NBC Universal's three L.A. stations have partnered with Transit TV to put local television news on buses run by Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority.


Under the deal, the stations KNBC-TV (Channel 4), KVEA-TV (Channel 52) and KWHY-TV (Channel 22) now provide five minutes of news content, half in English and half in Spanish, to Transit TV's hour-long program loop. Transit TV's network includes 2,200 MTA buses with a ridership of about 1.2 million county residents.


In return for the content, NBC will receive 30 seconds to promote its shows in English and 30 seconds in Spanish, plus the exposure of the news personalities to the captive audience on the bus.


"This is a non-cash deal for us," said Ginger Zumaeta, vice-president of advertising and promotion for the three stations. "They wanted local content to show the local ridership, so they were looking for a partner. We have the unique ability to reach the local audience in both English and Spanish."


Regular newsroom staff will produce two daily news briefs, one for the morning drive and another for the afternoon. In breaking news situations, NBC can update its segments for immediate wireless connection to receiving devices on the buses.


Transit TV, based in Florida, handles advertising sales and the investment in 4,400 screens. The company has similar deals with transit agencies in Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, San Diego and Milwaukee. The screens have been in the buses since 2002, but the NBC deal only went into effect on Feb. 20.


Honky Tonk Demos

The return of country music to L.A. radio has more to do with consumer statistics than listener preference.


Last Monday, KKGO-FM (105.1) went on the air as the market's only country FM station, abandoning its long-time classical music format and call letters KMZT-FM. The station hopes to take over the audience left by KZLA-FM (93.9), which stopped playing country in late summer 2006.


The demographics behind the switch show country fans have an average age of 42 compared to 60 for classical listeners.


Unfortunately for advertisers, those older listeners had already made the big purchase decisions in their life and were quite content to enjoy them, said station owner Saul Levine.


"The country listener in this market is very comparable to the classical listener in terms of income. That's not the case in Florida or Alabama or Texas," Levine explained. "We had a huge audience for classical, but they weren't responding."

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