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Sixteen months after its January launch, it is still in fewer than a million homes and seen only in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It is the channel's critical market in terms of size and financial importance. Inrespected Boston anchor R.

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The partners recently launched an in-depth segment during NECN's midday newscast. When Mikhail Gorbachev visited Boston last May, the station stuck with him for six straight hours. Ad sales for the first quarter were good, and they're pacing very good for the second quarter as well. Even if they don't make any money for the cable operator in their own right, they are good for subscriber retention and growth. The channel was sired by Philip S. We go where the stories are. A Plethora of Options To an audience already crammed with network and local news offerings, newspapers and countless newsmagazines, and even CNN itself, why add regional CNN?

Reporters "talk to news management about what they need," says Balboni, "and, if we're convinced they need whatever it is that they say, that's it.

Many reporters and anchors make the jump to Boston from considerably smaller venues.

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NECN is more than holding its own in the ratings. That content is replayed or supplemented by special coverage during the day to fill out the clock. NECN is more than holding its own in the ratings. Balboni said. However, Balboni qualifies the results as reflecting a cumulative audience vs. It recorded its first operating profit in In the meantime, however, American Broadband is building its network there and has offered NECN carriage on its system, which should be operational by the end of this year. He met with executives of Boston-based Continental Cablevision, then the nation's third-largest system operator, and presented his ideas. Like most local and regional cable news channels, NECN is staffed primarily by younger journalists, both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes Chicagoland TV, the news channel owned by the Chicago Tribune and called CLTV, was dubbed Children Learning Television when it debuted. Rather than require reporters to adhere to strict or second limits on their stories, NECN's management routinely lets stories go for however long they take to tell. For six years in the mid and late s, it produced a syndicated newscast that ran on the Boston Fox and UPN stations. The new entity continued Continental's role in the joint partnership.

Balboni, who today serves as NECN's president. For six years in the mid and late s, it produced a syndicated newscast that ran on the Boston Fox and UPN stations. The channel has the deep resources of Belo's numerous broadcasting and print properties throughout the Lone Star State, but the absence of carriage around the state has plagued TxCN.

Then Walt Disney Co. A handful of regional news channels, however, have elected to broaden their scope.

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In Chicago, a channel called Chicagoland joined local cable services in January, and more efforts are planned for the next year in California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and upstate New York.

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Veteran NECN Anchor Says He Is Leaving the Business