In July, Charter Communications’ Spectrum selected a VP of News and Content. The MVPD selected the seven-year VP/Programming and the Senior Director of TV Program Development at The E.W. Scripps Co.
Why did Spectrum hire this individual, a former anchor and reporter for two big Los Angeles TV stations? That experience provides the answer to what Cater Lee will be charged with.
Lee has been selected to help launch a 24/7 all-news channel that will be exclusively available to Charter Spectrum subscribers across the L.A. DMA. A November 2018 launch is anticipated, the Los Angeles Times‘ Meg James reports.
A full-time TV news offering has been absent from Los Angeles. For many years, it had two all-news radio stations: KFWB-AM 980 and KNX-AM 1070. KFWB’s “all news, all the time” presentation would eventually succumb to L.A.’s growth, with KFWB’s L.A. basin-focused signal hard to hear in areas northwest of Hollywood.
But, L.A.’s collection of broadcast TV stations are what Spectrum has in its sights. KTLA-5, the Tribune Media-owned station that was poised to become a Sinclair Broadcast Group station but is now being pitched to another potential buyer, is a major provider of local newscasts. Meanwhile, KABC-7 is a traditional ratings leader for its newscasts.
Should local news directors be worried? The likely answer is no, but keeping tabs on what Spectrum does is certainly of importance. Spectrum’s NY1 offering in New York, which has seen much attrition since its launch by Time Warner Cable, is largely free of the flash, and of the car chases, that have largely been hallmarks of broadcast TV news in the nation’s No. 2 market.
Some 125 positions are to be filled with Spectrum News L.A., which has no formal operational name at this time.
The L.A. launch comes alongside Spectrum 24/7 news channels being added to markets in Kentucky, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Lee’s appointment is largely based not on her most recent experience, but likely on her roles in local L.A. news. From 1995-1999, she was an anchor and reporter for KNBC-4. From 2005-2009, she held similar duties at KCBS-2.
Lee has been an adjunct professor of broadcast journalism at the University of Southern California, and in addition to her on-air TV work served for 16 years (until 2015) as an executive director and development executive for Turning Point Productions.