick with it. We’re more likely to cover much smaller stories, neighborhood-based stories than you’d see in other markets.”

Kiernan, the longtime NY1 anchor, said New Yorkers who have moved to Los Angeles constantly ask why there isn’t a version of the station in the city.

“They’ll do stories about the 405 with the same intensity that we do stories about the 6 train,” he said of the new Los Angeles channel. “But a lot of the hallmarks of NY1 reporting will be key parts of their reporting: politics, education, jobs. Those are stories that often get squeezed out of local newscasts by an endless rundown of crime reporting.”