4 Top Local News Channels for Amazon Fire

When it comes to media, there is an abundance of options that are constantly vying for our attention. At the one of the top things on everyone’s mind with increasing frequency is…the news.

So if you’re at a coffee shop reading, and are suddenly struck with the desire to see what the latest headlines are, what can you turn to? Of course, the Amazon store is filled with apps that include the big networks such as CNNgo, NBC, CBS and Fox. There are international news orgs like the BBC and newspapers like the Wall St. Journal and USA Today.  But when it comes to the news that is the most relevant for your local community, there are also local channels. We’ve put together a small list for you to check out whenever you’re bitten by the breaking local headline bug so in no particular order:

Action News 2 WSB-TV2

Based in Atlanta, this ABC-affiliate was where Tom Brokaw got his start. The app live-streams actual newscasts as well as broadcasts the TV commercials that go with them. This gives the audience something to watch instead of a graphic card that reads “Unable To Air At The Moment” (the easiest thing to make someone turn to a different app).

WCVB NewsCenter 5 Boston News and Weather

If you’re a Boston native, this one’s for you. This app allows you to watch live streaming breaking news when it happens and get live updates from reporters.

You can check out current Boston weather conditions, hourly and 7-day forecasts wherever you might be. And like some of the other apps, this one allows you to submit breaking news, news tips or email your news photos and videos right to their newsroom that could be featured on air. The news here covers all of New England, not just Boston.

FOX13 – KSTU Salt Lake City

This is the official Amazon Fire TV channel for Fox 13 News KSTU-TV in Salt Lake City, Utah. With this app, you can see the latest local news, weather, sports, digital exclusives, and segments from Utah’s #1 morning newscast, Good Day Utah. Follow the adventures of Big Budah, watch ‘3 Questions with Bob Evans’ for interviews with local newsmakers and celebrities, and visit with the people and places that make the Beehive State unique with their weekly feature, ‘Uniquely Utah.’

KCCI 8 Des Moines News, Weather

This app doesn’t just deliver the news – it focuses a lot on the weather and the locals love that option, especially the radar. Interactive radar lets you zoom in and out to street level and watch storms as they approach. You can also move the map around to see major weather activity.

The above is just a small handful of what’s out there. Head here to the Amazon store to see them all for yourself and find out what works best for you in your area!

Local Sports Media: A National Issue

Local television is doing an admirable job holding its own against the stiff competition that is mobile and digital, but it still needs a lot of help. It’s an industry that has been on the decline ever since newspapers realized that advertising revenue wouldn’t be enough to support a team of writers to cover local sports teams. So when regional newspapers began to cut costs the sports desk was often the first to go – especially since national brands like ESPN were already offering similar content.4

Of course, no problem is ever as simple as having just one reason for it and so there are other mitigating factors. Contracts are one sticking point. In 2014, the Sharks – a Bay Area Hockey team – decided that its contract with Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area was giving them $7 million per season and still had 14 more seasons at that price to go. Thing is, as Mark Purdy, sports-blogger, pointed out “according to Forbes’ magazine and website, the Toronto Maple Leafs receive $41 million per season in local TV rights. Several other teams – the Rangers, Canadiens, Red Wings – bring in more than $30 million per season. The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks have $20 million-plus-per-season deals, as do Dallas and New Jersey and the New York Islanders.”1

Adds Purdy, “Needless to say, this puts the Sharks at a disadvantage. Do the math. Over the next five years alone, the Kings and Ducks will have a minimum of $65 million more than the Sharks to push payroll up to the salary cap limit and/or buy out contracts and/or turn a profit. The team says it isn’t making one now.”1

And according to Ben Koo “Combined with an expiring lease or a below average stadium or arena, bad television contracts now may destabilize a team to the point where they might have to flee the area. Or at least that’s what they’re selling the league and apparently in the Sharks scenario, it’s working.”2

Another sticking point is the lack of current options for local sports viewing.  Cord-cutters are abandoning cable TV (and, to a degree, local TV if they don’t have an HD antenna) in droves for the web. And cord-cutters are rewarded for that decision: Every major sports organization offers some kind of streaming package, from MLB.TV to NFL Live to NBA League Pass. These services are expensive compared to streaming subscriptions, and can cost between $100 and $200 per year.3

If you’re a die-hard sports fan in general, a cable subscription is probably worthwhile for that content alone. But if you follow only one or two teams in one or two sports, you can probably get away with paying $15 to $20 per month — much less than traditional paid TV.3

An interesting twist in the story appeared as recently as July 8, 2016, when TechCrunch reported on a new start-up called The Athletic. The athletic launched 6 months ago in Chicago – they hired the top sportswriters in the city on a full-time basis, and have them write a total of five to ten quality pieces of content a day. The startup is credentialed by all five sports teams in the city, and mixes in traditional sports reporting with inside access and exclusives from team executives and agents of the hottest players.4

But an even bigger twist comes in the form of Continuum; it’s a broadcaster solution that allows local TV stations to take control over their own destiny and not be slave to the business whims of countless cable companies and/or cord-cutters. If you’re a station, Continuum takes the sports, news and advertising you already have to automatically produce a polished 24/7 linear digital channel reaching new audiences across online, mobile + OTT.

Continuum allows you to load your local sports coverage up over three dynamic programming modes. It also communicates with master control/automation systems that can build go-to-air and/or streaming playlists. Combined with asset discovery and management solutions like CORE:sports, it’s a comprehensive foundation for local sports producers to remain relevant in today’s distributed media landscape.

However you decide to tackle it, local sports cannot take a back seat to this tech explosion.

Now let’s play catch (up).





Local News Still Worth The Ad Spend

With so many options for our eyeballs, advertisers are scrambling to find the most popular platforms. But just because something glitters doesn’t necessarily mean… well, you know the rest. Some of the best platforms for delivering audiences to advertisers (and vice versa!) are the old ones – especially local TV news.

A 2014 Pew Research Center report states that local TV stations enjoyed “a year of higher revenue and slightly higher viewership in 2014. Viewership increased in two of the three key time slots following gains from the previous year.”1   You might find it surprising in a time where apps, smart phones and the internet are threatening to destroy everything you thought was permanent in terms of “old media” but, well, actually, old media is doing fairly well, thank you very much.  Viewership in 2014 increased slightly in morning and early evening slots with very early morning news doing amazingly well, increasing 6% from the year before.

Another boost to local TV news is political spending; according to Pew, “much of this is due to political advertising spending, which after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling seems to guarantee windfalls to local TV stations in even-numbered years. In 2014 total on-air ad revenue for local stations reached $20 billion, according to consulting firm BIA/Kelsey, up 7% from the year before and down 3% compared with 2012, the last election year.”1

Possibly the best research data that points to TV as still the most effective advertising medium is the Turner Broadcasting/Horizon Media/MarketShare report which analyzed thousands of marketing optimizations used by the major advertisers from 2009 through 2014.

Amongst the study’s findings:2

  • MarketShare analyzed advertising performance across industry and media outlets like television, online display, paid search, print and radio advertising and found that TV has the highest efficiency at achieving key performance indicators, or KPIs, like sales and new accounts. When comparing performance at similar spending levels, TV averaged four times the sales lift of digital.
  • TV has maintained its effectiveness at driving advertiser KPIs over the last five years. In a study using data from a luxury automaker, TV was the only medium to maintain its effectiveness (a 1.5 percent decrease in five years) while the other advertising media—both online and offline—declined more than 10 percent.
  • TV marketers can optimize their spend by leveraging data sources, including high-frequency consumer interactions like website visits and inbound calls, to improve TV advertising performance.
  • Premium online video from broadcast and cable networks out-performs video content from other publishers.


Local TV Ad Revenue Growth 2014
Local TV Ad Revenue Growth 2014










Chicago alone saw its five biggest TV stations grow their news programming, adding another 14 hours per week altogether in the past year. And lest you think it’s just Chicago, “In an era of increased competition for video viewers, you have to distinguish yourself a little more, and what distinguishes local stations is their news and information,” says Mark Fratrik, chief economist at BIA/Kelsey, a broadcast research and consulting firm in Chantilly, Va. It predicts local TV advertising revenue will rise 10 percent to $22.3 billion this year from $20.2 billion in 2015.3

According to Wingman Advertising, there are five reasons why TV advertising is still a hugely successful platform for reaching consumers: 4


  1. TV drives immediate responses.
  2. Local broadcasts are DVR-proof.
  3. Cable offers targeted advertising.
  4. Good commercials work.
  5. Programmatic TV is a game-changer


Local TV news – for now – isn’t going anywhere. And neither should your ad spend.


2 http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/why-tv-still-most-effective-advertising-medium-165247

3 http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20160109/ISSUE01/301099993/why-chicago-tv-stations-are-adding-so-many-hours-of-news

4 http://www.wingmanadv.com/advantages-to-advertising-on-tv

Local TV News Still Matters

Lots of people are cord-cutting these days – but there’s only so much cord to cut. Lots of folks are asking if local news still matters, but there is mounting evidence towards a resounding yes. A free press is the best sign of a thriving democracy and a myriad of bloggers with their own agendas (often paid agendas) will have a hard time connecting to local communities hungry for objective local news. We can’t lose local news and there’s a growing amount of research supporting this view.

A recent survey by Melody Kramer1 on Poynter got to the heart of what local news brings to its community and the answers might surprise you. Said one participant, “national correspondents swoop in and provide two minutes of a story, whereas local reporters can revisit a story multiple times to make sure that we, the listeners, fully understand it and its impact on us, if there is one.”

The growing consensus is that it’s important to have professionals/journalists cover the news as opposed to often-biased bloggers reporting what they think truth is that day.

Another participant responded: “The purpose of the local paper or station is to see, know, care about and understand your community in ways your neighbors don’t and then share what you find. It’s to be perpetual tourist in your town with a side helping of too much empathy.”1

The Local News Research Project investigated how the content, amount and spatial patterns of local news coverage in mainstream and ethnic media portray people and places in the Greater Toronto Area. They report that “local news matters because it helps shape how people see the place where they live, what they think about, and how they interpret events and see other people. It’s also important because it provides people with the information they need to become engaged in their communities and to influence what happens there.”2

Research from Los Angeles shows that the more dense the web of storytelling, the more engaged people become in their communities. “News media does more than just convey fact. It constructs a reality.”2

A Pew Center study of local news in three different U.S. cities determined one clear winner in the competition for top local news provider — TV.  The three cities studied include Denver, Macon, Georgia and Sioux City, Iowa.  What’s particularly notable is that TV is such a dominant source for news in a large market like Denver, which has 143 local news providers, according to Pew.3

According to the study “nearly nine-in-ten residents follow local news closely—and about half do so very closely.” The Pew report also offers interesting details on the topics of news people pay attention to — a fifth or more of people in all three cities studied say they closely track news about weather, crime, schools and education, as well as government and politics. This study serves to highlight that local stations should continue to focus their news coverage to better serve their communities and maintain their audiences.3

Which leads us to another response from Melody Kramer’s survey. “Local newspapers provide folks an accurate, honest and curated introduction to their neighbors and to the issues about which their neighbors are passionate. They frame the conversation in a community. Usually, that’s as simple as shifting the conversation to be centered on others instead of on ourselves. That’s something social media can’t do well.”1

One last reason local news is so important comes from David Pierce at The Verge.com. He says that TV news now has a new role of great importance. “We don’t need to know what’s happening — Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and our favorite blogs handle that just fine — but we desperately need to know which of the ten thousand stories we hear every day is most important, and why. TV news’s opportunity is to ignore fake stories, the non-stories, and the trivial stories, and tell us what really matters.”4

The headline is that the headlines aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.